A new report co-authored by Ecojustice and the Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition (GIO) promotes bringing green infrastructure to the forefront of Ontario’s legislations and policies. Health, Prosperity and Sustainability: The Case for Green Infrastructure in Ontario examines how other jurisdictions in North America are leveraging the rewards from public policies and investments in green infrastructure, and presents a strong case for improved policies and investments to support green infrastructure in the province.

Green infrastructure, such as urban forests, green roofs, engineered wetlands, stormwater ponds, rain gardens and landscaped areas, offers multiple benefits such as removal of air pollution, effective stormwater management, reduced urban heat island effect, energy savings and many more.

As Ontario faces difficult and growing challenges – a struggling economy, aging and inefficient infrastructure, and pending threats from climate change – policies and investments that support the development of green infrastructure represent a significant opportunity for the provincial government to address these challenges. Ontario is already benefiting economically, environmentally and socially from green infrastructure, but a coordinated strategy of policies and investments is necessary for the province to maximize its potential.

Health, Prosperity and Sustainability: The Case for Green Infrastructure in Ontario offers specific, practical recommendations that the Government of Ontario can undertake to realize the multitude of environmental, social and economic benefits provided by green infrastructure, such as expanding the definitions of public infrastructure to explicitly include green infrastructure and actively promoting green infrastructure eligibility for existing public infrastructure funds. With billions of dollars in new and improved public infrastructure investments required in the coming years, determining which investments will provide the greatest return for taxpayers is essential, and green infrastructure has a strong role to play.