Author: Shawna Stirrett

The Missing Link: Constructive Ideas for Improving Urban Environmental Performance in Western Canada explains why the tools available to improve environmental outcomes in our cities are often underutilized, and argues that the main reason Canadian cities are generally behind the curve on the use of green tools is the tendency for short-term costs to trump long-term benefits.

The report recommends the following steps be taken to overcome this focus:

  • the development of a green growth strategy that integrates the health of the environment with the health of the economy and includes clear commitments to the monitoring and communication of results;
  • the inclusion of more rigorous environmental measures in building codes, the implementation of retrofit programs and environmental certification of new city-owned buildings; and,
  • the use of green incentives and pilot projects to familiarize residents, developers and policymakers with green tools and their benefit.

The Missing Link is the final report in the Canada West Foundation’s project of the same name, which investigates the critical role played by public policy in the transition from the idea stage to the on-the-ground implementation of environmental initiatives in Canadian cities.