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JustEarth Coalition
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The Hon. Dominic LeBlanc – Re: Proposal to Tear Down Rogers Centre

The Hon. Dominic LeBlanc
Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
Government of Canada
Ottawa, Ontario

Re: Proposal to Tear Down Rogers Centre

Dear Mr. LeBlanc

We in Just Earth, are a Toronto based group of climate change activists who consider the climate crisis the greatest challenge of our time, with the prospect of massive extinctions, well beyond the alarming deaths from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Paris Accord, to which Canada is a signatory, calls for greenhouse gases to be reduced by 30 percent compared with 2005 levels by 2030. In our predominantly urbanized country it is clear that every city needs a Climate  Emergency Action Plan such as that already adopted by the City of Vancouver. The subject of “embodied energy” which means all energy it takes to make, transport and install the components of any building or infrastructure project such as sidewalks  has not, up until now, been a major focus in climate policy discussions. In reviewing the National Building Code of Canada along with Ontario’s and Toronto’s Municipal Codes on building construction and demolition “embodied energy” is not even acknowledged in the existing criteria. That needs to change in order for the requirements of responsible climate accountability to be met.

Architects are now arguing for policies that recognize the huge climate impact of new buildings. It is estimated that the built environment accounts for about 40 percent of all global emissions. As pointed out by Alex Bozikovic in The Globe and Mail on January 21, 2021, the proposal to tear down the Rogers Centre and build a new one “is criminal” from a climate perspective. Creating the building’s 137,000 cubic  metres of concrete and 7,000 tonnes of steel put huge volumes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Tearing it down and rebuilding would generate still more. Bozikovic quotes Canadian architect, Kelly Doran who says that he and other professionals now recognize the enormous climate impact of new buildings and argue for the refurnishing of old ones as much as possible.

The Rogers  Centre  is only 3 decades old and was constructed as a public/private partnership with public tax dollars comprising the largest percentage of the tab. The amount that was contributed by the City of Toronto and the Province of Ontario, was estimated in 2018,  to be over $53.5 million each.  Rogers Communication bought it in 2004 for an estimated 4 percent of its original cost. As you are no doubt aware, the building is owned by Rogers but the land upon which it is located is owned by the federal government. Clearly the  future of the Centre is central to the public interest from both an environmental as well as budgetary perspective. On the basis of new regulations proposed in Bill C-12, alone, this project exceeds the limits of emerging climate accountability legislation.

We urge you not to approve this project. Rejecting it would demonstrate an urgently needed commitment on the part of the federal government to carefully consider all demolition and reconstruction projects in the process of living up to the terms of the Paris Accord.  Our concern is not only with this flagrant example but with the many buildings throughout Canada  that have large amounts of embedded carbon. The entire country, should have  regulations that would require the embedded carbon as well as future GHG emissions to be taken into account before approval of any building or demolition proposals.

We look forward to your reply.

Yours truly

Rose Dyson


Chrystia Freeland, M.P.
Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of the Environment