Toronto, Ontario Sustainability Framework

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Toronto, Canada

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Type: Policy

Status: Adopted

Source File:


The Environmental Plan proposed a governance framework designed to put sustainability into action at the City. It identified the functions of the Roundtable and roles of the Roundtable members, which are outlined below.

1. Sustainability Lead
The Chief Administrative Officer serves as the Sustainability Lead and appoints a Sustainability Director to carry out the following responsibilities:

  • Prepare a plan, in consultation with the proposed Sustainability Roundtable and staff to identify how sustainability can best be promoted, facilitated and supported within the Corporation; and
  • Work with other members of the Senior Management Team to incorporate sustainability into the City's policies, programs and decision-making processes.

2. Sustainability Roundtable
The City established a strategic, high-level Sustainability Roundtable which meets periodically. The mandate of the Roundtable includes the following responsibilities:

  • to promote actions within the City of Toronto based on sustainability (i.e., actions that simultaneously achieve environmental protection, economic vitality and social well-being);
  • to report to Council, normally through the Policy and Finance Committee, and where appropriate through other Standing Committees;
  • to act as the City's key forum to develop and bring together sustainability leaders and make recommendations about sustainability to Council and the administration;
  • to help Council form consensus on contentious issues through a sustainability approach;
  • to monitor, with the assistance of the Sustainability Lead, progress towards sustainability in the Corporation and the City of Toronto;
  • to advise in strategic and sectoral planning so that sustainability becomes a key integrating tool in planning processes;
  • to facilitate public input into sustainability planning by the City;
  • to facilitate education and awareness of sustainability; and
  • to issue an annual "State of Sustainability Report" to Council and report to Council and its Standing Committees on any issues related to sustainability.

The membership of the Sustainability Roundtable includes:

  • Standing Committee Sustainability Representatives and the Sustainability Advocate;
  • senior staff including the CAO or the Sustainability Director, the Commissioners of Works and Emergency Services, Economic Development, Culture and Tourism, Community and Neighbourhood Services, Urban Planning and Development Services or their delegates, and the Medical Officer of Health;
  • one representative each from The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and the Board of Health;
  • one representative each from CUPE 416 and CUPE 79;
  • equal representation from organizations representing the environmental, social and economic development communities;
  • the community representation outlined above should constitute at least 50 percent of the membership; and
  • a list of organizations to nominate representatives to the Roundtable will be developed by the Environmental Task Force for consideration by the Policy and Finance Committee.

3. Sustainability Advocate
The City appointed a member of Council (who is not the Chair of a Standing Committee or of Community Council) as the Sustainability Advocate with the following responsibilities:

  • to co-chair, with a prominent citizen member, the Sustainability Roundtable;
  • to ensure that sustainability is promoted through the City of Toronto;
  • on behalf of the Roundtable, to monitor the incorporation of sustainability into the policies and activities of the Corporation and to consult with members of the public promoting sustainability; and
  • to present to Council, on behalf of the Roundtable, its annual report and report to Council and its Standing Committees on any issues related to sustainability.

4. Standing Committee Sustainability Representative
The City's Standing Committees (Economic Development and Parks, Policy and Finance, Community Services, Planning and Transportation and Works) nominates a representative to sit on the Sustainability Roundtable and carry out the following responsibilities:

  • monitor the policies and activities of the Standing Committees and promote actions based on sustainability;
  • consult with the public on sustainable activities; and
  • consider suggestions and complaints from the public on the success in promoting sustainability achieved by the Standing Committees and Departments.