Capacity development

Empowering ambitious action 

Municipalities have the will and ambition to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, but too many lack the skills to build on that vision. With training, resources and support to meet the needs of municipalities throughout their sustainability journey, GMF is here to help. 

In 2021–22, new GMF programs and partnerships helped communities across the country build their capacity to engage in inspired sustainability-focused innovation.  

Capacity building is central to all our funding streams. Last year, we finalized a renewed GMF capacity development strategy focused on three pillars: 

  1. Inform and inspire — raising awareness, motivating action and acting as a thought leader 
  2. Convene and connect — establishing a municipal sustainability movement and connecting communities  
  3. Skills and scale — helping municipalities develop their capabilities to achieve impact and scale up promising models  

Aligned with the strategy, our SAH initiative hosted a first-of-its-kind Regional Energy Coach (REC) pilot. RECs encourage affordable housing providers to think big about innovative sustainability solutions and offer comprehensive project management and technical support. They also walk-through energy assessments and provide one-on-one coaching to help municipalities deliver transformative projects that can be scaled quickly and efficiently. In the first year of the pilot, RECs had nearly 900 one-on-one interactions with affordable housing providers and supported the development of 130 funding applications. 

Sharing knowledge, exchanging experience 

Last year we created communities of practice (CoP) in the CEF and SAH funding initiatives so municipalities can learn from and build on each other's experiences through peer exchanges and group learning, access tools, online knowledge products and platforms, as well as risk-sharing partnership models. Bringing together municipal staff and their program partners, the CoPs are a powerful tool to connect stakeholders intending to increase energy efficiency in the affordable housing sector.  

We also partnered with the National Zero Waste Council, RECYC QUÉBEC and the Recycling Council of Alberta to kick off the Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI) pilot: a peer-to-peer network that accelerates local circular economy initiatives. In 2021–2022, 15 local governments from across Canada took part in webinars, workshops and networking opportunities to understand how the circular economy applies to their specific local contexts. Following the pilot, the unique CCRI approach scaled up nationally and is even being adopted by other countries. 

Key results: capacity development 2021-2022

  • 3,021 participants in online webinars, workshops, training sessions and cohort meetings
  • 17,783 downloads of case studies, roadmaps and guidebooks
  • 366 delegates at the first-ever virtual Sustainable Communities Conference