Toronto District School Board
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Environment, Energy
and Climate Action

Our Commitment

The Toronto District School Board is dedicated to preparing young people for their future and recognizes its obligation to respond to the escalating climate crisis with education, action and leadership.

History of Climate Action and Sustainability at the TDSB

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4 electric rental vans

In support of construction projects, the TDSB has rented 4 electric panel vans that will operate out of Oakburn Centre. These are in addition to the 4 vans that were purchased in 2022.

1,200 trees planted

The TDSB’s large tree planting program began in 2006. Since that time, an average of 300 large caliper trees have been donated by the City of Toronto and planted by in-house trades each year. Other school ground improvement projects that included tree planting raised the number to 1,190!

Annual Report 2023: Climate Action is presented to Board

The Annual Report 2023: Climate Action ; this report details 53 actions the TDSB will undertake this year in response to the climate emergency, divided into ten areas of focus.

5 electric school buses approved

The TDSB’s transition to electric school buses will begin with a pilot project on the Toronto Islands. In September 2024, five electric school buses will replace the diesel- powered buses that currently service the Toronto Public/Natural Science School. To support this transition, an electric charging station will be installed at the Island School, funded by the Environmental Legacy Fund.

Mass timber school design approved

The new Poplar Road Junior Public School, currently in design, will be the first mass timber school in Ontario. Mass timber sequesters carbon and replaces more carbon-intensive materials. It also reduces construction waste and construction time and improves occupant wellness. Learnings from this modular project will be applied to future school projects.

Youth Climate Action Grants

The City of Toronto Youth Climate Action Grants provides funding to support Toronto District School Board (TDSB) student-led projects, activities and events that directly or indirectly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Grants of up to $1,000 are available for each eligible project.

Annual Report 2022: Climate Action is presented to Board

The Annual Report 2022: Climate Action, outlines 24 key actions the TDSB will undertake in response to the climate crisis. Actions are divided into seven focus areas to address whole institution engagement and specifically target lowering the TDSB’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Purchase of electric cargo vans

The 2021 Climate Action Report signalled the intention to start procuring fully electric vehicles to add to the TDSB’s fleet of more than 700 vehicles. Using the Environmental Legacy Fund to cover the difference in cost to an ICE vehicle, 2 of the approved 4 vehicles have been delivered.

TDSB replaces 800 drinking fountains with water bottle filling stations

TDSB receives COVID19 Resilience Funding to bring all schools up to a standard of 1 water bottle filling station for every 250 students. The TDSB plumbing team replaces over 800 drinking fountains with water bottle filling stations/fountains, at 479 schools.

TDSB merges with EcoSchools Canada certification

For the first time ever, TDSB schools are invited to participate in the EcoSchools Canada certification program. Schools can engage in environmental learning and climate action while working on their certification application with the national EcoSchools program

TDSB co-hosts EECOM Conference

The Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication (EECOM) four-day online conference took place from April 21-24, and was proudly hosted in partnership with the TDSB’s Sustainability Office, EcoSchools Canada , the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto, and Natural Curiosity. The focus was Exploring the Nature of Cities: Urban Environmental Education in Action — with most of the world’s population living in urban areas, helping citizens understand their impact on the environments in which they live is key to making cities more sustainable and liveable.

Annual Report 2021: Climate Action is presented to Board

The Annual Report 2021: Climate Action outlines 22 key actions the TDSB will undertake in response to the climate crisis. Actions are divided into six focus areas to address whole institution engagement and specifically target lowering the TDSB’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Youth Climate Action Guide is launched

The TDSB Youth Climate Action Guide was developed to assist youth with mobilizing their communities towards equitable climate action.

Environmental Education Webinars created

The EcoSchools team, in collaboration with colleagues at OISE’s Environmental and Sustainability Education Initiative, create a series of webinars to help shift environmental learning to the virtual world during the time of school closures. A wide range of environmentally themed topics are explored.

TDSB acknowledges the climate emergency

On October 2, 2019, City Council voted unanimously to declare a climate emergency and accelerate efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change, adopting a stronger emissions reduction target of net zero by 2050 or sooner. In response, the City has developed the TransformTO Net Zero Strategy, which outlines a pathway to achieve net zero emissions community-wide by 2040. The TDSB established net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 as an aspirational goal.

Energy Conservation Plan published

The Energy Conservation & Demand Management Plan documents some of the work done to reduce energy consumption across the TDSB in a five-year reporting period from 2013/2014 to 2017/2018. The report highlights the drop in overall energy use at TDSB buildings, mainly as a result of upgrades to heating and hot water systems in schools, which significantly reduce the TDSB’s use of natural gas.

Ontario EcoSchools becomes EcoSchools Canada

The EcoSchools program, first pioneered by the TDSB, expands to schools across the country. TDSB Sustainability Office staff continues to advise the development of the national EcoSchools Canada program.

Joint Management-Labour Environmental Committee created

The JMLEC is created to leverage the knowledge that TDSB workers have of their workplaces and work processes, and connect that expertise with the broader knowledge of management. The goal of the collaboration is to make informed decisions towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions by identifying feasible approaches and innovations to the workplace.

Project Refill launched

To support schools in curbing the use of plastic water bottles, EcoSchools creates Project Refill , a reusable water bottle refill program. By providing select schools with water bottle refill stations, this project helps schools move from landfill to refill.

Environmental Education AQ launched

TDSB collaborates with Ontario Institute of Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto to launch Environmental Education Additional Qualification courses . These courses help educators increase their capacity to implement environmental curriculum and foster student ecological literacy. Following the success of this first "EEAQ" course, further courses (Part 2 and 3) are developed, enabling educators to become Specialists in Environmental Education.

Urban Forestry Management Plan created

Guided by the Urban Forest Management Plan, the TDSB commits significant resources to tree planting and tree maintenance, including programs to control the spread of the invasive pests, and summer watering and mulching programs.

Charter for ASST approved

The Board of Trustees approves the Charter for Active, Safe and Sustainable Transportation (ASST) to tackle the decline in students walking and cycling to school, and implement activities and supports to encourage active transportation.

Saw Mill launched

In response to trees killed by the invasive Emerald Ash Borer, the TDSB launches an on-site saw mill using TDSB Skilled Trades staff to repurpose the wood from fallen trees. Lumber from the saw mill is used to create school ground seating, and to support student learning in technical programs.

Go Green: Climate Action Plan approved

The Go Green: Climate Action Plan is developed in response to the revised Environment Policy with its explicit emphasis on climate change. This document provides a plan to put in action the Board’s commitment to sustaining the environment, focusing on mitigation, adaptation, and education.

Environmental Legacy Fund (ELF) created

Authorized with the approval of the Go Green: Climate Change Action Plan , the Environmental Legacy Fund is used to support high-impact projects related to active transportation, professional learning, urban forest management, school-initiated projects, information technology and energy initiatives. Income from the sale of carbon credits, electricity produced by solar photovoltaic (PV) projects and hazardous waste is directed into the fund, as are environmental grants. The ELF has been critical to the success of many TDSB sustainability and climate actions.

Sustainability Office created

The Sustainability Office is created as part of the Go Green: Climate Action Plan . The office works on wide-ranging programs and initiatives including environmental education and key partnerships, as well as on-the-ground actions related to school grounds, energy use, renewable energy, waste management and purchasing.

Environmental Sustainability Community Advisory Committee established

ESCAC is established as a direct result of the Go Green: Climate Action Plan , which calls for a committee to provide advice and expertise to staff and trustees as they work towards meeting environmental goals.

Solar PV systems installed on school rooftops

TDSB begins investment in renewable energy with the initial installation of solar PV systems at 10 schools. Since those first installations, a further 340 TDSB schools have had solar PV systems installed on their rooftops.

Policy Framework for Environmental Education in Ontario Schools

The Ontario government made a commitment that environmental education, as defined in the 2007 Shaping Our Schools, Shaping Our Future , will be a part of every child's learning. The full report can be found in Acting Today Shaping Tomorrow (PDF).

Large Tree Program launched

Through the Large Tree Program , approximately 2500 large native shade trees have been planted at 250 TDSB schools. These trees offer many other benefits: making the grounds attractive, providing habitats for biodiversity, reducing stormwater runoff, and shading buildings and play areas.

Energy Conservation Report approved

The TDSB Energy Conservation Report highlights work completed by TDSB staff and others during the 2004/05 school year. In addition to presenting the Board’s strengths, it lists the main areas for improvement and the steps being taken in response to these challenges.

TDSB helps establish Ontario EcoSchools

In 2005, the TDSB shares the EcoSchools program with a group of Ontario school boards and York University to expand program delivery throughout the province. (As of 2019, this program becomes EcoSchools Canada).

Partners help support school-ground greening

Revitalizing School-grounds plays a pivotal role in helping the TDSB to reduce its carbon footprint and adapt to climate change. Through collaboration with external partners, the TDSB is able to improve the quality of school grounds and support an investment that will increase in value over time.

TDSB EcoSchools program created

The EcoSchools program is created with a very broad scope covering not only what is taught about the environment, but also how we run our schools and how we design and use our schools grounds.

Environmental Policy adopted

The Environmental Policy commits the Board to an ongoing alignment between teaching and learning, and the operation of schools to develop whole school ecologically literate communities and a healthy, sustainable society.