Low Carbon Cities Canada (LC3)

Low Carbon Cities Canada (LC3)

Actioning insights to zero-in on high-impact outcomes

Low Carbon Cities Canada (LC3) supports seven major Canadian cities in reaching their highest potential in reducing carbon emissions. This network works with local communities and partners to demonstrate, de-risk and scale up local climate solutions that both reduce key emissions sources and create equitable community benefits.

With all seven Centres up and running across the country, the LC3 network has made significant progress in advancing local and national strategies that deliver highest-impact carbon reduction, while positioning them for full scale adoption. Each Centre has delivered grants, investments and programs that are tailored to the local context, community priorities and needs. In 2022–23, this totaled over $2.4 million in grants, $1.6 million in direct investments and $1.1 million in LC3 Centre-led initiatives for priority area projects, including buildings, electrification of transport, renewable energy systems and capacity building efforts.

Although each Centre is locally managed, all LC3 Centres apply a common set of metrics as selection criteria for grants, programs and impact investment decisions, including carbon reduction, scalability, job creation and community benefits potential. These metrics will be used on a Network-wide basis to identify gaps and challenges, as well as trends and opportunities to improve LC3’s collective impact.

Using data from the previous 12 months, lessons from local efforts were compiled into LC3’s first Annual Learning Report. This report revealed key takeaways related to organizational development, including the communication of LC3’s impacts, excellence in governance and community engagement efforts.

The report identified LC3s’ grant-making approach as a focus area where Centres will work together, sharing best practices and principles to evolve their grant offerings and be even more responsive to local skills, ideas, and needs. Another focus area is the continued work on LC3’s GHG quantification protocol, both to measure and identify high-impact GHG reduction initiatives and to better align the process with local contexts, while ensuring quality analysis. And the Network will focus on refining the protocol in 2023–24 through a new LC3 GHG Quantification Community of Practice.


LC3 2022–23

  • $2.4 million in grants
  • $1.6 million in direct investments
  • $1.1 million in LC3 Centre-led initiatives


Collaborative action to advance viable solutions

The collaborative aspect of the LC3 network gathered momentum this past year through two in-person summit meetings in Ottawa and regular bi-weekly meetings to share insights, lessons and peer-to-peer support across Centres.

The Network is joining forces around common objectives while building capacity with local leaders to accelerate the transition to net-zero. One of the Network’s first projects was a partnership between GMF and all seven of the LC3 Centres to create The Unique Role of Canadian Cities in Accelerating Zero-Emission Transportation—a guide outlining the highest-impact municipal actions cities can take to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission vehicles.

The LC3 Centres also jointly funded Efficiency Canada’s efforts in advancing research on building codes and performance standards—a critical policy area for cities looking to lead the transition to net-zero. LC3 and Efficiency Canada co-hosted two webinars and published accompanying guides on key technical aspects of net-zero ready building codes and related policies to inform, build capacity and nudge key stakeholders towards more ambitious tiers of the National Building Code. Read the Municipal Guide to Net-Zero Energy Ready Building Codes and What Municipalities Need to Know about Canada’s Net-Zero Emissions Building Codes to learn more. A third guide and webinar will be released in the next year.

Climate and equity—building capacity for next level action

Equity-deserving populations are often the most impacted by climate change—and a hallmark of LC3’s work is supporting initiatives that tackle key carbon emissions sources in cities while producing multi-solving community benefits with a growing focus on equity-deserving communities. While the Network just launched a decision-making metric around social equity at the end of 2022, LC3 Centres are already working to build capacity in this area by supporting local leaders, including:

  • Metro Vancouver Zero Emissions Innovation Centre’s (ZEIC) work with the Women4Climate Mentorship program to advance BIPOC women in climate leadership role
  • Alberta Ecotrust Climate Innovation Fund’s (CIF) work with ACORN Institute Canada to engage tenants in apartment retrofits
  • The Atmospheric Fund’s (TAF) work with Building Up to incorporate a green construction curriculum into their pre-apprenticeship program
  • Ottawa Climate Action Fund’s (OCAF) convening of The Ottawa Climate Equity Initiative to bring together social inclusion and climate change leaders
  • Halifax Climate Investment Innovation and Impact Fund’s (HCi3) support of the ONE + ReCover initiative to bridge the employment gap for African Nova Scotians through green workforce training

Reaching a key milestone in embedding equity in its work, the Network was fortunate to be awarded $5 million over five years in funding from the McConnell Foundation in December 2022. This investment will deepen work on integrating social equity and Reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in climate action. The funding will be allocated locally through re-granting to community leaders and used to build relationships with local leaders and collaborators to identify, cultivate and support integrated projects in a meaningful way.

Over the next year, the Centres will continue to expand on this work to identify, co-develop and scale out the highest impact opportunities alongside community partners and municipalities to ensure the integration of LC3’s foundational principles (scale and equity) while enhancing the social and economic benefits that these projects can provide.