As we kick off 2024, I’m reflecting on Green Communities Canada’s Impact Model and the role we play in partnership with our members to foster more sustainable communities across Canada. Not quite three months into my time as Interim Executive Director, it’s been exhilarating to work with the GCC team to drive the work forward.
Last year we continued to build our network of members who are advancing local climate action. We were thrilled that Kahnawake Environmental Protection Office joined us in 2023 bringing our total number of members to 22. Our members operate in cities across the country and serve 70% of Canada’s population. As reported in our 2022-23 Collective Impact Report, 250,000 people participated in GCC member climate action initiatives. Amazing! Our goal is to add three additional member organizations in 2024.
Our Green Infrastructure program, thanks to support from TD Ready Commitment, Definity Insurance Foundation, All One Fund, the Greenbelt Foundation, Balsam Foundation, and the Ottawa Community Foundation, distributed more than $750,000 to support 32 projects in 17 cities across Canada. Through these projects, we planted more than 9,000 urban trees and shrubs. Once mature, these trees will absorb 197,500 kg of CO2 per year. As a funder, we’ll distribute at least $300,000 to support green infrastructure projects in 2024.
Working with and supporting our members will continue to be a priority in the upcoming year. We provide backbone supports to build local capacity to help reduce duplication, streamline administration, and share innovative programming. Thanks to support from the Government of Canada’s Community Services Recovery Fund, we hired an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Project Manager to work with many of our members and stakeholders to develop and deepen equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigenization strategies within their organizations; trainings, in depth workshops, and events will continue as we work through the year. This initiative will help us embed EDI into the community climate action work happening in nine of Canada’s 10 largest cities.
I’m proud of the hard work our team did in 2023 to collaborate with members and funders to innovate on programming. Here’s but one example: combining our Deep Energy Retrofit work with our longstanding experience as NRCAN’s first Service Organization, we released the first progress report on the Greener Homes incentive program, showing how home energy retrofit incentives will need to scale up ambitiously to reach Canada’s 2050 climate goals.
We’ve got exciting programming and funding announcements to make related to sustainable transportation, green infrastructure, and deep energy retrofits as the year progress. Together, with our members, we’ll continue to advance the vision of a vibrant, equitable and sustainable future.