Monday, December 2, 2019

The Final Report from Toronto's TransformTO Reference Panel on Climate Action is now available

By: Sarah Rodrigues

Earlier this year, the City created Toronto's TransformTO Reference Panel on Climate Action, composed of 30 Toronto residents representative of Toronto's diversity. Together they learned, deliberated and made recommendations for climate actions and priorities in Toronto. Their recommendations will help to inform the Implementation Plan from 2021-2023 for the City's Climate Action Strategy, TransformTO, which will be presented to Toronto City Council in spring 2020.

What is a Residents' Reference Panel?

Find out, and read about our Reference Panel's recommendations, after the jump...

A Residents’ Reference Panel is a group of randomly-selected people tasked with examining an issue in-depth and making consensus recommendations to governments on behalf of their fellow residents. There have been over 35 Reference Panels held across Canada over the last 10 years. Reference Panels are a tool well-suited to complex issues because the process focuses on learning, deliberation, and consensus-building among people with different perspectives and backgrounds.


Residents of the Panel were selected through a civic lottery process - 12,500 invitations to join the panel were mailed to randomly-selected addresses in Toronto, provided by Canada Post. 427 respondents volunteered to devote approximately 23 hours of their time over three days. Panel members were then randomly selected from the pool of volunteers in a blind process to ensure the Panel broadly represented the demographics and attitudes of Toronto as a whole. The selection process resulted in a Panel of 30 residents.


The Panel was tasked with representing the needs of their community, even when those needs differed from their own concerns or preferences. They were also tasked with reaching consensus on priority climate actions for Toronto through dialogue in order to arrive at final recommendations to help inform the next short-term TransformTO Implementation Plan.


Here’s a snapshot of a few of their recommendations:

  • The City should require all residential buildings in Toronto to undergo energy labelling so that buyers and renters have information about the build¬ings’ energy efficiency. 
  • By 2023, the City should pilot a congestion pricing zone and introduce more transit priority zones like the King Street Transit Priority Corridor. 
  • New taxes and levies should be considered to pay for climate-oriented city-building projects, provided they are transparent and other sources of revenue are explored first.
  • Policies needs to be designed and implemented in ways that ensure that marginalized Torontonians are not required to shoulder undue costs and are able to share equitably in the benefits of climate action.

Learn more about the TransformTO Reference Panel on Climate Action and all their recommendations in this newly released final report.

What's next for TransformTO?

The TransformTO team is currently wrapping-up broad public consultations and, in January 2020, will report on the findings of:

City-hosted public meetings
An online survey, and
Community-hosted conversations

An overview of all consultation initiatives will be incorporated in the next short-term TransformTO Implementation Plan.

To learn more about TransformTO or sign-up for e-updates, visit

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