Policy Analysis

CAD 100 Million Dollar Investment in Ontario’s Electricity Infrastructure to Safeguard Security of Supply—and the Economy

By Stacy Corneau, on March 29, 2019

Extreme weather events and slow-onset climate change are shedding new light on requirements for our energy network. 

September’s storm was one of the worst natural disasters Ontario communities had faced since the 2003 blackout and 1998 ice storm. In the series of tornadoes that hit Ontario that month, over 50 homes were destroyed, 200 buildings were damaged500,000 people in the province suffered power outages and people were sent to the hospital. 

This is why Hydro One’s plan to invest CAD 100 million in significant electricity infrastructure upgrades over five years is not only a welcome announcement, but crucial to the province’s sustainable and climate-resilient development.

Hydro One is Canada’s largest electricity distributor and provides electricity to almost 1.4 million customers across Ontario alone, though most of its electricity system was built in the 1970s and 1980s. This investment would help maintain Ontario’s critical infrastructure, ensuring that when the next natural disaster strikes, electrical resources are better equipped to deal with increasing frequency and intensity of climate-related weather events. This means fewer power lines falling on roads, fewer malfunctioning traffic lights and fewer people being sent to hospitals.

On top of supporting the livelihoods of community members and ensuring their security, financing sustainable electricity infrastructure also helps Canada achieve the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Having agreed to reach these ambition targets in September 2015, Ontario’s decision to invest CAD 100 million into electricity infrastructure upgrades helps achieve five of the goals: no poverty; affordable and clean energy; decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation and infrastructure; and sustainable communities and cities.  

IISD’s Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) can also contribute to policy-makers and investors making informed decisions on financing sustainable infrastructure and curbing climate change while addressing its effects. SAVi has already been applied across the globe, helping governments achieve sustainable development goals.

Investing in Ontario’s electricity infrastructure provides Canadians with jobs, security and everyday necessities, while achieving Canada’s sustainable development goals in a climate-resilient way.