2020 Annual Report

Conservation Matters - TRCA 2020 Annual Report

Conservation Matters


Message from the Chair, Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer

Progress on Strategic Accomplishments (2018-2022)

Video: Conservation Matters | TRCA Jurisdiction Map



Select image below to view the full-sized TRCA jurisdiction map.

map of TRCA jurisdiction showing municipalities and population

PLEASE NOTE: Population percentage has been rounded to the nearest whole number.

section separator

Message from the chair of the TRCA board of directors and the chief executive officer

In a year like no other, 2020 highlighted the vital role that Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) fulfills for our communities within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and demonstrated how conservation matters.

Amid the COVID-19 global health pandemic that caused major disruptions to our residents, businesses, and government partners, TRCA continued to seamlessly deliver our essential services and community supported programs. Across our jurisdiction TRCA maintained the pace of delivery for flood and erosion prevention works, trails, and restoration projects. Using niche machinery including our watercraft, drones, updated LiDAR and GIS data, our teams continued our work to monitor the natural environment, protect and upgrade aging infrastructure, while constructing new trail linkages to meet the growing recreation and active transportation demands within our communities.

At the same time, TRCA’s inter-disciplinary experts on our permit review teams supported our economy while mitigating and protecting the natural environment through the issuance of over 1,000 permits for development and infrastructure projects. By developing and enforcing strict COVID-19 safety protocols and leveraging recent information technology investments, TRCA demonstrated its ability to continue critical work, both remotely and in the field, resulting in strengthened relationships with partner municipalities, government agencies and industry.

From March onwards, COVID-19 directives prompted residents to visit our conservation lands at an unprecedented rate and TRCA’s greenspaces provided residents with a safe and enjoyable way to safely explore their communities and connect with nature. As more Ontarians looked close to home for their vacation and recreation needs, TRCA’s parks and trails were busier than ever. In addition, when the province restricted in school learning, without missing a beat, our education programmers adapted to virtual delivery in response to changing learning needs to provide much needed online educational opportunities.

Thanks to the tireless and award winning efforts of our staff, we were delighted to see GTA residents embrace their role as watershed stewards and engage in safe and meaningful activities including smaller scale community plantings, virtual information sharing forums, and online events all while adhering to government directives.

TRCA also worked successfully with our municipal partners to secure significant funds in the form of federal Disaster Mitigation Adaptation Fund support to address infrastructure needs including necessary works in Toronto’s Rockcliffe community and for the Downtown Brampton Flood Protection project. This vital federal support was matched with municipal funding to create a combined $145 million dollar investment in these two projects alone which will allow TRCA and its partners to move forward on detailed design and implementation.

In the fall, when the provincial government introduced sweeping changes to both the Conservation Authorities Act (CA Act) and Planning Act in Bill 229, TRCA vocally endorsed the changes related to transparency and accountability, but did everything in its power to advise the Province on our pragmatic concerns regarding governance, planning, permitting and enforcement.

Through our efforts, some of our concerns, including ensuring our continued role in land use planning around natural hazards, flexibility to deliver programs supported by government partners, and clearer enforcement provisions were successfully addressed. However, the final legislation raises unprecedented challenges particularly with new measures that require conservation authorities to issue CA Act permits for development projects if they have previously received a Planning Act Minister’s Zoning Order (MZO) approval.

While new MZO provisions in the CA Act make our work to protect our watersheds more challenging, TRCA will continue to operate in a manner that reflects the best available science and professional standards in our permit reviews. In addition, through our role on the Province’s Working Group on CA Act regulations we will share our best practices and advice to help shape the future regulations.

TRCA is thankful to partner municipalities, in addition to our vast network of residents, businesses, professional associations, not-for-profit organizations and other stakeholders throughout our jurisdiction for their unwavering encouragement and support of our actions and our collaborative approach. The outpouring of support last year demonstrated that the people of Ontario understand the important impact of our conservation initiatives. It is in this spirit of togetherness that TRCA will continue to work with our partners and stakeholders to promote responsible development that will protect our important greenspaces, watersheds, and the Lake Ontario shoreline as we work together to build more sustainable and resilient communities.

As in past years, TRCA’s 2020 Annual Report showcases our important work and highlights our successes. Below you will find a wealth of evidence about the important role we play in our communities. TRCA remains committed as ever to protecting lives and property, preserving, and restoring our region’s natural heritage, and providing safe and healthy programs and activities in our communities.

Through our partnerships, award winning programs and projects such as The Meadoway, the Sustainable Neighbourhood Action Program, Monarch Nation and others, TRCA remains at the forefront of change in applying our science based approach and best practices to protect and restore natural systems and to reduce our ecological impact. With the support of our partners and stakeholders, we look forward to continuing to demonstrate how TRCA’s important work matters in protecting our communities and our shared natural environment.

John MacKenzie John MacKenzie
Chief Executive Officer
Jennifer Innis Jennifer Innis
Chair, TRCA Board of Directors

READ: TRCA Chair Jennifer Innis in the Toronto Star on the critical role of Conservation Authorities.


Progress on Strategic Accomplishments (2018-2022)

In November 2018, TRCA’s Board of Directors approved a Five-Year Update to Building the Living City 2013-2022 Strategic Plan with the addition of measures and outcomes. The following outlines TRCA’s progress in 2019 (inside) and 2020 (outside) on achieving strategic plan objectives.

Progress toward strategic goals from 2019 to 2020

Select each of the strategic plan objectives below to view the projected 2018-2022 accomplishments and 2020 results.


project or program is started and on track Project/Program is started and on track project or program has an issue identified Project/Program has an issue identified project or program has not yet commenced Project/Program has not yet commenced


section separator

TRCA Strategic Goal 1 Green the Toronto region economy

Supporting the transition to a strong, green economy continues to be a critical priority for TRCA’s partners. Long-term prosperity in the jurisdiction and global sustainability requires industries, businesses and consumers to achieve planned employment and economic objectives while reducing the environmental footprint of the economy. It is also important to recognize that the green infrastructure industry and restoration economy, of which TRCA is a part, makes major contributions to regional economic development and community wellbeing.


2019 and 2020 progress status

Project or Program is started and on track Be at the forefront of providing input into the development of provincial and municipal policies and guidelines relating to land use and environmental planning and sustainable development related to TRCA’s core objectives. Project or program has an issue identified Seize opportunities for integrating more sustainable technologies and sustainable development certifications in the design and construction of new development and in retrofits of existing communities in the jurisdiction.
Project or Program is started and on track Expand TRCA’s fee-for-service work for governmental, private sector and not-for-profit stakeholders, to facilitate the efficient delivery of green infrastructure and sustainability projects in areas of TRCA expertise. Project or Program is started and on track Expand the Partners in Project Green Eco-Zone program to include emerging employment areas across the jurisdiction subject to partner funding.


Technologies Evaluated
13 technologies were evaluated by the Sustainable Technologies Evaluation Program (STEP), including bioswales constructed as part of the City of Markham’s Green Road Pilot Project and a smart control dual fuel heat pump installed at the Archetype Sustainable House. This technology promises enhanced energy efficiency and significantly lower carbon emissions than comparable conventional systems.

Sustainable Communities
STEP completed an assessment of barriers and opportunities associated with micro-housing in the GTA, shedding light on an important strategy for addressing housing affordability and the need for intensification in Toronto and other Canadian cities. Findings were subsequently disseminated through 3 knowledge sharing events attended by 130 participants.

Private Erosion Hazards
317 private property hazard sites were inspected as part of TRCA’s Erosion Risk Management Program, 7% increase over 2019.

Sustainable Neighbourhood Action Program (SNAP)
SNAP secured 32 new partnerships totaling over 80 active partnerships to help deliver neighbourhood-based solutions for urban renewal and climate action. 3 new SNAP action plans completed or initiated this year making a total of 7 active SNAPs underway. 8 green infrastructure projects implemented on public and private land including: 320 trees planted; 1,000 shrubs; 400 native plants; and 100 m2 pavement removed, plus 84 microgreen balcony garden kits distributed. Engaged 878 participants in 32 workshops and events.

Provincial Policy
Responded to 23 Environmental Registry of Ontario postings, in addition to working with the Province and other stakeholders on responses to the proposed amendments to the Conservation Authorities Act under Bill 229, Schedule 6.

Green and Natural Infrastructure
TRCA partnered with The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation and Ryerson University on a research project examining the role trees play in building climate change resilience. This research found that increasing tree canopy by 80% can reduce extreme heat by 2⁰C and make it feel up to 11⁰C cooler.

Sustainable Community Award – National Recognition
TRCA and 9 participating partner municipalities have been recognized by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) with an Honourable Mention for SNAP. SNAP initatives include home retrofits for climate preparedness, infrastructure renewal projects that incorporate greater environmental functions, and urban agriculture installations, to name just a few.

Supporting our Regional Partners
STEP supported the Region of Peel in their efforts to enhance LID implementation and operation by working in partnership with Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) to develop 10 standard operating procedures for LID/stormwater practices and identifying and implementing LID retrofits as part of the Peel State of Good Repair project.

Through Partners in Project Green participants and SNAP neighborhood residents, over 100 projects and 600 sustainability actions were implemented achieving:

1720 plants and trees planted 37000 kilograms of material diverted from landfills 380 million litres of water use offset 28 million ekWh reduced 3900 tonnes of greenhouse gas avoided


section separator

TRCA Strategic Goal 2 Manage regional water resources for current and future generations

Clean water is a precious and limited resource that needs to be valued and protected. Flooding, urban development and unsustainable agricultural and industrial practices continue to negatively impact rivers, streams and Lake Ontario. To safeguard drinking water supply, the health of aquatic ecosystems, and to protect communities from flooding, TRCA must continue working with its municipal partners to prioritize the protection, restoration, and safe management of water resources.


2019 and 2020 progress status

Project or Program is started and on track Develop a bold work plan that includes TRCA’s Erosion and Hazard Mitigation Strategy comprising over $500 million in projects to address known erosion, flooding and required infrastructure upgrades at over 250 sites. Project or Program is started and on track Work with municipal partners to implement flood remediation, erosion monitoring, maintenance work, stormwater system retrofits, low impact developments, green infrastructure, and water quality and habitat restoration projects to realize more sustainable developments (e.g. The Port Lands, Vaughan Metropolitan Centre, Brampton Riverwalk, Markham Centre).
Project or program has an issue identified Engage with local communities to increase awareness about issues facing water resources and their importance to the health and well-being of the jurisdiction.
Project or Program is started and on track Monitor the health of the watersheds through the Regional Watershed Monitoring Program and through work with academic institutions. Project or Program is started and on track Reduce flood risks and protect communities through continuous improvements to TRCA’s flood forecasting and warning program.


Highland Creek Salmon Festival TRCA moved forward with a virtual Salmon Festival this year engaging 2,011 Facebook users, 420 Instagram and 8,079 YouTube viewers.

Source Water Protection Over 5,500 drinking water threats have been resolved to date in the Credit Valley, Toronto and Region, and Central Lake Ontario (CTC) Source Protection Region.

Stormwater Management In partnership with the City of Toronto, 2,501 m3 of sediment removed at 5 stormwater management ponds.

Erosion Risk Management Program
Erosion Risk Management staff inspected 4,678 hazard sites or erosion control structures. 2,088 m of valley and shoreline have been stabilized at 16 high priority sites.

Ecosystem and Climate Science
TRCA provided expertise over 50 separate times in the form of presentations at conferences, stakeholder groups, and other knowledge sharing events.

Floodline Mapping
Over 250 map sheets and 5 new hydraulic models were completed as part of the flood plain mapping updates for the Mimico Creek, Highland Creek, Duffins Creek, and the remainder of the Rouge and Don River watersheds.

Management of Invasive Species

966 invasive Sea Lamprey were caught and removed from 2 traps in partnership with Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The number of Sea Lamprey captured in the Humber trap in 2020 was significantly lower than previous years. This may be due to water temperatures this spring, higher lake levels or the attractiveness of other rivers for spawning Sea Lamprey. Regardless of the cause, this is good news!

112 sites were sampled through the Asian Carp Early Detection program in Frenchman’s Bay, Duffins Creek, Rouge River, and Humber River Coastal Marshes. 80 sites at the Toronto Islands were added in 2020, representing a 40% increase in sampling effort over 2019. No Asian Carp were found — this is good news! This project is being completed in partnership with Fisheries and Oceans Canada through their Aquatic Invasive Species Program.


Ashbridges Bay

TRCA, in partnership with the City of Toronto (Toronto Water), is undertaking the Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant Landform Project, which is located on the north shore of Lake Ontario, east of Tommy Thompson Park.

The purpose of the project is to protect infrastructure and to address the existing navigation risk caused by sediment accumulation at the harbour entrance of Coatsworth Cut while considering approved projects and waterfront planning initiatives in the area, manage shoreline erosion along the northeast shore of Tommy Thompson Park, and provide enhancements to aquatic habitat.

There are three distinct elements to the project:

  • 16.4 ha landform protected by an armourstone headland-cobble beach system and rip rap revetment
  • 710 m long central breakwater
  • 100 m long east breakwater

Construction began in January 2020, and crews have been working tirelessly through unfavorable weather conditions. By adopting TRCA COVID-19 field measures, crews have made great progress despite the limitations of a global pandemic in order to complete the Cell 1 and Cell 2 confinement berms. In early 2021, crews will focus on constructing the armourstone headlands that will provide protection for the outer confinement berms. Construction of the central breakwater is currently scheduled to begin in July 2021.


section separator

TRCA Strategic Goal 3 Rethink greenspace to maximize its value

The extensive ravine network and greenspace system of the Toronto region, which provides linkages through communities and nature experiences within minutes of Toronto’s downtown and Urban Growth Centres throughout the jurisdiction, is key to the region’s appeal and prosperity. Evidence from around the world increasingly demonstrates a clear connection between greenspace and the health and well-being of communities. As the population of the region continues to grow rapidly, TRCA needs to sustain, improve, expand, and program the system of protected greenspace in order to meet the needs of communities while protecting natural heritage.


2019 and 2020 progress status

project or program has an issue identified Achieve the most appropriate use of TRCA’s inventory of lands and facilities while respecting cultural heritage and environmental values. Project or Program is started and on track Update TRCA’s Terrestrial Natural Heritage System Strategy, the Regional Trail System Strategy, TRCA’s Living City Policies and their associated technical guidelines to inform reviews of projects and the timely execution of projects.
project or program has an issue identified Invest in aging infrastructure across TRCA’s Conservation Areas and public spaces in order to provide safe, accessible, and functional facilities to the public. project or program has an issue identified Advance priority greenspace and community initiatives of Toronto and Region Conservation Foundation (TRCF), member municipalities and partners on priority projects such as The Meadoway, Tommy Thompson Park, Bolton Camp Redevelopment, and Black Creek Pioneer Village revitalization.
Project or Program is started and on track Secure, restore, and where appropriate, provide more accessible greenspace as part of the technical review of proposed projects and plans.


Carruthers Creek Watershed Plan
Despite in person Public Open Houses being put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, TRCA received and responded to many comments from stakeholders on the draft Carruthers Creek Watershed Plan. Staff also delivered 3 virtual presentations to promote the findings of the plan.

Invasive Species Management Strategy
Endorsed by Board of Directors, establishing priority actions to effectively and efficiently manage invasive species. In 2020, 87 ha of land was assessed for invasive species.

Acquired Land
131.92 ha of land acquired, exceeding the 2020 target by 65%.

Rouge National Urban Park
In partnership with Parks Canada, TRCA is focusing on restoring marginal agricultural lands within the headwaters of the new Rouge National Urban Park. In the 2020/2021 federal fiscal year, TRCA will have completed 500 m of stream restoration, restored 4 ha of wetland, 0.3 ha of riparian area and achieved 0.04 ha of farm Best Management Practices.

118 encroachments identified

4619 hectares of TRCA managed property audited

Tree Planting
Planted 41,389 trees and shrubs to create 21.46 ha of new forest on privately owned land. LEARN MORE.

Trail Users
121,021 visitors were recorded at key TRCA locations across the jurisdiction, a 35% increase over 2019. 2 new trail counters were installed in 2020, which recorded 193,533 additional visitors.

Tommy Thompson Park
TRCA collected point location data for 32 terrestrial invasive species on approximately 110 ha of land, a 92% reduction in treatment area since the program began in 2013.

304,421 Units of Plant Material
Tree plantings undertaken by TRCA staff contribute to the overall forest canopy in the jurisdiction. Trees and shrubs sourced through TRCA’s nursery in Vaughan and planted by TRCA staff are broken out by municipality below:

key to tree planting diagram

103943 trees and shrubs planted in York Region

99675 trees and shrubs planted in Region of Peel

91569 trees and shrubs planted in City of Toronto

11780 trees and shrubs planted in Durham region


The Meadoway, located in Scarborough, will revitalize 16 linear kilometres of hydro corridor between the Don River Ravine and the Rouge National Urban Park, transforming it into a vibrant stretch of urban greenspace with multi-use trails and meadowlands. Accomplishments this year include: 32 ha of site prep for new meadow habitat, 30 ha of native meadow seeding, 68 ha of maintenance and adaptive management, 13 ha of existing meadow maintenance mowing, 31 ha of buffer mowing around the existing meadow, 4.62 ha of infill seeding, 68 monitoring plots, 18 bird and butterfly transects, 54 water infiltration tests, 878 native bee monitoring sample sites were completed.

National Awards
TRCA is thrilled to be this year’s recipient of the prestigious “Reach Out” Brownie Award for The Meadoway. The Canadian Urban Institute’s Brownie Award recognizes innovative rehabilitation efforts by organizations focusing on underutilized and underdeveloped spaces by remaking them into projects that contribute to healthy communities. The awards are an annual celebration of the outstanding work in remediation and redevelopment of brownfield sites across Canada.

The Canadian Society of Landscape Architects also honoured the Meadoway Project with a National Award of Excellence for planning and analysis related to the visualization toolkit.

The CSLA was impressed by the toolkit’s high-tech and sophisticated animations, augmented reality, videos and renderings which allow users to immerse themselves in the future Meadoway.

The High Line Network
The Meadoway is only the second Canadian project in the history of The High Line Network in New York to be invited to join its prestigious learning network for reimagining infrastructure.

The Meadoway logo at trail crosswalk


section separator

TRCA Strategic Goal 4 Create complete communities that integrate nature and the built environment

Complete communities support the well-being of each resident by providing a full range of housing, transportation, community infrastructure and open space opportunities. In order to create complete communities, TRCA needs to incorporate livability and sustainability into new developments, while supporting the transformation and retrofitting of existing neighbourhoods to reduce their environmental footprint and increase their resilience.


2019 and 2020 progress status

Project or Program is started and on track Assist landowners and government partners to realize complete communities and environmental best practices in new developments and existing neighborhoods. Project or Program is started and on track Work with industry, private businesses and municipal partners to integrate natural heritage, elements of the Trail Strategy for The Greater Toronto Region, and green infrastructure into the design of new communities, and the redevelopment of older communities, at the earliest stage of the planning process in order to achieve vibrant award winning public spaces and multiple community benefits.
Project or Program is started and on track Assess TRCA’s development review process with member municipalities, industry and other stakeholders to identify opportunities to facilitate more timely reviews.
Project or Program is started and on track Provide value-added advice to protect natural heritage, reduce risk from flooding and erosion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and restore habitats in the design of new communities and redeveloping areas. Project or Program is started and on track Engage with member municipalities, academic institutions, the development industry, and professional associations to deliver professional development programs, and conduct design charrettes and forums to achieve integrated sustainable community design in projects and plans.


Building Community Resilience
TRCA and its partners completed a nationally published study demonstrating how the SNAP neighbourhood model for revitalizing green infrastructure at aging apartment towers effectively delivers on pressing housing issues and strengthens community resilience on a host of socio-economic objectives. For example, at the San Romanoway tower revitalization project, every 1 hour of SNAP programming generated 19 hours of community volunteerism; 70% of residents reported feeling safer, >85% reported a positive impact on their mood, 61% confirmed they have been inspired to start a small business due to the project and 69% reported the project inspired them to fundraise for a community cause, all as a result of SNAP actions. This study was completed with funding awarded from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, under the National Housing Strategy program for the purposes of knowledge sharing across the multi-unit residential housing sector.

Partnership Development
TRCA and its partners developed the Trail Strategy: Trail and Amenity Projects Implementation Plan (2021-2025) to outline a prioritized list of capital projects to jointly implement over the next five years

Trail Strategy for the Greater Toronto Region
TRCA constructed 4.25 km of trail including 1.75 km of trails outlined in the Trail Strategy.

Trail Accessibility
7.1 km of TRCA trails in addition to 72.6 km of non-TRCA trails were assessed for accessibility using the High Efficiency Trail Assessment Process (HETAP).

Aquatic and Terrestrial Resource Science
TRCA produced 7 scientific publications on topics ranging from climate change vulnerability of the natural heritage system and the importance of green infrastructure to community well-being.

Regional Watershed Alliance
The Regional Watershed Alliance reviewed and provided input on 9 different TRCA-led or supported initiatives. The Alliance was also kept informed through 3 different reports on TRCA policy responses, and 2 reports providing updates on TRCA COVID-19 pandemic response. TRCA’s Youth Council grew to 140 general members and the Youth Council Executive held 3 online events, including a Q&A on invasive species and a movie screening on road ecology and panel discussion afterwards with the film director and TRCA staff.

Erosion and Sediment Control (ESC)
The ESC Guide for Urban Construction, released in December 2019, received TRCA Board of Directors approval in April and was officially adopted for use in the review of development applications in September. To support the roll-out of the guide, 3 new online ESC workshops were developed and delivered in the fall.

Low Impact Development (LID)
STEP developed a series of 10 LID fact sheets in support of the forthcoming LID Guide being developed for the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre in the City of Vaughan featuring the latest information on best practice for the planning and design of LID stormwater measures for intensifying communities.

Tree Planting Events
While many in person community-based restoration activities scheduled for spring and summer were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, TRCA worked with our municipal partners to develop procedures to deliver 32 safe community-based restoration events after provincial restrictions eased in August. SEE PHOTOS BELOW.

community members take part in TRCA planting event

community members take part in TRCA planting event

community members take part in TRCA planting event

community members take part in TRCA planting event

TRCA worked on 263 ecosystem and resource management
projects and programs achieving:

9.2 kilometres of riparian restoration

12.5 hectares of shoreline restoration

15.8 hectares of wetland restoration

36 hectares of meadow restoration

3.7 kilometres of stream restoration

83.4 hectares of forest and woodland restoration


section separator

TRCA Strategic Goal 5 Foster Sustainable Citizenship

To foster engagement of community members, TRCA needs to build civic capacity by providing the tools and opportunities needed for community members to transition from participants into advocates and leaders. TRCA can also facilitate a two-way dialogue with community members to ensure that local knowledge, ideas and concerns are integrated into decision-making by governments and agencies.


2019 and 2020 progress status

Project or Program is started and on track Provide increased engagement opportunities for stakeholders of all ages that build environmental, sustainability and climate awareness and promote leadership within communities including training and capacity building. Project or Program is started and on track Work with Toronto and Region Conservation Foundation (TRCF) to secure funding, community awareness and involvement around TRCA and TRCF priority projects including The Meadoway, Tommy Thompson Park, Black Creek Pioneer Village, Bolton Camp redevelopment and the Look After Where You Live program.
Project or Program is started and on track Develop a greater diversity of nature-based programs to attract a wider range of community participants in TRCA programs. Project or Program is started and on track Engage school boards and governments in discussions on how to achieve cost efficient and equitable access for students to curriculum out of class nature – science based education activities.


Education Programs
33,470 participants in education programs at Kortright Centre for Conservation, Black Creek Pioneer Village, Tommy Thompson Park, TRCA’s field centres and in-class at schools and through language learning centres.

Outdoor Adult Education
22,023 adults participated in a variety of environmentally themed courses, professional development opportunities, workshops, webinars and engaged with TRCA through educational social media posts and video content.

Professional Access Into Employment
66 newcomer participants accessed the PAIE professional training program.
82% gained employment in their field.
440% salary increase post program.
46 job search, communication, and technical skills workshops delivered to participants.

Visitor Satisfaction
99% of reviewers gave Black Creek Pioneer Village an approval rating of 4+ out of 5 on Google, TripAdvisor, and Facebook.

Volunteer Hours
432 hours of volunteer labour, combined with staff efforts in the Duffins Headwaters, contributed to trail and amenities building and maintenance along 165 kms of trails, ensuring they are kept in a state of good repair and open for use.

Ecosystem and Climate Science
22 data sets have been provided to partner municipalities to support municipal planning for natural heritage and climate change resiliency planning.

Girls Can Too Program
A total of 37 participants were engaged in both virtual lunch and learn sessions as well as at 2 in-person events.

Community Learning
53 community learning partnerships were established, hosting a total of 245 event days engaging 45,489 participants.

Newcomer Youth Green Economy Project
38 newcomer youth engaged in the NYGEP career exploration program at 23 virtual events, training workshops, field trips, and indigenous learning opportunities.

TRCA staff found creative ways to deliver education programming during the COVID-19 pandemic
TRCA staff found creative ways to deliver education programming during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Girls Can Too participants were able to engage in on-site events during the summer
Girls Can Too participants were able to engage in on-site events during the summer.
Visitors enjoy a self-guided tour of the heritage buildings at Black Creek Pioneer Village
Visitors enjoy a self-guided tour of the heritage buildings at Black Creek Pioneer Village.

Greenspace Supports Mental Health and Well-being

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, people required access to greenspace to support their physical and mental health and well-being more than ever before. While many other recreational facilities remained closed, TRCA’s Conservation Parks, trails, golf course, campgrounds and Black Creek Pioneer Village opened early and stayed open to provide opportunities for the communities we serve to get outside and play, learn, exercise, and connect while engaging with nature.

Bathurst Glen Golf Course
TRCA’s Bathurst Glen Golf Course offered visitors an opportunity to enjoy a safe, socially-distanced outdoor experience.

From March to December, the province’s framework for safe outdoor recreational activity changed regularly to reflect shifting public health direction. On each occasion, staff reacted quickly and effectively, demonstrating versatility and our commitment to ensuring that public access to greenspace continued. Facilities were permitted to safely re-open in 2020 with:

key to tourism diagram

playing at Bathurst Glen Golf Course 57000 golfers played at Bathurst Glen Golf Course in 2020

users visiting TRCA facilities 872000 users visited TRCA facilities in 2020

guests visiting Black Creek Pioneer Village 35000 guests visited Black Creek Pioneer Village in 2020


section separator

TRCA strategic goal 6 - Tell the story of the Toronto region

Equipped with a strong sense of place, community members are more likely to be champions for their communities, for their local environment, and for conservation. TRCA will help to tell the story of the region’s rich history through a range of voices and perspectives that fully represent the region’s cultural diversity and rich heritage. By engaging communities in this conversation, TRCA will remember, teach and celebrate the experiences that form individual and shared identities.


2019 and 2020 progress status

Project or Program is started and on track Develop a clear and consistent identity and corporate brand for TRCA and build TRCA’s visibility through formal and informal communication channels. project or program has not yet commenced Update TRCA’s Master Plans including our Archaeological Master Plan and Master Plans for specific Conservation Areas with new information obtained from relevant reviews and studies.
project or program has an issue identified Integrate cultural heritage broadly throughout TRCA programming with a focus on fun, learning, and personal stories including those of indigenous community members. project or program has not yet commenced Seek historic designations for TRCA’s buildings, as well as new sources of funding for their restoration, re-use, and maintenance, where applicable.
project or program has an issue identified Continue to engage the region’s diverse communities to tell their stories and recognize their contributions, and develop community events that celebrate cultural heritage. Project or program has an issue identified Focus on developing information that is accessible and engaging using a variety of mediums, including digital technology.


Online Learning
A series of Indigenous-based webinars engaging Early Childhood Educators in building relationships with the land, learning circles and respectfully utilizing song, ceremony and water in teaching and learning was launched this year engaging 239 participants at 3 webinars, achieving 440 earner hours.

Indigenous Engagement
Archaeology staff led 19 formal consultations with First Nations and Métis communities across the jurisdiction, one more than in 2019.

Asset Management
Currently, TRCA is in the process of completing 5 Building Condition Assessments (BCA) within the Albion Hills Conservation Area, Heart Lake Conservation Area, Indian Line Campground, Kortright Centre of Conservation, and Lake St. George properties. BCAs have also been commenced at 27 rental properties.

Oral History Research
TRCA continued its work as a part of a unique three-way partnership with York University and Indigenous artists to complete original archival and community-based oral history research on Indigenous peoples living in the Toronto region in the 19th century and to install a permanent exhibit at Black Creek Pioneer Village. York University was successful in its application for project funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and hosted an introductory meeting with representatives from five First Nations and TRCA.

Archaeology staff assessed 129 individual projects for archaeological potential, surveyed over 581 ha of land, identified 6 previously unknown archaeological sites, and collected 261 artifacts in their efforts to protect and preserve heritage resources on TRCA lands.

Historic Asset Management
With funding from the City of Toronto, $400,000 was invested in the preservation of heritage buildings and infrastructure at Black Creek Pioneer Village.

Interactive History Exhibit
The first interactive history exhibit designed to tell the story of the Toronto region at Black Creek Pioneer Village has earned early praise by educators within the museum field for its innovative approach to teaching and design. The exhibit’s official opening has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Archaeology staff reviewed the conditions of over 2,000 artifacts in their care and updated storage to conform to improved Collections Care Standards.

“The challenges of physical distancing have brought an increasing need to connect with nature. To our amazement we have noticed an unprecedented interest in everything heritage, especially environmental and cultural.”– Humber Heritage Committee


At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Black Creek Pioneer Village (BCPV) had to pivot from in-person learning to offering virtual educational programming. Staff developed 7 online exhibits, 10 at-home activities for families, 11 educational resources for teachers, and numerous educational videos.

Reception of these offerings was extremely positive and over the course of 2020, these online resources were visited 45,000 times.

In the fall, BCPV launched its first virtual programs: interactive curriculum-linked programs for students. Uptake was immediate and remained steady through the fall and winter. More than 500 students had their in-person learning enhanced through virtual “field trips” within the first weeks of operations.

costumed educator hosts virtual field trip via live stream from Black Creek Pioneer Village

children enjoy virtual visit with Santa Claus via live stream from Black Creek Pioneer Village

BCPV produced 9 virtual workshops for families, adults, and students over the holidays.

Lessons learned in 2020 have positioned BCPV well to expand its virtual audience and share the story of the Toronto region more broadly in 2021 and beyond.


section separator

TRCA strategic goal 7 - Build partnerships and new business models

Securing stable funding and resources to carry out TRCA’s mandate remains an ongoing priority for the organization. New opportunities for funding and collaborative arrangements are emerging, but at the same time, competition for funding and resources is increasing. The economic landscape that supports TRCA and its work is shifting, and TRCA must continually assess and respond to changes affecting funding and resources.


2019 and 2020 progress status

project or program has an issue identified Continue to diversify TRCA’s financial capacity by leveraging government funding to attract private sector funding through Toronto and Region Conservation Foundation (TRCF). Project or Program is started and on track Develop a clear and consistent identity and leadership voice for TRCA and build TRCA’s visibility through the Corporate Branding Strategy, media exposure, events, conferences and partnerships.
Project or Program is started and on track Raise the profile of TRCF, by working together to advance priority initiatives. Project or Program is started and on track Establish service rates consistent with other service providers as part of the plan for growing TRCA’s fee-for-service work.
Project or program has an issue identified Advance new business models to maintain assets and ensure efficient program delivery.


Monarch Nation
National Flight of the Monarch Day

Flight of the Monarch Day, held on August 22, 2020, was initiated to provide a vital opportunity to increase community awareness related to species at risk and engage new communities in the work of habitat restoration and enhancement, as well as raise the visibility of the Monarch Nation program and extend its reach into new areas across Canada. 18,500 people from across the country participated in the event this year.

Establishing Partnerships
TRCA finalized 93 new revenue agreements to help support mutually benefiting partner priorities across TRCA’s jurisdiction, including the Rockcliffe Riverine Flood Mitigation Municipal Class Environmental Assessment.

Maintained Rental Revenue During the COVID-19 Pandemic
TRCA was able to work with our tenants to maintain required rental revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Programs
TRCA applied to 4 funding programs and continues to pursue opportunities to mitigate revenue loss.

Flood Forecasting and Warning Workshop
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Ontario Flood Forecasting and Warning Workshop moved to a digital format and featured 5 streams showcasing 26 presenters, 5 facilitators and over 10 hours of presentations engaging 580 participants highlighting topics on flood forecasting and warning, emergency management, flow measurement and data collection.

Albion Hills Master Plan
1.3 ha of event space created at the Riverview site and 300 m of new multi-use trail was added to the existing trail network which will facilitate new partnership opportunities.

Building Sustainable Business Models
Throughout the 2020 fiscal year, TRCA’s Funding and Grants program facilitated a total of 56 submissions, with a total request value of over $13.9M.

8.2 million dollars in grant applications under review
3.2 million dollars in grant applications awarded
2.5 million dollars in grant applications declined

TRCA continues to partner with municipalities to leverage our expertise in submitting joint grant applications and implementing shared priority projects.

Social Media
TRCA has 20 active social media accounts and a direct audience of over 67,000 people, an increase of 12,000 over the previous year. TRCA gained 20,000 newsletter subscribers this year, an 18% increase over the previous year, achieving over 50,000 engagements.

Greening Local Businesses
Partners in Project Green (an eco-business collaboration with Toronto Pearson Airport) welcomed 21 new member businesses in 2020.


TRCA strengthened its relationship with the film industry by responding to their urgent need to resurrect their industry and make up for months of lost production time. TRCA’s ability to react quickly on short notice and provide safe, quality locations for their productions resulted in much needed revenue generation and enhanced relationships with film companies that will benefit TRCA in years to come. This year saw 33 filming agreements through 21 productions totaling a combined 340 days of filming at TRCA’s conservation properties.

Canadian Tire Christmas Trail at Black Creek Pioneer Village
TRCA licensed park land to the Canadian Tire Christmas Trail event organizers, introducing TRCA’s lands to a broader audience while earning revenue that supports educational and recreational use of its public sites. By providing a safe drive-thru event, the Canadian Tire Christmas Trail brought 20,000 people to Black Creek Pioneer Village over 48 days in 2020 and earned $185,000 in support of the site’s heritage operations.


section separator

TRCA strategic goal 8 - Gather and share the best sustainability knowledge

TRCA is part of a network of thought leaders striving to address a range of urban sustainability issues, including watershed management, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and ecosystem conservation. TRCA is recognized for its expertise by researchers, practitioners and community members, and is well positioned to help generate and mobilize the knowledge needed to answer urgent environmental challenges.


2019 and 2020 progress status

Project or Program is started and on track Deliver knowledge sharing events to professionals in the fields of environmental engineering, restoration ecology and climate change resilience. Project or program has an issue identified Increase collaboration with senior levels of government, academic institutions, private sector and not-for-profit stakeholders to develop leading-edge sustainability knowledge.
Project or Program is started and on track Undertake pilot collaborations with industry, academic institutions and partners to determine and demonstrate which TRCA data are most useful in supporting sustainable practices, and how best to provide access to that data to achieve more sustainable development. Project or program has an issue identified Continue to demonstrate leading-edge community energy efficiency and sustainable design practices in TRCA facilities, including at the Living City Campus at Kortright.
Project or Program is started and on track Bring together agencies, professional organizations, and academic institutions working on protection and restoration in the jurisdiction to maximize efficiencies and to ensure the best science and data is leveraged in the delivery of programs and projects.


Erosion Monitoring
Staff continued advancing the use of RPAS (Drone) equipment and captured information across 28.6 km of Lake Ontario shoreline while inspecting the conditions of TRCA’s shoreline erosion control structures.

Carruthers Creek Watershed Plan
17 submissions received on the final draft of the Carruthers Creek Watershed Plan through the online comment form; 182 submissions to Durham Region regarding protecting the headwaters of Carruthers Creek.

Aquatic and Terrestrial Ecosystem Science
Collaborated on 8 projects to integrate climate science knowledge into municipal management plans, habitat restoration planning, and natural heritage system and watershed plans.

Pickering Ajax Dyke Rehabilitation Environmental Assessment (EA)
TRCA hosted its first ever virtual Public Information Centre (PIC) for the Pickering Ajax Dyke Rehabilitation Environmental Assessment, achieving public consultation objectives of the Class EA process in compliance with the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. The PIC was hosted live online and attended by residents and stakeholders. This EA included rehabilitation options for 2 existing flood control dykes referred to as the Pickering and Ajax dykes, respectively.

STEP Online Workshops
Working in partnership with industry experts, STEP developed a library of 12 online workshops engaging 567 participants, constituting 1,959 learner hours, with topics ranging from erosion and sediment control to stormwater management and low impact development.

Ontario Climate Consortium Collaboration
8 research projects completed and knowledge shared by Ontario Climate Consortium at 25 forums including webinars, municipal stakeholder events, conferences and working groups.

Regional Watershed Monitoring Program
In spite of some reductions in environmental monitoring activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, TRCA collected more than 16 M data records this year including more than 103,000 biodiversity records. 247 new monitoring sites were sampled in 2020 to support new projects and fill data gaps for Watershed Planning activities. Data and information was presented in 41 documents including reports and technical memos to share this knowledge.


Integrated Watershed Planning and Reporting is critical in providing a scientifically sound approach to managing watersheds, and it is now required by provincial policy to inform municipal land use and infrastructure planning. Reporting on the state of watersheds and understanding how conditions may change under different future land use and climate scenarios are critical to keeping our watersheds healthy.

current conditions and projected trends for natural cover quantity within TRCA jurisdiction

Despite its challenges, 2020 was a very productive year for advancing TRCA’s watershed planning and reporting products, including:

  • Public release of the Draft Carruthers Creek Watershed Plan that will help inform growth planning in Durham Region and creates a framework for watershed management across Ontario;
  • Completion and Board of Directors approval of the Highland Creek Watershed Greening Strategy that will help to guide TRCA and City of Toronto greening projects in the watershed;
  • Initiation of the Etobicoke Creek Watershed Plan, which will align with and complement the growth planning exercises currently underway in Peel Region and the City of Toronto;
  • Collection of additional data to fill gaps and support Etobicoke Creek and Humber River watershed planning; and
  • Completion of the draft Watersheds and Ecosystems Reporting Web Application, which will interactively communicate the state of watershed and ecosystem conditions to partners and stakeholders.


section separator

TRCA strategic goal 9 - Measure performance

Measuring Performance at TRCA and in the jurisdiction helps the organization understand what it is doing well and what still needs to be done in order to achieve its goals. TRCA must use what it learns from progress measurement to adjust its policies and priorities, achieve its mandate, improve programs and projects, and reallocate resources to where they will deliver the greatest impact for its stakeholders.


2019 and 2020 progress status

Project or program had an issue identified in 2019 but is now on track Invest in digital technologies which will allow the organization to better measure and communicate TRCA’s value proposition. Project or Program is started and on track Produce updated Watershed and Living City Report Cards on a regular basis and support community-led reporting to ensure stakeholders and community members understand the environmental health of TRCA watersheds.
project or program has an issue identified Improve and enhance the Centralized Planning and Reporting (CPR) database by developing consistent reporting measures including key performance indicators and targets to measure progress towards strategic outcomes and to report on the impact of TRCA work. Project or Program is started and on track Work with industry, government, academic institutions and partners to highlight successful and innovative projects in journals and publications.


Municipal Collaboration
TRCA, in support of its partners, participated in over 50 consultation sessions regarding the Municipal Comprehensive Review Official Plan amendment process.

Annual Audit
TRCA 2019 audited financial statements were issued with a clean auditor’s report.

Regulated Area Mapping
31% of all Planning and Development webpage views engaged the Regulated Area Search tool to determine if a property is located within TRCA’s Regulated Area. This tool allowed users to utilize new, more accurate regulatory area screening mapping, which was developed with extensive stakeholder input.

TRCA Regulated Area Search tool
TRCA’s Regulated Area Search tool

Environmental Assessments (EAs)
TRCA reviewed 49 EAs in 2020, a 20% decrease over 2019 and issued 420 permits for projects approved through the EA process, resulting in no change over 2019.

Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT)
TRCA was involved in 55 LPAT cases. 29 appeals were settled by the end of the year, reducing the caseload from 55 to 26.

Watershed Reporting
Completed a draft of the Watersheds and Ecosystems Reporting Web Application to communicate watershed conditions with partners and stakeholders. Anticipated launch is scheduled for Earth Day, April 22, 2021.

Planning and Permit Applications
1,008 permits were issued of the 1,230 permit applications submitted to TRCA in 2020. TRCA reviewed and commented on 891 planning and concept applications.

Online Planning and Development
137,811 visits to the Planning and Development webpage, a 15% increase over the previous year.

Freedom of Information
TRCA staff completed 40 Freedom of Information Requests, of which 92.5% of the requests were completed within legislated timelines. Those that were delayed were due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

Environmental Assessment and Permit Service Standards
The service level standards (2-6 weeks) for EA and permit reviews, were met 86% of the time, encompassing over 77,359 hours of planning and technical staff time.

Enforcement and Compliance
Conducted 3,866 permit inspections and issued 169 violations on 132 properties. Received 503 complaints, resolved 66 violations and conducted 900 inspections relating to violations and complaints.

Flood Plain Data
94% of flood plain data (1,234 km) currently meets the service delivery standard of ensuring that data is no more than 10 years old, which is an improvement over the 62% achieved in 2019.

As of September, over 83% of permits were processed and issued within Conservation Ontario’s new service delivery guidelines, and 98% under their former guidelines. In order to retain service delivery, Infrastructure Planning & Permits and Development Planning & Permits transitioned to 100% digital permit application, review and issuance by July 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

27 properties inventoried and assessed for trail hazards

Peel Climate Change Performance Indicators
TRCA engaged over 50 subject matter experts from the Region of Peel and Credit Valley Conservation on the Peel Climate Change Key Performance Indicator project. This project will develop performance measures to track, monitor, and report on the impacts and effectiveness of projects that receive Region of Peel climate change funding. 8 logic models have been developed and 17 KPIs are drafted for current and future use.


section separator

TRCA Strategic Goal 10 - Accelerate Innovation

To address the urgent and complex growth and sustainability challenges of the region, TRCA must accelerate the pace of innovation. TRCA must purposefully create the conditions for innovation and continuous improvement and share these innovations with its member municipalities throughout the region to advance shared objectives in sustainability.


2019 and 2020 progress status

Project or Program is started and on track Open TRCA’s head office by 2022, which will demonstrate innovative green building practices. Project or Program is started and on track Seek input from TRCA staff and support their efforts to develop innovations that improve program delivery.
Project or Program is started and on track Expand TRCA’s fee-for-service consulting work to help address member municipality and partner objectives in a financially sustainable way. Project or program had an issue identified in 2019 but is now on track Conduct a staff survey on a regular basis to highlight progress on staff related initiatives and to determine opportunities for continuous improvement.
Project or Program is started and on track Develop user-friendly planning tools that identify how flood risks can be reduced and how ecosystems can be protected and restored, recognizing urban growth and climate change. Project or program had an issue identified in 2019 but is now on track Work closely with member municipalities, academic institutions and private industry to monitor, evaluate, and pilot new innovative technologies in TRCA’s work.
Project or Program is started and on track Continue to host knowledge sharing events such as the TRCA and International Erosion Control Association (TRIECA) Conference.


Administrative Office Building
TRCA participated in the BBC StoryWorks Series, Building a Better Future, a series exploring the profound effect buildings have on the quality of people’s lives and the role the green buildings movement can play in tackling the climate emergency.

TRCA’s administration building project continues to meet the highest standards in sustainability and design:

  • LEED Platinum
  • WELL Silver
  • Zero Carbon Certification
  • Toronto Green Standards Tier 2

Greening our Buildings
The Sustainable Technologies Evaluation Program, in partnership with the Partners in Project Green, Kortright, Corporate Sustainability and Community Transformation teams, were successful recipients of a Natural Resources Canada grant to support the recommissioning of the Kortright Visitor Centre. Recommissioning will result in enhancement of the building’s energy efficiency through low or no cost measures, improved equipment longevity and greater occupant comfort.

Flood Plain Mapping Update
Leveraging funding from the 4th and 5th intakes of the National Disaster Mitigation Program, a myriad of key flood mitigation and mapping projects were completed in 2020, supporting TRCA’s mandate in the critical area of flood risk management.

Migrated 15 servers to Microsoft Azure to support corporate sustainability and new Head Office preparations. Replaced legacy phone systems at 2 offices to assist with modernization.
5,000 daily work reports entered digitally instead of on paper.
1,500 unique users visiting new trcagauging.ca website, totaling 24,000 page views.

Material Diversion
TRCA’s Project Management Office worked in partnership with the Corporate Sustainability program to achieve an overall diversion rate of 85% on 3 construction and demolition pilot projects.

Erosion Management Diversified Funding
TRCA secured enhanced funding from the Region of York to undertake more minor and proactive works given the program has remediated all the critical priority sites currently known.

TRCA and International Erosion Control Association (TRIECA) Conference
The 2020 edition of TRIECA was successfully transitioned online to a series of 31 webinars offered from April to December, with 3,750 participants attending and 2,900 learner hours delivered.


In 2020, the Education and Training team responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by transitioning 713 events into virtual learning and programming models. These virtual events, programs and resources reached 122,604 individuals. In order to meet the needs of its diverse community, a variety of virtual tools and engagement strategies were implemented.

TRCA education team members conduct a virtual learning webinar

In the spring of 2020, Provincial regulations and public health guidelines allowed for the development of safety protocols including use of masks, social distancing, reduced group sizes, contact tracing and screening of staff and participants to allow for safe in-person events. During this time, the Education Team engaged with 27,462 residents to offer 459 safe in-person events and programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, TRCA was well positioned to offer all of these programs entirely outdoors either on TRCA property or on properties of municipal partners. In-person programming allowed TRCA to continue to work with the community on impactful initiatives such as providing 16,665 meals to individuals in vulnerable communities, tree and shrub plantings and safe outdoor schooling and family events. The Education and Training team has also advanced innovative strategies to keep residents engaged including drive-through plant pick up and engagement events and balcony gardening kit distribution.


section separator

TRCA Strategic Goal 11 - Invest in Our Staff

TRCA employees build and deliver programs, provide service to clients and the public, and respond to the challenges and opportunities that allow TRCA to achieve its mandate. TRCA needs knowledgeable, talented, and motivated staff equipped with tools to undertake complex work efficiently and effectively. With talented workers being increasingly discerning, it is more important than ever for TRCA to invest in hiring, developing, supporting, and retaining high performing staff.


2019 and 2020 progress status

Project or Program is started and on track Prepare new policies, procedures, standards and guidelines for how TRCA employees interact with the organization and customers. Project or Program is started and on track Strengthen HR and Corporate Services teams to ensure necessary training for staff and to better support employee performance and wellness.
Project or Program is started and on track Introduce streamlined methods for communicating the organization’s key successes and areas for improvement, both internally and for stakeholders. Project or Program is started and on track Encourage interdisciplinary and interdepartmental teams on projects and plans.
Project or Program is started and on track Implement a Human Resources Information System (HRIS) to streamline human resources and payroll services. Project or program had an issue identified in 2019 but is now on track Create a TRCA Succession Plan that identifies future leaders and ensures business continuity.


Employee Engagement
Developed and implemented TRCA’s Employee Engagement Roadmap which built on employee suggestions on how to improve our work environment that were received through the Employee Engagement Survey. The employee response rate to the initial survey was 84%, a 33% increase from the last survey.

Health & Safety
TRCA’s Human Resources team created, updated and received approval for 31 foundation and core human resources and health and safety policies. A number of these policies also included the development of enabling programs.

Corporate Policy Updates
74 new and updated policies and guidelines were approved and went into effect with others being advanced by the interdepartmental Policy Committee.

Succession Planning
TRCA’s Human Resources took an integrated, evidence based, and inclusive approach to the development of a value-driven succession development program which was approved by the Board of Directors this year. The program has an established continuous review cycle designed to monitor, evaluate and calibrate the program to ensure the program is meeting TRCA’s organizational needs.

Years of Service Awards
TRCA held its second annual Staff Service Recognition Awards with a virtual ceremony in September. Chair Innis along with members of the Senior Leadership Team provided remarks and recognized 82 staff for reaching these important years of service milestones.

TRCA 2020 Staff Service Recognition awards
TRCA’s second annual Staff Service Recognition awards ceremony: September 18, 2020.


TRCA team member observes COVID-19 protocols while conducting field work
TRCA team members observe COVID-19 protocols while conducting https://lastpass.com/generatepassword.phpfield work

The COVID-19 pandemic has had major impacts on TRCA staff, stakeholders, vendors, customers, volunteers and user groups. TRCA launched a COVID-19 Recovery Playbook which has laid the foundation for TRCA’s staged recovery and allowed the organization to take an agile approach to the ever-changing legislative and public health guidelines and recommendations. The Playbook provides a mechanism that allows for TRCA to adapt to the fluid changes of the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring the health and safety of all of the organization’s employees. This in turn has ensured business continuity for all of our partners, customers, and external stakeholders. To adapt to the pandemic TRCA:

  • Implemented and is continually refining the COVID-19 pandemic policies and procedures in addition to a Pandemic Flu and Infectious Illness Policy, the COVID-19 Recovery Playbook and Business Continuity Plans;
  • Launched a staff redeployment program to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on staff;
  • Developed and executed Pandemic Incident Management System (IMS) Field Procedure protocol for all field staff to follow while the IMS for the COVID-19 pandemic is active to protect worker health and safety while delivering essential services on behalf of our municipal partners; and
  • Pivoted to a remote working environment.

These actions have enabled TRCA to maintain its commitment to long-term data collection in support of watershed planning and reporting, and to support the uninterrupted planning, permitting and implementation of many capital infrastructure projects for TRCA and our partners. In this respect, TRCA has been one of the few agencies in the Greater Toronto Area (including Provincial and Federal) that have been able to maintain environmental monitoring activities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, Flood Infrastructure and Hydrometrics was able to maintain 100% business activities in order to ensure TRCA’s continued flood protection and warning services.


section separator

TRCA strategic goal 12 - Facilitate a region-wide approach to sustainability

Around the world, urban regions are becoming connected across their constituent municipal boundaries to tackle pressing sustainability challenges, including greenhouse emissions reduction, climate resilience, transit and transportation, food security, waste management and watershed conservation. TRCA plays an important coordination role on matters that cross municipal boundaries. To achieve shared goals of a green, sustainable, prosperous region, TRCA must build on its history of bringing stakeholders together from across watersheds in the jurisdiction to ensure regional-scale cross boundary collaboration on today’s challenges.


2019 and 2020 progress status

Project or program had an issue identified in 2019 but is now on track Develop Master Service Agreements and Fee-For-Service Arrangements with member municipalities to help achieve their sustainability objectives. Project or Program is started and on track Ensure that updated TRCA plans and strategies are leveraged in amendments to municipal official plans and in provincial and regional infrastructure initiatives.
Project or program had an issue identified in 2019 but is now on track Publish the Living City Report Card and Watershed Report Cards to provide clear indicators of environmental health within the jurisdiction. Project or Program is started and on track Expand the Partners and Project Green Eco-Zone program to include emerging employment areas in the jurisdiction subject to partner funding.


Conservation Authorities Act Amendments
With the release of proposed changes to the Conservation Authorities Act and Planning Act under Bill 229, Policy Planning staff worked to research these proposals, summarize their implications, and draft recommendations for the CEO and Chair’s office for reporting to the Board of Directors and for submission and presentation to the government through the Ontario Legislative process.

Water Resource System
TRCA staff continue to collaborate with our municipal partners and other conservation authorities to develop and refine Water Resource System mapping data layers such as wetlands and streams and other groundwater and surface water features and areas to support Municipal Comprehensive Reviews.

Emergency Hazard Sites
34 emergency hazard sites were reported to TRCA’s partner municipalities to inform budgetary and future workplans.

Flood Protection Funding
On October 30, 2020, the Government of Canada announced a commitment of $19 M alongside the City of Toronto which is also contributing $28.5 M to the Jane Street Crossing Project. This project is a critical component of a multi-year flood mitigation strategy for Toronto’s Rockcliffe-Smythe neighbourhood.

Additionally, TRCA completed the Environmental Assessment and assisted the City of Brampton in their successful application to the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund for the Downtown Brampton Flood Protection Project which secured up to $38.8 M in federal funding.

Partners in Project Green
Green Economy Webinar Series and People Power Challenge hosted 12 events with 1,638 participants achieving 1,638 learner hours. Energy Leaders Consortium and Small and Medium Enterprise Consortium hosted 24 events with 460 participants achieving 460 learner hours.

Climate Dataset
New future climate projections have been established using a novel and scientifically robust approach developed by the Ontario Climate Consortium. Projections initially developed for the Region of Durham are now being expanded for use in the Watersheds and Ecosystems Reporting Web Application and future watershed planning, including the Etobicoke Creek Watershed Plan currently underway.

Technical Advice
Through 88 consultations, TRCA staff provided technical advice on Municipal Comprehensive Reviews.

Official Plans
2020 was another busy year supporting our partner municipalities through 9 Official Plan reviews, a 29% increase over last year.

(Jim Tovey Lakeview Conservation Area)

Through a long-term partnership with Credit Valley Conservation (CVC), the Region of Peel (RoP) and the City of Mississauga, TRCA is supporting its partners in their aim to restore and re-create natural coastal habitats, encourage public use of the waterfront, and facilitate sustainable city building through this important project. Together this year we:

  • Completed construction of 200 linear metres of Applewood channel including connection to the existing Applewood Creek;
  • Completed construction of Applewood wetland creating an additional 1.5 ha of habitat compensation;
  • Completed topsoil and seeding of Cells 3a and 4a including planting of 9,631 trees and shrubs by CVC crews;
  • Imported and placed a total of 823 truckloads of concrete and brick/block rubble or approximately 6,584 m3 for maintenance of the existing access road, interim shoreline protection and filling of the south offshore island;
  • Imported and placed a total of 44,055 m3 and 224,650 m3 of fill material from private sources and RoP projects, respectively; and
  • Haulage and placement of rubble core for the south offshore island in preparation for final armouring in 2021.

work on shoreline reventment underway as part of Lakeview Waterfront Connection project


section separator



TRCA team member monitoring stream water levels in early spring

Since March 2020, TRCA has worked diligently to respond to Provincial announcements and direction related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 provincially declared emergency resulted in closures of TRCA facilities as well as the cancellation of TRCA events and regularly scheduled programming in the first half of the year. Continued restrictions have dramatically impacted TRCA’s business models and associated revenues. Across TRCA’s vast service offerings, adjustments have been made to conventional operations — everything from sanitary protocols, health and safety protocols, social distancing protocols and fee adjustments — to allow for the gradual re-opening in accordance with the Recovery Playbook and government direction. TRCA expects to continue to follow provincial and municipal guidelines for public health and safe re-opening procedures into 2021.

Additionally, the release of the Conservation Authorities Act (CA Act) and Planning Act amendments regulations in November 2020 have necessitated a shift in TRCA’s funding models. TRCA will continue to work with the Province to influence the proposed pending regulations and with partner municipalities throughout 2021 to implement the required changes for the 2022 fiscal year. As part of this effort, Memorandums of Understanding, Service Level Agreements and Fee-for-Service Agreements with member municipalities will be updated and developed to help achieve shared sustainability objectives. Subject to partner support, TRCA will continue to invest in aging infrastructure across TRCA’s Conservation Areas and public spaces in order to provide safe, accessible, and functional facilities to the public. Additionally, the funding and grants program will continue to seek out new revenue streams that will alleviate reliance on TRCA’s levy and partner municipality capital budgets so that funds can be directed to the areas of greatest need.


aerial view of erosion on the Scarborough Bluffs

TRCA has been a value-added collaborator throughout the three-year Provincial consultation process regarding the modernization of the CA Act. As a technical advisor to the Province, TRCA staff worked diligently throughout November 2020 following release of the proposed changes to the CA Act to articulate our substantial concerns about the impacts that amendments in Schedule 6 will have regarding conservation authorities’ roles in permitting, planning and enforcement. We were successful in making some changes to allow us to fulfill out core mandate of watershed protection.

In 2021, the Province is consulting on regulations to enact recent amendments to the CA Act. TRCA is engaged in this process, providing input through representation on the CA Act Working Group and reporting to the Board of Directors and municipal partners. This work includes an update to our permitting regulation and our planning and development processes as the new regulations are enacted; until such time current processes remain in effect.


TRCA flood infrastructure

Reducing the risk and potential for costly flooding, pollution, and erosion damage remains a primary TRCA objective. TRCA will continue to support efforts by partners and senior levels of government to respond to increasing risks by helping to build infrastructure that is more resilient to flood and erosion hazards, providing expertise in predicting the effects on watersheds and communities, and connecting stakeholders with the knowledge and technologies that they require. TRCA’s inventory of flood infrastructure is aging, and in some cases, has exceeded its expected functional life. TRCA is monitoring these structures and performing capital improvements as they become necessary. TRCA has made significant progress in upgrading the condition of its flood infrastructure over the past 15 years, however, some mitigation projects are very large in scope and will require substantial funding. Through engagement with local communities, TRCA will increase awareness of the issues facing water resources and the health and well-being of the jurisdiction.

Looking forward, TRCA aims to achieve the most appropriate use of TRCA’s inventory of lands and facilities while respecting cultural heritage and environmental values, in addition to fostering sustainable citizenship through the celebration of our diverse communities and shared collective history. Priority greenspace and community initiatives of Toronto and Region Conservation Foundation, our member municipalities, and partners, such as The Meadoway, Tommy Thompson Park, Bolton Camp, and Black Creek Pioneer Village remains a focus. In 2021, TRCA will work to update Master Plans for specific Conservation Areas with new information obtained from relevant reviews and studies recognizing municipal or community efforts to seek historic designations for TRCA’s buildings, as well as new sources of funding for their restoration, re-use and maintenance, where applicable.


community member uses smartphone app to explore The Meadoway virtually

With environmental and public health challenges there is increasing recognition of the need for regional-scale coordination to protect and manage our natural resources. Greater responsibility is also being placed on government agencies to consult and engage more effectively. Measuring our impact with a series of key performance indicators relevant to our work will give the ability to align TRCA initiatives to our partner municipalities’ priorities. Regular measurement will provide funding justifications and greater rationale for our work across the jurisdiction. Our future focus is on developing partnerships that will support shared priorities, evaluate, and pilot new innovative technologies.

Investment in digital technologies will enhance the measurement and communication of TRCA’s value proposition. TRCA will continue to demonstrate leading-edge community energy efficiency and sustainable design practices in TRCA facilities and seize opportunities for integrating more sustainable technologies and sustainable development certifications in our design and construction reviews and work. Using our strength as a convener, and a delivery agent for infrastructure, restoration and monitoring work in sensitive environments, TRCA will increase coordination and the efficient delivery of services across its growing network of organizations, academic institutions, and governments throughout the jurisdiction.


section separator

TRCA Board of Directors



Don Sinclair
Don Sinclair


Kevin Ashe
Kevin Ashe
Joanne Dies
Joanne Dies
Gord Highet
Gord Highet


Dipika Damerla
Dipika Damerla
Chris Fonseca
Chris Fonseca
Jennifer Innis
Jennifer Innis (Chair)
Michael Palleschi
Michael Palleschi
Rowena Santos
Rowena Santos


Paul Ainslie
Paul Ainslie
Shelley Carroll
Shelley Carroll
Ronald Chopowick
Ronald Chopowick
Jennifer Drake
Jennifer Drake
Paula Fletcher
Paula Fletcher
Xiao Han
Xiao Han
Maria Kelleher
Maria Kelleher
Cynthia Lai
Cynthia Lai
Mike Layton
Mike Layton
Basudeb Mukherjee
Basudeb Mukherjee
James Pasternak
James Pasternak
Anthony Perruzza
Anthony Perruzza
Connie Tang
Connie Tang
Estair Van Wagner
Estair Van Wagner


David Barrow
David Barrow
Jack Heath
Jack Heath (Vice Chair)
Linda Jackson
Linda Jackson
Steve Pellegrini
Steve Pellegrini
Gino Rosati
Gino Rosati


Advisory Boards

The Outdoor Education Task Force (OETF) is an advisory board to TRCA’s Board of Directors established on July 20, 2018 with an eighteen (18) month mandate to study, develop, and recommend strategic future directions related to out-of-classroom learning related to natural science, conservation and the environment in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), specifically including Peel, York and Durham Regions and the City of Toronto.

The OETF is comprised of Trustees appointed from area school boards and members of TRCA’s Board of Directors, including:

  • Trustee Morgan Ste. Marie, Durham Catholic District School Board
  • Trustee Cynthia Cordova, York Region District School Board
  • Trustee Jennifer Wigston, York Catholic District School Board
  • Trustee Will Davies, Peel District School Board
  • Trustee Frank Di Cosola, Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board
  • Trustee Anu Sriskandarajah, Toronto District School Board
  • Trustee Garry Tanuan, Toronto Catholic District School Board
  • Chair Melinda Chartrand, Conseil scolaire catholique
  • Councillor Rowena Santos, TRCA Board of Directors
  • Basudeb Mukherjee, TRCA Board of Directors

In 2020 the OETF conducted three (3) workshops facilitated by I-THINK focused on specific areas of strategic priority and provided an opportunity for OETF members to discuss emerging trends, data, student and school needs as well as overall opportunities for the out-of-classroom learning system. The insight collected from the facilitated workshops has been compiled into a final Vision Statement and Strategic Recommendations report, expected to be brought to the Board of Directors in early 2021. The report provides a framework and a set of recommendations on the future provision of out-of-classroom learning related to natural science, conservation and the environment and strengthening of partnerships and collaboration between school boards and public sector agencies that maximize the use and value of public assets and infrastructure.


Partners in Project Green was launched in 2008 by Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), with support from the Regional Municipalities of Peel and York, the City of Toronto and from the nearby business community to transform the employment lands surrounding Toronto Pearson, and located within TRCA’s Etobicoke-Mimico Creeks Watershed into an internationally recognized community of eco-friendly businesses.

The creation of Partners in Project Green (PPG) stemmed from an eco-business model recommendation identified in a 2006 joint TRCA and GTAA report that provided restoration strategies for the natural and aquatic systems surrounding Toronto Pearson. PPG’s mandate has expanded since 2006 to include the provision of numerous services to the partnership members. PPG’s 2019-2023 Strategic Refresh identifies the four primary performance areas of the partnership: Communications & Engagement; Waste Management; Energy Performance & Low Carbon Transportation, and Water Stewardship.

In 2020 the PPG EMC continued to provide oversight, guidance and industry expertise into the work of PPG convening three (3) times for the purposes of reviewing strategic priorities of the PPG program, providing input on proposed outreach and programmatic offerings for business members, and evolving governance of the PPG EMC. To this end, in an effort to improve overall governance and program oversight, at the November 17, 2020 meeting, the PPG EMC endorsed the adaptation of the PPG EMC agenda format to include “Governance Activities” and “Leadership Activities” to provide for more timely PPG EMC input on developing market changes, programming updates, and other matters.

Additionally, as part of a continued and ongoing commitment to improved diversity in decision-making related to TRCA programs and services, the PPG EMC approved the inclusion of an Advisory Member on the PPG EMC from TRCA’s PAIE (Professional Access into Employment for new Canadians) or Newcomer Youth Green Economy programs. In addition to creating opportunities for improved diversity on the PPG EMC, this will also serve as a development opportunity and provide for industry exposure for new Canadian appointees to the EMC that are participating in one of TRCA’s newcomer services programs.

In 2020 PPG EMC membership included voting and non-voting representatives from TRCA, GTAA, business community leaders and municipal leaders. The following individuals were PPG EMC members during 2020:

  • John Coyne (Co-Chair)
  • Todd Ernst (Co-Chair)
  • Brad Chittick
  • Erica Brabon
  • Michelle Brown
  • Scott Hendershot
  • Councillor Jim Karygiannis
  • Maxx Kochar
  • Tim Faveri
  • John MacKenzie
  • Regional Councillor Paul Vicente
  • Regional Councillor Chris Fonseca
  • Regional Councillor Jack Heath
  • Councillor Doug Whillans
  • Teresa Schoonings
  • Learie Miller
  • Scott Pegg


The Regional Watershed Alliance (RWA) is a multi-stakeholder advisory committee to TRCA’s Board of Directors established in 2017.

The RWA membership consists of various TRCA partners and stakeholders including municipalities, the Federal government, non-governmental organizations, TRCA Board of Director members, and watershed resident members. The RWA provides input on TRCA-led and -supported initiatives and helps to share TRCA initiatives and issues of note widely across varied audiences. The RWA also oversee TRCA’s Youth Council, which is composed of ten Executive members that drive the Youth Council’s direction and organize events, in addition to a General Membership of over 140 youth.

In 2020 the Regional Watershed Alliance has provided feedback on multiple TRCA projects and initiatives, such as the Watershed and Ecosystems Reporting Hub. This tool, which will provide partners with regularly updated watershed-specific data on relevant themes such as water quality, natural heritage and climate change and is to be released in 2021, has been improved through RWA input on making it more user-friendly, the types of data that users may want to see, and how audiences may want to utilize the data on their own.

While the TRCA Youth Council was required to pivot their original event plans due to COVID-19, they successfully adapted and held four different virtual events and initiatives that included a webinar on invasive species management, an online panel discussion on diversity and barriers to inclusion in outdoor spaces and the conservation field, as well as two separate online documentary screenings and associated panel discussions.

In 2020 RWA membership included:

  • Alireza Anvari
  • Suzanne Barrett
  • Margaret Bream
  • Heather Broadbent
  • Neil Burnett
  • Elizabeth Calvin
  • Michelle Craig
  • Councillor Stephen Dasko
  • Leticia Deauwo
  • Regional Councillor Joanne Dies
  • Jennifer Drake
  • David Dyce
  • Rui Felix
  • Orlando Gomez
  • Regional Councillor Annette Groves
  • Jacqueline Hamilton
  • Regional Councillor Jack Heath
  • Tony Iacobelli
  • Regional Councillor Jennifer Innis
  • Rosemary Keenan
  • Maria Kelleher
  • Jill Kelly
  • David Laing
  • Karen Lockridge
  • Lisette Mallet
  • Mick Malowany
  • Mike Mattos
  • Sean McCullough
  • Madeleine McDowell
  • Chris McGlynn
  • Learie Miller
  • Amory Ngan
  • Joanne Nonnekes
  • Kevin O’Connor
  • Sara Olivieri
  • Regional Councillor David Pickles
  • Michael Presutti
  • Cameron Richardson
  • Deb Schulte
  • Carolyn Scrotchmeyer
  • Doug Wright
  • Andrew Vrana
  • Andy Wickens



section separator

TRCA Senior Leadership Team 2020

John MacKenzie
Michael Tolensky Anil Wijesooriya Richard Ubbens Darryl Gray Sameer Dhalla Laurie Nelson Natalie Blake


The quality of life on Earth is being determined in rapidly expanding city regions. Our vision is for a new kind of community — The Living City — where human settlement can flourish forever as part of nature’s beauty and diversity.


To protect, conserve and restore natural resources and develop resilient communities through education, the application of science, community engagement, service excellence and collaboration with our partners.



We are honest, ethical, and professional.


We achieve shared goals through a solution-oriented approach.


We are responsible for our actions, behaviours and results.


We are equitable, fair and respectful while recognizing individual contributions and diversity.


We maintain a high standard of performance and customer service, consistently striving to improve and produce quality work.



Toronto and Region Conservation Foundation

Toronto and Region Conservation Foundation raises funds for projects that protect and restore nature, preserve cultural heritage, and strengthen communities in the Toronto region. Your donation will support our dream of making the Toronto Region the most livable city in the world.