Our programs

Our programs are the heart and soul of who we are. Green Communities Canada has a diverse and ever-changing portfolio of programs, focusing on home energy, water protection, and active transportation (see below). In addition, member organizations have developed dozens of local programs of their own, across an even broader range of areas.

Community-based social marketing

Our programs use a positive, practical approach to change known as community-based social marketing. CBSM looks beyond education and promotion to address real-world barriers and incentives to action.

So, for example, when we want to increase walking to school we don’t just trumpet the health benefits. We work with the school community to address legitimate parental concerns such as poor crosswalks and sidewalks, and dangerous driver behaviours.

When we want to promote investments in home energy efficiency, we don’t just talk about environmental gains. We address individual “hot buttons” – home comfort, bill savings, etc. We provide credible science-based advice on the best investments, and financial incentives for completing the work.

Community-based social marketing engages people where they live, work, and play, through trusted channels and a web of parternships.

Programs and initiatives

Ontario Active School TravelWalking and wheeling to school is great for health, fitness, mood, school performance, air quality, safety, and more. We’re working to reverse the sharp decline in active transportation on the school journey with proven effective tools like school travel planning and the walking . We have received three-year funding to roll-out Ontario-wide (2017-20), including a local projects fund, resources, training, and other capacity support. Formerly known as Active & Safe Routes to School.

RAIN program logo

Water programs. The way we live on the land has a huge impact on the quality and quantity of surface and ground water quality and quantity. Our RAIN Community Solutions programs work with municipalities and property owners and others to manage rain where it falls and protect our precious water resources.

Depave Paradise. is a groundbreaking program (!) that engages volunteers in tearing up unused pavement to liberate the soil and restore vegetation. It’s fun, and it attracts attention and interest.

RAIN Home Visits, available in some locations, provide professional advice from certified Guides about how to manage stormwater issues on residential properties. Also available on our website: do-it-yourself rainproofing checklists for homeowners and commercial and institutional properties.

Water policy and action. Until recently, government stormwater management policy was mostly about drain age. We’re helping to change the paradigm. We have helped to shape a new Ontario government policy that will require land developments to retain and infiltrate rain onsite, eliminating most run-off. Green Communities Canada has been at the table representing Green Infrastructure Ontario and non-governmental organizations.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter, The Umbrella, to stay up to date on the latest news about green stormwater infrastructure.

Our Soak it Up! Toolkit outlines practical tools for municipalities to reduce runoff volumes and pollution. Includes policy, plans, stormwater user fees, and more.

Urban Flooding is being addressed through a collective impact project. Diverse organizations are coming together to agree on a shared action plan to reduce urban flood risk in Ontario.

Well Aware. For most of a decade after Walkerton, our Well Aware program promoted private well stewardship through a combination of elements, including a website , the Well Aware booklet and other resources, community forums, and Well Visits by trained water guides. Although community delivery is currently unfunded, the booklet and other resources are still available on our legacy website.

Canada Walks. Pedestrians on the street are the indicator species for a healthy community. Our Canada Walks program promotes targeted actions to create walk-friendly streets and communities. Meanwhile we are working with cycling and active school travel organizations to secure resources for a collaborative national action plan. Our goal: to make Canada a great place to walk and cycle, for people of all ages.

Home Energy Solutions. Improving home performance is one of the best ways to reduce our environmental footprint. It also saves money, and increases comfort. For a quarter century, Green Communities has delivered professional energy audits – 200,000 plus – and connected homeowners with available incentives. Get a home energy evaluation for professional advice and access to available incentive programs.