Canada's National Capital Commission (NCC) announced that it is banning the use of gas-powered small tools (leaf blowers, line trimmers, hedge trimmers and small chainsaws) on NCC lands — becoming the first jurisdiction in Canada to enact such a blanket policy.
The ban, which takes effect April 1, 2023, and also applies to all NCC maintenance contractors, will enable the NCC to further its national leadership in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions as one of only two federal Crown corporations to sign on to the federal government’s Sustainable Development Strategy.
At a time when participants have emerged from COP26 in Glasgow with an unprecedented consensus on the increasingly urgent need to take action in response to climate change, this decision by the NCC accelerates progress toward its objective of reducing vehicle and equipment emissions by 80% by 2030. It also builds on recent initiatives — such as the parkways for people pilot project and the construction of the first zero carbon emissions federal building in the Capital — to reduce emissions across NCC operations and lands, and take bold steps to address the climate crisis.
These steps are being taken in the context of the NCC’s Sustainable Development Strategy, which aims to preserve the National Capital Region’s natural environment for future generations and take ambitious steps to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
- Emissions research has revealed that using top selling commercial leaf blowers for one hour generates pollution comparable with that of a 1,760 km drive in a 2016 Toyota Camry.
- The NCC’s Sustainable Development Strategy is founded on six principles: leadership, public participation, social equity, collaboration, valuing natural capital in decision making, and transparency and accountability.
- The NCC’s Sustainable Development Strategy is supported by 36 actions, focusing on climate change action, building resilient infrastructure, protecting biodiversity and water quality, promoting sustainable agriculture and safe and healthy communities, and connecting Canadians with nature.
- The NCC will transition to net-zero emissions and climate-resilient operations by 2050. This requirement applies to real property, fleets, business travel and commuting, and the procurement of goods and services. This commitment will be reflected in the NCC’s Sustainable Development Strategy, 2023–2027.