All around us, environmental, economic and social alarm bells are ringing. Bold vision and audacious innovation are needed to chart the path to a future where individuals and communities can thrive, with clean air to breathe, safe water to drink, good jobs and reliable, equitable social supports. A future where we live, work and play in harmony with our natural environment. Since the inception of the Green Municipal Fund (GMF) more than 22 years ago, we have envisioned a future where all this is possible.  

GMF’s 2021–2022 annual report, Inspiring Innovation, is more than an account of our year’s accomplishments. It examines the power and potential municipalities big and small have to transform our lives and the world around us to ensure a more sustainable and prosperous future. Seemingly audacious ideas often start with an unanswerable question, or a long-standing local challenge. With GMF’s help, they quickly grow into sustainable solutions that can be replicated coast-to-coast-to-coast to deliver triple-bottom-line benefits.  

Throughout a year marked by an ongoing pandemic and devastating weather events, our team continued serving clients at every stage of the sustainability journey. We helped them build capacity and network to learn important lessons about what works and what doesn’t in sustainable initiatives. And when they’re ready, we provide the funding they need to put ideas into action.   

Once again, we saw unprecedented demand for our funding, approving $137.4 million in loans and $74.6 million in grants. This represents a staggering pace of growth from our 2017–2018 fiscal year, in which we approved $45.3 million in loans and $13.7 million in grants (a 203 per cent increase in loans and a 446 per cent increase in grants).  

One of the most remarkable stories is our Community Efficiency Financing (CEF) initiative, which supports municipalities and their partners to deliver home energy retrofits. Since launching CEF in March 2020, we now have programs in place with 29 municipalities, to the tune of $127.4 million in total grants and loans. These municipal programs have the potential to help homeowners reduce GHG emissions by 30–50 per cent in more than 5,000 single-family houses. Just three years ago only three or four such programs existed across the country.

And we asked, what’s next

Part of the answer has involved leveraging feedback from communities and sustainability leaders to iterate the programs launched with the new funding entrusted to us by the Government of Canada in Budget 2019: Community Buildings Retrofits (CBR), Community Efficiency Financing (CEF), Sustainable Affordable Housing (SAH) and Low Carbon Cities Canada (LC3). 

We’ve also started to examine our offers in the energy, land use, transportation, waste and water sectors to ensure they meet municipalities’ current and future needs and ambitions.  

Our numbers tell the story. Municipalities are committed to reaching net-zero by 2050 and are accessing GMF services in record volumes to do so. And there is hope; support for ambitious climate action is growing steadily at the global, national and local levels.  

By uniting with partners from all orders of government, as well as the private sector, GMF is proud to be part of a Canadian ecosystem inspiring innovation to create a sustainable and prosperous tomorrow. 

Taneen Rudyk, FCM President, Councillor, Town of Vegreville, Alberta

Alan DeSousa, GMF Council Chair, Mayor of Saint-Laurent, Quebec

Our legacy in 2021-2022

GMF at a glance

Overview

The Green Municipal Fund helps local governments switch to sustainable practices faster. We provide a unique mix of funding, resources and training for innovative municipal sustainability projects across the country to help build economically, environmentally and socially vibrant communities. Funded by the Government of Canada, GMF is the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ largest program, with a direct impact on the quality of life for millions of Canadians. 

GMF has always been a national leader in supporting innovative sustainability solutions​ that couldn’t gain traction with more mainstream funders. In our early years, the possibilities were wide open in terms of what we funded. We homed in on where we could have the greatest impact: solutions that could succeed and scale. We challenged ourselves to push the limit on the impact of our investments. In fact, we were the first federally funded program to require net-zero as the starting point for applicants. 

Now, with a mountain of project data and evidence in our case studies, projects and experiences, we know even more precisely where to target our efforts and how to get things done. We pair capacity building with our funding to achieve greater outcomes than are possible with funding alone.  

Having practical, high-impact solutions and a business case for sustainable solutions has made us a forward-thinking fund. ​And right now, what’s on our minds — and those of Canadian municipalities — is mobilizing and replicating what works as quickly as possible. 

Over the past 22 years, GMF has supported initiatives centred on energy, land use, transportation, water and waste. In 2019, GMF’s mandate grew to include several new initiatives to help municipalities create a sustainable and prosperous future. Today, GMF supports the following: 

Community Efficiency Financing (CEF) 

This $300 million initiative helps municipalities reach environmental goals and deliver home-energy upgrade financing programs for low-rise residential properties. Taking projects from the planning stage to implementation and to scale, CEF brings jobs to the communities and helps Canadians build better lives.

Low Carbon Cities Canada (LC3) 

LC3 is a $183 million initiative that supports cities and communities in reaching their carbon emissions reduction potential while improving public health and the local economy. This partnership among FCM and seven urban centres focuses on taking proven low-carbon solutions to full-scale adoption in partnership with cities and communities. 

Sustainable Affordable Housing (SAH) 

This $300 million initiative offers support to local affordable housing providers to retrofit existing affordable housing units or construct energy-efficient new builds that emit lower greenhouse gas emissions. 

Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI) 

The CCRI is a collaborative initiative to provide local governments in Canada with the knowledge and tools needed to accelerate circular economy solutions. 

Community Building Retrofit (CBR) 

The $167 million CBR initiative supports local governments and not-for-profit organizations in retrofitting public buildings to improve energy performance, lower operating and maintenance costs, extend their life cycles and transition to cleaner energy solutions over time. 

Core funding 

As part of the GMF since its inception, our core funding offer provides funding for plans, feasibility studies, pilot projects, and capital projects centred on waste, water, energy, land use and transportation.

Bringing communities together  

In October 2021, GMF hosted the second edition of the annual Sustainable Communities Conference (SCC). The online format allowed more participants to attend from more communities across the country: 22% of the 366 delegates were from small and rural communities. The SCC is one of many ways GMF plays a role in bringing together the municipal sector and other partners on a national level to advance Canada’s sustainability goals. 

Results that speak for themselves 

GMF’s triple-bottom-line project valuation and reporting approach continues to enable innovation and deliver impact. 

​​​Environmental benefits 

2.82 million tonnes of GHG emissions avoided since GMF’s inception 

Economic benefits 

GMF supported projects that generated $639 million in national wages and salaries paid to households

Social benefits 

39 initiatives with specific social impact targets

Low Carbon Cities Canada (LC3) 

Learn more

Sustainable Affordable Housing (SAH)

Learn more

Community Efficiency Financing (CEF)

Learn more

Community Buildings Retrofit (CBR)

Learn more

Core funding

Learn more

Capacity development

Learn more

Success stories

At GMF, we’ve long led the way in supporting innovative sustainability solutions that were too far outside the mainstream for other funders. By relying on evidence and scalability, we’ve found a responsible way to support the scale up of low- and zero-emission solutions that are highly successful and replicable.

Year in review

Our impact in 2021–2022

Environmental benefits

To close the emissions gap and avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change, Canada has committed to reducing GHGs by 40–45% by 2030 (from 2005 levels). To help local governments contribute to this goal, GMF includes environmental targets in all its funded initiatives. Below are the environmental impacts of GMF-funded projects that have reported their results since the program’s inception. 

GHG reductions

2.82

megatonnes of GHG emissions avoided.

Energy savings

882,531

GJ of energy savings per year.

Wastewater and drinking water treated

279,451,798

cubic metres of water treated per year.

Water saved

653,136

cubic metres of water saved per year.

Waste diverted from landfill

224,217

tonnes of waste diverted per year.

Media managed

191,768

cubic metres of media (soil, groundwater and sediment) managed.

Land reclaimed

94

hectares of land reclaimed.

Solid waste treated

34,675

cubic metres of waste treated.

Equivalent to taking 865,031 cars off the road for a year or planting 3.3 million acres of boreal forest.

Equivalent to the average annual energy consumption for 163 arenas.

Equivalent to 121,501 Olympic-size swimming pools.

Equivalent to the annual amount of potable water consumed by 7,121 average people.

Equivalent to 20,269 full-sized school buses.

Equivalent to 4,900 shipping containers.

Equivalent to 158 football fields.

Equivalent to 15 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Economic benefits

Despite pandemic-related business interruptions, GMF successfully continued to help municipalities move forward on ambitious net-zero climate initiatives while raising awareness for projects that contribute to national climate objectives. Recognizing environmental sustainability projects are accompanied by other benefits, we fund local solutions that bring deep and wide-ranging economic benefits to communities across the country. 

For the data below, we used the Local Economic Development (LED) model to calculate the economic impact of our investments in plans, studies, pilots and capital projects. 

Since inception

total number of initiatives completed

1,340

Financial leverage

Following are measures of the financial leverage of completed GMF projects across the country for the 1031 initiatives where our investment represented at least 30% of the project’s total value (all numbers include direct and indirect results, but induced effects are not included): 

$1,14 B

of national GDP

12,179

person-years of national employment

$639 M

of national wages and salaries paid to households

Social benefits

We aim to inspire projects that promote and support vibrant and healthy communities with inclusive infrastructure and benefits for all. We make a decided effort to broaden our social impact with innovative projects that aim to help vulnerable youth, people struggling with mental health and addiction, low-income seniors, women and single parents, Indigenous people and recent immigrants.  

Community centres, cultural centres, and libraries

19

capital projects

$55,482,578

disbursed

Social benefits

  • Improves quality of life
  • Strengthens community ties
  • Supports cultural vitality
  • Preserves heritage
  • Supports educational activities
  • Provides local employment and volunteer positions

Recreation centres, pools, and ice rinks

13

capital projects

$41,388,566

disbursed

Social benefits

  • Promotes public health through physical activity
  • Improves local quality of life
  • Promotes economic growth through events and visitors

 

Affordable housing

4

capital projects

$6,776,955

disbursed

Social benefits

  • Creates welcoming places to live, work and start a business
  • Helps address poverty
  • Provides security and comfort to vulnerable populations
  • Retains workers and attracts newcomers
  • Enriches neighbourhoods and drives economic growth

Active transportation

3

capital projects

$12,600,000

disbursed

Social benefits

  • Improves public health through physical activity
  • Improves public safety
  • Boosts community pride

GMF’s impact across Canada: By the numbers

From coast-to-coast-to-coast, GMF has helped communities of all sizes adopt sustainability solutions. To reach Canada’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, we know that each and every municipality must be able to reduce its environmental footprint and address its unique challenges and needs, be it flooding, wildfires, water shortages or access to affordable heating and cooling. Building resilient infrastructure as well as adapting systems and processes to withstand the already tangible impacts of climate change is imperative.

With this goal in mind, GMF is committed to equitably allocating its funding and capacity building initiatives to municipalities in-line with each region’s percentage of the national population. Further, we also strive for equitable allocation between rural and urban areas while helping to ensure that minorities and vulnerable people and communities are represented.  

Below is information about the sectors we work in and how our funding breaks down in terms of regions and urban-rural distribution. 

Distribution by sector and priority initiatives

Our work in five sectors is accelerating the transition to more sustainable solutions for Canadian municipalities: 

Energy (includes CEF, SAH and CBR initiatives)
Land use
Transportation 
Waste
Water

% of funding distribution

Regional distribution of GMF funding

We tracked the regional distribution of loans and grants for sustainable community plans, feasibility studies, pilot projects and capital projects in 2021–2022: 

2021-2022

% of population

6.95%


Total $ (grants & loans)

$24,243,450


% of total (grants & loans)

11.4%


Total net approved since inception*

Total $ (grants & loans)

$198,129,704


% of total $

15.5%


* The grant and loan values for FY 2021-2022 include significant capital project scope changes for 2 projects approved in previous years.

2021-2022

% of population

13.14%


Total $ (grants & loans)

$44,536,780


% of total (grants & loans)

21.0%


Total net approved since inception*

Total $ (grants & loans)

$236,886,298


% of total $

18.6% 


*Total net approved since inception includes the original board-approved amount plus any additional approved amount, less the amounts withdrawn, closed or cancelled.

2021-2022

% of population

0.32%


Total $ (grants & loans)

$350,000


% of total (grants & loans)

0.2%


Total net approved since inception*

Total $ (grants & loans)

$10,162,898


% of total $

0.8%


*Total net approved since inception includes the original board-approved amount plus any additional approved amount, less the amounts withdrawn, closed or cancelled.

2021-2022

% of population

38.39%


Total $ (grants & loans)

$75,743,371


% of total (grants & loans)

35.7%


Total net approved since inception*

Total $ (grants & loans)

$478,335,508


% of total $

37.5%


*Total net approved since inception includes the original board-approved amount plus any additional approved amount, less the amounts withdrawn, closed or cancelled.

2021-2022

% of population

17.59%


Total $ (grants & loans)

$52,310,690


% of total (grants & loans)

24.7%


Total net approved since inception*

Total $ (grants & loans)

$198,248,019


% of total $

15.5%


*Total net approved since inception includes the original board-approved amount plus any additional approved amount, less the amounts withdrawn, closed or cancelled.

2021-2022

% of population

23.61%


Total $ (grants & loans)

$14,871,240


% of total (grants & loans)

7.0%


Total net approved since inception*

Total $ (grants & loans)

$155,294,708


% of total $

12.1%


*Total net approved since inception includes the original board-approved amount plus any additional approved amount, less the amounts withdrawn, closed or cancelled.

Breakdown by province/territory

All numbers include direct and indirect results, but induced effects are not included.

British Columbia

  • Number of projects completed: 240
  • $263.0M GDP
  • 2,734 person-years of national employment

Alberta

  • Number of projects completed: 124
  • $90.3M GDP
  • 851 person-years of national employment

Saskatchewan

  • Number of projects completed: 52
  • $15.7M GDP
  • 158 person-years of national employment

Manitoba

  • Number of projects completed: 53
  • $32M GDP
  • 326 person-years of national employment

Ontario

  • Number of projects completed: 447
  • $392.3M GDP
  • 4,069 person-years of national employment

Quebec

  • Number of projects completed: 253
  • $190M GDP
  • 2,121 person-years of national employment

Atlantic (NB, NL, NS, PE)

  • Number of projects completed: 147
  • $157.6M GDP
  • 1,887 person-years of national employment

Territories (YT, NU, NWT)

  • Number of projects completed: 24
  • $3.3M GDP
  • 31 person-years of national employment

Urban-rural balance of all approved initiatives

Below is information about the urban-rural distribution of loans and grants for sustainable community plans, feasibility studies, pilot projects and capital projects in 2021–2022: 

% of population
19% Small, rural and remote municipalities
81% Towns and cities

Charts

2021-2022 funding breakdown

Total grants & loans ($)
$16,062,630 Small, rural and remote communities
$195,992,901 Towns and cities
% of total $
19% Small, rural and remote communities
81% Towns and cities

Total net approved since inception*

Total grants & loans ($)
$249,588,012 Small, rural and remote communities
$1,027,469,122 Towns and cities
% of total $
20% Small, rural and remote communities
81% Towns and cities

Building resilient communities

The future we want

The Future we want

GMF was created and has evolved in direct response to the needs of Canada’s municipalities. The FCM team co-created GMF with the Government of Canada and its members in response to their heightened sense of urgency around the need for stable, long-term, sustainable infrastructure funding. GMF’s role in helping Canada build resilient communities becomes stronger and more relevant with every passing year. 

With the federal government’s release this year of Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reductions Plan to chart the path to reducing GHGs by 40 – 45 per cent by 2030, we are reminded of the timeliness of the climate mitigation solutions GMF has long championed. In priority areas such as buildings, transportation, water, waste and land use, GMF has given communities the funding and resources to undertake 1,931 projects.   

Widening our gaze, we are searching out new opportunities for deep emissions reductions, such as landfill gas capture and conversion to fuels and energy. Stemming from our achievements in the built environment, we are exploring opportunities to weave initiatives like district energy or municipal zero emission fleets more deeply into our work. 

And while we continue to focus on the critical need for mitigation solutions, the increasing prevalence of extreme weather events due to climate change highlights the importance of adaptation. This is particularly urgent for the most vulnerable people in our society, who often bear the brunt of extreme heat and natural disasters. While adaptation to climate change has been realized as a co-benefit of many GMF projects and initiatives such as SAH, which helps vulnerable people afford reliable heating and cooling systems and safe housing, more must be done. Over the coming year, we look forward to contributing to the creation of Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy.  

At GMF, our vision of tomorrow flows from the needs and ambitions of municipalities across the country: a prosperous future, for everyone, in every region of Canada, economically, environmentally, and socially.