The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan must stop investing our money in climate failure

As Ontario teachers, we work hard to prepare young people for the challenges of the future. In a world ravaged by the climate crisis, that can’t mean only teaching, mentoring and coaching. It also means doing our part to ensure that students will graduate into a world with a livable climate.

Unfortunately, our pension savings are working against the clean energy future our students need.

Our $205 billion Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) continues to invest billions of our savings in climate-polluting fossil fuels, and only a small percentage in climate solutions.

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Climate Change Accountability Legislation: Who Wrote it Best?

In 2020, two different bills were tabled in the House of Commons to support climate change accountability.  The first, the Climate Change Accountability Act (Bill C-215), was introduced by MP Kristina Michaud of the Bloc Québécois in February 2020.  The second, the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act (Bill C-12), was introduced by the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change in November 2020.

So who wrote the better bill?

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Choosing a Climate-Friendly Credit Union (in Toronto)

You’ve read about how Canada’s major banks use your savings to finance fossil fuels

You’ve joined the BankSwitch campaign and told your bank that you will be closing your accounts unless they clean up their act. 

And now, since your bank hasn’t made a lot of changes, you’re wondering where you should take your business instead. 

We think local credit unions are a great option.

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Toward a Just and Green Recovery - Build Back Fairer

In mid-March, we began this seven-part series on the upcoming federal Budget with a self-evident statement, “COVID-19 has shown us that people’s health and wellbeing must be prioritized.” Events of the last weeks have underlined this truth with devastating clarity. Even as a disastrous third wave destroys lives and families, overwhelmingly in working class and racialized communities, access to vaccinations has been grossly uneven, favouring the affluent.

On the brink of Monday’s Budget, the need for strong social infrastructure, and a resilient, sustainable economy that supports a livable future in the midst of ongoing and coming crises, has never been greater.

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Toward a Just and Green Recovery - Build Back for Global Justice

Canada’s use and export of fossil fuels contributes disproportionately to the costs and damages caused by GHG emissions. Extracting and exporting resources has made the country wealthy. At the same time, countries that have benefited the least from extractive economies are experiencing impacts, like food insecurity and forced migration, first and most. Canada needs to do its fair share to redress both social and ecological harms, contributing to an equitable and just transition globally.  

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How do Fossil Banks and Pension Plans Invest your Money in Oil?

Finance and public policy are the biggest drivers of change in most industries, and the oil and gas industry is no different. Banks have often been overlooked as a lever for change. Their complicity in profiting from climate disaster is now coming into sharper focus with groups like Rainforest Action Network and Bank Track publishing annual reports about the extent to which these institutions are funding fossil fuel extraction.

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Toward a Just and Green Recovery - Conservation, Nature-based Solutions

Canada continues to lose more critical land, freshwater and oceanic habitats than it conserves every year. Habitat loss problematically increases ecosystem GHG emissions through the release of ecosystem carbon, reductions in the carbon storage capacity of our landscapes, and the loss of critical climate adaptation and resilience services.[1] Canada’s response to the biodiversity crisis is being significantly limited by these feedback loops. These impacts are also limiting Canada's ability to leverage nature-based solutions to help meet our climate change adaptation and mitigation goals.

At the same time, ongoing colonialism continues to override Indigenous rights and land stewardship. We see this evidenced across the country as Indigenous land-defenders stand on the frontlines, confronting destructive projects that are backed by industry and government. Ongoing environmental racism also shows in high pollution rates, as seen in Grassy Narrows and Canada’s Chemical Valley.

Systems that perpetuate harm need to be called out and ended at the same time investments in programs like Indigenous Land Guardians, projects like those highlighted in Power to the People and support for non-market mechanisms that ensure biodiversity protection increase. As noted in the Indigenous Leadership Initiative blogpost, UN Biodiversity Report Calls for Greater Role for Indigenous Peoples, “If Canada places Indigenous-led conservation at the core of its biodiversity approach, we can sustain even more lands and waters.” [2]

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Toward a Just and Green Recovery - Build Back Decolonized

The rate of COVID-19 on First Nations reserves is 40 per cent higher than in the general Canadian population[1]. Indigenous people living in urban areas have been similarly hard-hit. The crisis represents another in a long series of failures of the Canadian state to achieve justice and reconciliation with first peoples. For an effective recovery, Canada must renew its commitment to upholding Indigenous sovereignty, laws, values, customs and traditions by investing in Indigenous communities. Collaboration and partnership will be required to develop and enact solutions that adequately address the needs of Indigenous communities.

Here is a version of our budget submission part 4 of 7, with some simple calls to action that you can take added in.

Art by Corrina Keeling for

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Toward a Just and Green Recovery - Decarbonization, Energy Transition

Decarbonizing Canada is a critical step to ensure a climate-safe and resilient future. An effective National Decarbonization Strategy can help us build back better, creating inclusive, green communities and quality green jobs (e.g. jobs in renewable energy). This strategy must include equitable partnerships with Indigenous communities, investing in renewable energy projects on Indigenous homelands and continuing to expand Indigenous ownership.

Here is a version of our budget submission part 3 of 7, with some simple calls to action that you can take added in.


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Toward a Just and Green Recovery - Energy, Retrofits, Transportation

To make the shift to a low-carbon future, we need an energy transformation! The second installment from TO350's budget submission deals with a shift to clean energy, active and Zero Emission Vehicle transportation and retrofits. We've added in some quick action call-outs for each section. Stay tuned for part 3!

See [1] [2] and [3]

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