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Category Archives: Climate Change

Hydro Impacts 101: The Trade-offs

We’ve been sold the idea that hydropower is a clean, green, and non-emitting energy source.
But this is far from the truth!💔🌱

Check out this eye-opening infographic and the full report below to learn more about the hidden environmental and socio-economic costs of these projects! 🌊💰

  • Hydro impacts 101: the trade-offs

Hydro Impacts 101 – The Trade-offs


ORA’s first Youth Engagement event!

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ORA collaborated with Engineers Without Borders (UW Chapter) to host a youth engagement workshop for 35 grade 11 students in St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School on March 31st. The group included students from the STEM Club and from the Environment Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) Red Seal Program. ORA offered the students a Sector-Partnered Experience (SPE) focusing on real-world environmental issues to be solved. Continue reading


OPG: Proposed Coniston Generating Station Life Extension Project Environmental Report

Wherever water levels have been lifted from their former undeveloped elevation must be considered the full extent of the reservoir/s. This crucial detail is not set out in the ER; however, the full extent of the cascading facilities must be considered when detecting, measuring and reporting total GHG emissions (CH2, CH4 and N2O). This cascading system creates one very large artificial and ongoing multi-level series of reservoirs that are highly regulated through the WRWMP, and likely very high in GHG emissions.

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Embro Dam Class Environmental Assessment – Alternatives

There are very few thriving Brook Trout populations left in southern Ontario, and it is especially surprising to find them present as far south as London, Ontario. Brook Trout are a sentinel species – the canary in the coal mine. In southern Ontario, Brook Trout populations have seen an 80% decline in their numbers over the last 50 years. Their populations have been under increasing pressure from a warming climate as well as agricultural, urban, rural and industrial development.

Removing the Dam and headpond to create a free-flowing and healthy coldwater Brook Trout fishery would be the perfect place for a family to go for walk, play or picnic in the Embro Conservation Area. It would provide a healthy riverine ecosystem and a beautiful natural environment for the entire community to enjoy!!

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Hydropower is destroying our rivers, biodiversity and fueling Climate Change

Dams and hydropower facilities harm the environment and, when headponds or reservoirs are flooded, can produce carbon dioxide and methane for the life of the dam. Ontario is about to embark on a whole new era of dam building. Ontario has 224 operating hydropower plants and only 3 with fish passage.
By the way, Ontario Power Generation has been selling Clean Energy Credits for hydroelectric since 2013.   
NO MORE NEW HYDROELECTRIC DAMS IN ONTARIO!! 


ERO-019-6177 – Review of A Place to Grow and Provincial Policy Statement

Photo by Al Oman

The province claims that “Ontario needs more housing, and we need it now. That’s why the Ontario government is taking bold and transformative action to get 1.5 million homes built over the next 10 years.”  This Environmental Registry of Ontario (ERO) posting is only one component of a large series of other interconnected ERO postings relating to Bill 23. Due to the short comment period at this busiest time of year for such a complex, vague, poorly considered, and destructive policy and legislative “streamlining”, it is impossible to fully understand the full scope or depth of resulting effects to provide any kind of meaningful input. It is crucial that all ERO postings are well planned, concisely written and defined in clear policy language so the public fully understands what is being proposed and its potential positive and negative effects.

The Ontario government, through Bill 23 and its multitude of complex and interconnected legislation and policy amendments, has:

  • Removed municipal jurisdiction from upper-tier municipalities to make policy decisions on land use planning matters that are based on local community interests.
  • Removed a significant financial source (permits/building fees) in which to help pay for water and wastewater services, sewers, transportation infrastructure, and community parks needed to service 1.5 million additional homes.
  • Prohibited Conservation Authorities all across Ontario from providing practical advice to municipalities, their ability to issue permits, or provide input into environmental concerns.
  • Failed to provide adequate public and Indigenous consultation relating to Bill 23 matters.
  • Is proposing to streamline the qualifications program for Building Practitioners (ERO-019-6433).

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Put nature at the centre of Canada’s Adaptation Strategy – Joint

Photo by Steven Noakes – West Credit River

As representatives of more than 90 organizations from across Canada, we are writing to urge you to put nature at the centre of Canada’s forthcoming National Adaptation Strategy.

The impacts of climate change are already being felt across the country, and we must all work together to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resilient communities and ecosystems.

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ERO 019-4971 – Draft Low Impact Development Stormwater Management Manual

Blue Heron in Waterloo, Ontario, by Leslie Bamford

The ORA is in full agreement that Low Impact Development (LID) must be a priority in development planning guidance for stormwater management practices and should include innovative green infrastructure such as rain harvesting, rain gardens, green roofs, urban trees and forests, permeable surfaces, ditches, swales, stormwater catchments, and must emphasize the protection of wetlands.

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A Clean Electricity Standard in support of a net-zero electricity sector – Discussion Paper

Abitibi River – Twin Falls GS

When people refer to hydroelectric as clean, it’s usually in the context of GHG emissions; however, governments and utilities often use the term categorically and without caveat or qualification. Using the word “clean” in this context is misleading. Just because hydroelectric facilities are not spewing out smoke does not mean they are clean or renewable.  In fact, waterpower has resulted in significant and ongoing impacts on water quality, water quantity, ecological processes, fish and wildlife populations and habitat, and to aboriginal communities. Hydroelectric also makes a significant daily contribution to the earth’s accumulation of greenhouse gases (GHG) in our atmosphere.

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ERO-019-4978 – Subwatershed Planning Guide

The ORA is very supportive of policy and legislation that provides an ecosystem approach for planning at a watershed and subwatershed scale. It is essential that we ensure a healthy environment, with clean and abundant freshwater resources, that helps to provide resilience to the extremes of climate change.  We are appreciative of the information webinar on the Subwatershed Planning Guide, and the 45-day comment period.

Overall, we are generally supportive of the draft guidelines as they seem broad ranging and comprehensive.  We are especially pleased to see the partnership approach with Indigenous peoples included in the Guide and agree that this approach will lead to a much more comprehensive subwatershed plan.

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