More than 275,000 trees to be planted in Montreal region as part of federal climate change fight
Tens of thousands of trees will be planted in the Montreal region by 2030 thanks to a $40-million investment by the Canadian government and the support of provincial and municipal governments.
Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault announced the initiative during the Montreal Climate Summit on Wednesday. He said the funding will go into the country's 2 Billion Trees (2BT) program, which will allow for 275,000 trees to be planted in and around Montreal.
"The planting of more than a quarter of a million new trees in Montreal will contribute in every way to making the city happier and the planet healthier," said Guilbeault, in a news release.
The first project, led by Société de verdissement du Montréal métropolitain and Alliance forêt urbaine, aims to plant 200,000 trees by 2030 on private and institutional lands — schoolyards, hospitals, parking lots and company grounds.
For this project, the federal government is contributing $20 million and Montreal is matching that. Surrounding municipalities receiving trees are contributing another $20 million.
The second project, with the city of Montreal, will result in the planting of over 64,000 trees over two years in areas of the city prone to heat waves.
For that project, Canada is investing nearly $20 million, while Quebec will contribute nearly $11 million and Montreal another $10 million.
Mayor supports initiative
"Nearly 265,000 trees will be planted in the coming years in Montreal thanks to the partnerships announced today," wrote Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante on Twitter Wednesday, describing it as a great way to cool heat islands, improve air quality and boost biodiversity.
"These plantings are part of our vision: 500,000 new trees in Montreal by 2030."
The third project, with the city of Vaudreuil-Dorion, resulted in the planting of over 11,000 trees in 2022 throughout the community there, west of Montreal.
There, Canada contributed $485,070, while Vaudreuil-Dorion's share was $485,070 — with part of that funding going to employment activities related to tree planting and internship opportunities for students.
Liberals lagging on tree promise
Two weeks ago, a report by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development criticized the federal government's tree-planting program.
The Liberals first promised the planting of two billion trees, with the specific aim of capturing carbon, during the 2019 federal election campaign and then delivered a budget of $3.2 billion a year later to meet the goal.
An audit of the first two years of planting found the government was not on track to get even four per cent of the promised trees in the ground by the end of 2030. Nor has the Canadian government signed long-term project agreements with the provinces or territories to fulfil its promises, the report found.
Guilbeault announced on Wednesday that $187 million will be invested in advancing climate priorities in Quebec.
Of this amount, nearly $60 million would be used to help low-income households across the province switch from heating oil to more affordable options to meet their energy needs.
The federal government will also invest $127 million to support initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 — initiatives that align with Canada's and Quebec's objectives in terms of carbon neutral by 2050.