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Cities need living green infrastructure as well as grey

Feb 18, 2014


For Immediate Distribution


(Toronto, February 18) The federal government has made a strong commitment to funding infrastructure across Canada with its announcement of $14B over 10 years from the Building Canada Fund. Getting the most from our investments in national infrastructure, however, requires including support for living green infrastructure as well as traditional grey infrastructure.

Building on the funding announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Denis Lebel, Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs, the federal government should acknowledge that natural systems deserve special focus as valuable components of our cities. Increased investment in grey infrastructure like roads and transit is much needed, but Canada is falling behind countries like the United States in funding living green infrastructure. The current focus on grey infrastructure should not dictate how infrastructure is conceived for the next 10 years.

Living green infrastructure is a different way of thinking about infrastructure. It is a multi-scale network of ecological features that provide a wealth of benefits to our communities. Living green infrastructure includes everything from natural vegetative systems such as tree-lined streets or urban parks, to green technologies such as green roofs and permeable pavement. All of these elements combine to form a natural network that helps clean our air and water.

Living green infrastructure also complements traditional grey infrastructure by helping it do its job and increasing its cost effectiveness. Green infrastructure keeps stormwater from overwhelming grey infrastructure and is one of the best strategies for dealing with severe weather events. It also shades and cools grey infrastructure, which prevents damage and extends its lifespan.

As all three levels of government look to make much-needed investments in urban infrastructure, living green infrastructure should be included in funding programs such as the Building Canada Fund. Ontario is already reaping the benefits of green infrastructure. With over 200,000 Ontarians working in jobs related to growing, manufacturing, implementing, and maintaining living green infrastructure, further investment fits perfectly into the government’s goal of investing in projects that contribute to Canada's economic growth and prosperity.


About the Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition (GIO)


GIO is a collaborative alliance of businesses, not-for-profits, community groups, and local governments from across the province working to promote green infrastructure in Ontario. GIO’s mission is to bring organizations together to share information and collaborate for improved green infrastructure policies and programs across Ontario. For more information visit

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Media contact:

Elizabeth Oakley
Tel: 416-661-6600 ext 5856

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