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Mississauga’s next mayor should focus on buildings and transportation


Staff member
Mar 19, 2024
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Mississauga’s mayoral by-election is fast approaching and will impact how the city will grow and develop over the next decade. Mayors often serve for multiple terms, and this is likely a once-in-a- decade opportunity to ensure the City is on a prosperous path to decarbonize. One of the perks of a mayoral by-election is it gives voters a chance to focus on just one race, rather than all of Council. For those who care about climate change and building a healthier and more affordable community, this is a rare opportunity for change.

Leaders in Mississauga have already taken decisive steps to tackle emissions by seeking ways to enhance the energy efficiency of its downtown buildings. For example, the City is actively exploring district energy systems as a sustainable alternative for heating and cooling infrastructure. Building a world class low-carbon district energy system would serve downtown and enable resilient, net-zero growth. Mississauga council also recently approved their Green Development Standards for new buildings. These signals point in the right direction, yet there’s room to boost ambition and leadership.

The mayor of a growing city should focus on buildings and transportation

Mississauga’s urban and suburban geography means focusing strategically on the building sector and transportation. TAF’s policy platform recommendations include:

Increase ambition on Green Development Standards for new buildings

In 2021, 54% of carbon emissions in Mississauga came from buildings — from heating, cooling, and powering everyday activities in homes and businesses. This is the single biggest source of emissions and growing, as the population increases and the electricity grid becomes more carbon-intensive. On April 8, 2024, Mississauga’s Planning and Development Committee unanimously approved a strong mandatory Green Development Standard with a multi-year implementation timeline. The next mayor could accelerate the scheduled updates by a year to align with other leading jurisdictions.

Design and implement Building Performance Standards

Addressing emissions from existing buildings offers the opportunity to improve the poorest performing buildings and create community benefits. Building Performance Standards (BPS) have emerged in cities across North America as policies that not only address emissions but also economic, health and housing priorities. They require buildings to improve energy efficiency, reducing emissions while improving building quality, over a phased approach and informed by community and industry stakeholders. Toronto is already moving on this policy, and Mississauga has a chance to leverage the momentum.

Remove parking minimums and add EV-ready parking in multi-family buildings

In Mississauga, new housing will primarily be in the form of tall and medium-sized towers. With significant EV uptake anticipated in Mississauga over the next decade, many of these residents will need to charge their EVs at home. The recent update to Mississauga’s GDS includes EV-ready requirements set to become mandatory in 2028-29. In line with recent research on what municipalities can do to support EV charging in multi-family buildings, we recommend implementing 100% EV-ready requirements earlier to ensure new buildings are designed to allow for the cost-effective installation of EV charging stations as needed. Another recent study found that it is significantly cheaper to provide EV charging capability at the point of construction than adding it in future years. The study also found that future-proofing new buildings helps encourage EV adoption. Construction costs can be further mitigated when combined with a measure to reduce or eliminate parking minimums.

A call to action

Residents envision that growth align with climate action. The next mayor of Mississauga has a rare opportunity to chart a new course and address the complex challenges facing the city. Leaders today must build better homes, prioritize efficiency, and prepare for the next generation of transportation. These evidence-based priorities can be supported by candidates of any political background.

We encourage candidates to get in touch for a briefing on our latest Carbon Emissions Inventory for the GTHA, which offers a range of climate action priorities that can serve as valuable insights to inform platform development.
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