PRESS RELEASE: Community Groups Call For City To Ban Fossil Fuel Ads at Local Facilities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OTTAWA/Unceded and unsurrendered Algonquin Anishinaabe territory - A group of fifteen community organizations are calling on the city’s Finance and Corporate Services Committee to consider a ban on advertisements and sponsorship from the fossil fuel industry. The Committee will be reviewing the city’s Corporate Sponsorship and Advertising Policy for the first time in almost 20 years at their monthly meeting next Tuesday.

The group sent out a letter today to the Mayor and members of the Committee outlining the need for this change, quoting the current policy, saying that it is necessary that “all sponsorships and advertising shall be consistent with the City of Ottawa’s vision, mission and values and will not compromise or contradict any by-law or policy of the city, or reflect negatively on the city’s public image.”

The groups argue that the current policy is inconsistent with initiatives and decisions that current and former councils have already approved such as: the declaration of a climate emergency in 2019, the city’s Energy Evolution Plan which commits Ottawa to phasing out fossil fuel combustion by 2050 and the city’s recent signing of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2022 which aims to accelerate a transition to renewable energy, end the expansion of oil, gas, and coal, and wind down existing fossil-fuel production.

“Twenty years ago, the City of Ottawa banned advertising and sponsorship from the tobacco industry because of the public health harms it perpetuated. Now we are asking the city to do the same by using everything in its toolbox to mitigate the health impacts of pollution and fossil fuelled climate change,” said Eugenie Waters, Family Physician at Your Health / Votre Santé clinic in Vanier, General Practitioner in Oncology at The Ottawa Hospital, and Lecturer in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Medicine. “Just like tobacco ads, allowing fossil-fuel advertising in city facilities contradicts the city’s key policy initiatives and public-health commitments.”

With shorter winters and the higher presence of extreme weather events like frequent tornadoes, flooding, the 2022 derecho and high levels of pollution from wildfire smoke there is no argument that Ottawans are feeling the effects of the climate crisis. Activities central to Ottawa’s identity and tourism sector have also been impacted, such as Winterlude and the Rideau Canal Skateway.

With fossil fuel ads only bringing in less than $30,000 in revenue for the city, according to Ottawa city staff, the groups claim that the benefits of banning fossil fuel ads far outweigh the costs.

“The projected lost revenue from climate change outweighs lost revenues from fossil fuel advertising by orders of magnitude.” said Letitia Charbonneau of Seniors for Climate Action Now- Ottawa. “A future of climate disasters will cost our city untold millions in infrastructure, insurance, and health costs, beyond the loss of homes, lives, and livelihoods.”

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For Media Inquiries:

Sam Hersh
613-663-7018
[email protected]

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