October 17, 2005

Ontario Throne Speech summarizes plans for cleaner environment

TORONTO, ONT-The Ontario government is on target to meet its goal of having renewable energy source provide 5% of the province's electricity capacity by 2007, and plans to pursue this target were briefly summarized in the October 12 Throne Speech. Improved management of energy costs will be achieved through the installation of "smart meters" in 800,000 homes and businesses by 2007, and in every home and business by 2010. These meters indicate the actual cost of electricity being used at any given time during the day, allowing consumers to gear their energy use to times when the price is lower. The government also intends to introduce new measures and new legislation to encourage energy conservation. Together, the changes will reduce Ontario's greenhouse gas emissions by 30 megatonnes, representing 10% of Canada's total Kyoto goal. The province will expect the federal government to recognize this contribution in their Kyoto plan. Other environment-related initiative will include: reforming the Drive Clean program (which presently includes newer vehicles that are passing emission tests more than 99% of the time); introducing legislation, as recommended by the Walkerton Inquiry, to protect drinking water at its source; and making the environmental assessment process more transparent and efficient.

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