Low Carbon Cities Canada – Ottawa’s Centre

Introduction to the Network

When the recent federal budget was announced, we received the fabulous news of funding for Low Carbon Cities Canada (LC3), via the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM).

LC3 is a network of seven Centres in the following urban areas:

  • Halifax
  • Montreal
  • Ottawa
  • Toronto & Hamilton
  • Calgary
  • Edmonton
  • Vancouver

Each Centre will mobilize knowledge, provide financing, and activate other investments to prove the viability of high-impact programs, technologies, and systems to lower climate emissions. The goal is to demonstrate and de-risk solutions so they can move to full-scale implementation.  The Centres are also committed to maximizing the significant potential for economic and social co-benefits such as employment.

As with The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) in Toronto—the founding Centre in the network—each Centre will be self-sustaining. Each will invest the capital entrusted to them on a revolving basis, while ensuring the revenue generated can also cover the costs of the Centre’s ongoing operations. As the national office, FCM will ensure the network’s successes extend to other cities and regions across Canada.

The Ottawa Centre and the Ottawa Community Foundation’s Role

The Ottawa Community Foundation (OCF) led Ottawa’s participation in the development of the LC3 network. The OCF coordinated input from the City of Ottawa and many other knowledgeable local stakeholders on the rationale for an Ottawa Centre, on how it might operate, and on some areas of opportunity. At the same time, through its Energy Evolution Strategy, the City underlined its commitment to supporting the establishment of Ottawa’s LC3 Centre. Since then, OCF staff and volunteers have continued to work with colleagues from TAF and each of the other Centres to evolve the thinking on how the network will operate, and to make the case for funding.

Following the recent federal funding announcement, the OCF’s role will now shift to helping establish and support the Ottawa Centre. Once established, the Centre’s multi-sectoral advisory board and staff, with additional expertise as required, will determine appropriate areas of focus and specific opportunities for granting and investment. For an initial period after it is set up, the OCF will provide the governance structure for the Centre and manage its endowment.

An official announcement is expected over the coming weeks regarding the funds to be transferred to the Ottawa Centre, including the operating fund for the first three years

Some Key Next Steps

The estimated timing for the transfer of funds to the FCM is between three and six months. During this time considerable additional groundwork will take place to ensure readiness for operation as soon as possible once the funds are available. This will include:

Establishing the mutual relationship and relative responsibilities between the LC3 Centres and the FCM. While the independence of the Centres is an essential principle, agreement on key performance indicators and on a reasonable framework regarding performance is also essential; and is necessary to the “networked intelligence” of the Centres and of FCM.

Giving further shape to how the Ottawa Centre will operate, including its relationship with the City of Ottawa. To reach the intended level and quality of climate action, the Centre will need to be rigourous and nimble; accountable and independent. It will also need to engage a wide range of actors, to uncover and to leverage the range of benefits that can be realized by its grants and investments. The OCF is committed to early, ongoing and meaningful involvement across sectors in shaping the Centre and its work.

OCF’s lead for LC3

Rebecca Aird
T: 613-236-1616 ext. 222

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