What Ontario’s Climate Change Plan Could Mean for the ICT Industry

On June 8, Ontario released its long awaited Climate Change Action Plan, which sets a short term target of reducing green house gas (GHG) emissions by 15% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 37% by 2030. The five year action plan outlines a range of new incentives intended to encourage businesses and individuals to accelerate their adoption of low carbon technologies. Most of these incentives will be funded through a cap and trade program for industry, which will eventually link with trading markets in Québec and California.

 How will the Climate Change Plan Impact Ontario’s ICT Industry

 While the cap and trade program may have significant impacts on some industries in the province, as a lower carbon industry, negative impacts for ICT will be limited. All companies should expect some cost increases, especially if they operate large, energy consuming facilities. However, ICT companies should be well positioned to take advantage of, and benefit from, government programs to improve the energy efficiency of business operations and facilities.

Opportunities outlined in the Action Plan include:

  • New rebates for connected devices that make smarter use of energy, like smart thermostats, and new retrofit programs for universities and hospitals that incorporate building automation systems.
  • Potential new R&D funding for technologies that help consumers and businesses reduce carbon emissions (eg. connected IoT devices).
  • New funding support for community energy mapping, which will rely on sensors, data and analytics.
  • A major push to increase the number of electric vehicles on Ontario roads, including the creation of a new Global Centre for Low Carbon Mobility to provide funding for innovative research. These steps could help solidify Ontario’s position in leading the development of connected, autonomous vehicles.
  • A push to increase telecommuting for members of the Ontario Public Service, potentially creating new demands inside government for telepresence and online collaboration technologies.

The Action Plan also outlines how Ontario will be updating the OPS Procurement Directive to enable low carbon procurement and consider the full lifecycle of products. While details still need to be sorted out, companies hoping to sell to the Ontario government should start thinking about how to frame their own carbon footprint into RFPs now.

ITAC will continue to connect with government officials to get more details on the plan as it is implemented and to ensure the government recognizes the important role the ICT industry can plan in creating a green and prosperous Ontario.

For more information contact David Messer at Dmesser@itac.ca.