Biodiversity Finance for Cities
New financial tools for the City of Toronto's Parkland Dedication Rate
Developments in Ontario municipalities convey parkland under Section 42 of the Planning Act. Cash-in-lieu is contributed for parkland acquisitions when parkland cannot be conveyed. The City of Toronto had amassed $237,620,212 in cash-in-lieu reserve funds as of December 31, 2019. Complex spending rules hamper the use of existing funds. Municipal officials estimate that by 2034 there will be 25 m2 of parkland per person in Toronto compared with 28 m2 in 2016. Washington, D.C. has a green space standard of 38 m2 per person. The Nature Conservancy of Canada and Rally Assets estimates an annual national biodiversity funding gap of CAD 19.5-26 billion. The use of new financial tools for biodiversity conservation is catching on in the financial and philanthropic sectors. This MRP recommends amending existing rules to facilitate the use of cash-in-lieu reserve funds, to pursue new financial tools to acquire parkland, and to convene stakeholders across sectors.