The Fraser Basin Council has worked collaboratively on a variety of BC-wide climate change and air quality initiatives. Here's a look at some of our past projects.
The BC Regional Adaptation Collaborative (BC RAC), hosted by the Fraser Basin Council, was one of several provincial collaborations under a national program of Natural Resources Canada. The program helped strengthen regional capacity, climate adaptation planning and implementation within First Nations, local governments, public sector organizations and professional and industry associations in British Columbia.
There were three phases of BC RAC. Phase 1 (2009-2012) focused on developing tools and resources to help leaders plan for climate change adaptation, with emphasis on securing water resources and minimizing water-related risks. Phase 2 (2012-2015) helped support BC’s natural resource sectors to identify risks, common issues of concern, adaptation options and opportunities to collaborate. From 2016-2023 the program focused on communities, including those in the northern and central regions of BC, via workshops and support to access tools, resources, and funding opportunities.
BC RAC was a partnership between the Fraser Basin Council and the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy – Climate Action Secretariat, with funding from Natural Resources Canada.
The Fraser Basin Council was proud to host Adaptation Canada 2020, Canada’s national conference on climate change adaptation. The conference built on the success of the 2016 conference in Ottawa.
Adaptation Canada 2020 rolled out from February 19-21 (just ahead of COVID-19 restrictions), three intensive days of learning, plus ample opportunities for networking and socializing. It welcomed over 700 participants who came together in Vancouver, on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish First Nations.
The conference featured 60 panels & workshops across eight tracks:
Co-Chairs Colin Hansen and Colleen Jacob thank everyone who attended from across the country, including inspirational keynote speakers, Per Espen Stokes and Sheila Watt-Cloutier, and more than 170 other presenters, together with the attending Elders, special guests, staff, volunteers and youth observers/rapporteurs. Truly a shared success!
In 2019 the Fraser Basin Council invited Indigenous youth who live in BC to to participate in an art contest with the opportunity for those with winning proposals to create visual stories about their perspectives on BC’s changing climate.
Thanks to everyone who applied to the Indigenous Youth Climate Art Contest. There were many impressive applications that were very well-received — so kudos and appreciation all round. The winning art pieces were created by five youth artists and subsequently featured in the 2022 BC Chapter of the Regional Assessment (Canada’s 2020 national assessment report on climate change: Canada in a Changing Climate). The artists also attended FBC's Adaptation Canada 2020 conference where they displayed their original art.
The Community Energy Leadership Program (CELP) began in 2015 to help local government and First Nations invest in energy efficiency and clean energy projects. FBC provided administrative support for the program, which is part of the Province’s CleanBC plan to support clean and renewable energy for transportation, home heating and industrial applications — setting out a path to a cleaner, brighter future.
A range of innovative community projects were funded. For a synopsis, see Community Energy Leadership (CELP) on the Province of British Columbia website. The most recent round of funding was in 2019 (with approved projects announced in 2020). No new funding rounds are scheduled at present.
Launched by the Fraser Basin Council (FBC) in British Columbia in 2006, E3 Fleet is a unique, made-in-Canada program that helps public and private sector fleets of vehicles achieve excellence in green performance.
E3 Fleet members gain access to helpful information, tools and resources, and two unique services:
E3 stands for Energy, Environment, and Excellence − and that is the core focus of the program. The intent is to green up Canada’s fleets by helping managers tackle the tough issues − how to reduce operating costs, lower harmful emissions and increase efficiency. It is also the only program to recognize excellence in green performance.
To focus on other clean transportation initiatives, FBC has transferred management of the E3 Fleet program to Fleet Challenge in Ontario. Learn more on the E3 Fleet website.
Between 2007 and 2009, FBC collaborated with the BC Trucking Association and others to support fleets in greening up. Managed by FBC and funded by the BC Ministry of Environment, the Green Fleets program offered education and incentives to help BC fleets managers and their teams better understand and introduce new technologies, alternative fuels, idling reduction policies and practices, driver education programs, advanced route planning and other progressive techniques.
In all, 136 fleets participated in one or more initiatives. These included trucking, utility, urban delivery, courier and government fleets, as well as port terminals. Together they achieved some important emissions reductions in just two years — an estimated 23,200 tonnes of greenhouse gases, 150 tonnes of NOx and three tonnes of PM2.5. A good start!
One way of trimming emissions is for fleets to replace older trucks with Class 7 or 8 heavy-duty vehicles that feature a newer model diesel engine. This change has potential to reduce particulate matter by 90% and smog-forming nitrous oxide particles by 45%. Add-on features can save fuel and drive down emissions even further. Fleet managers in the pilot project reported up to 30% improvement in fuel economy. Replacement trucks included:
Fleet Managers Network
Green Fleets BC also hosted a fleet managers network where members could discuss green technologies and practices (including biofuels, fuel data collection, electric vehicle options and fuel-efficient driving practices) and share their own experiences and strategies. The network proved popular, and the members enthusiastic. Some members worked up a common specification for Class 7 medium-duty hybrid trucks, for purchase by their fleets.
Medium-Duty Hybrid Trucks
In 2004 FBC published The Hybrid Experience report, which documented the real-world performance of 100 hybrid electric vehicles of a number of different makes and models. This project came at a pivotal point in the history of hybrids when fleet managers were keen to understand the technology, its benefits and vehicle performance over time. The report documented lower fuel costs and significant reductions in air pollution. Some operators saw up to 60% in fuel savings over previous vehicles. The report found that hybrids were particularly well-suited to stop-and-go applications, such as urban commuting, taxi service and courier work. Indeed, the taxi industry in urban BC was among the first sectors to embrace hybrids.
While light-duty hybrid electric cars were recognized quick quickly as commercially viable for fleets, medium-duty hybrid trucks took longer to gain momentum. Green Fleets BC helped build understanding of medium-duty hybrid trucks and worked with eight fleets that piloted the vehicles. Medium-duty trucks include urban food and beverage delivery vehicles, bucket trucks used by municipalities and utilities for aerial work, and urban recycling pick-up trucks. Participants at the time were Metro Vancouver, City of Richmond, UBC, City of Vancouver, BC Hydro, Canadian Springs, Fraser Valley Regional Library and Urban Impact Recycling.
By the mid-2000s, there was a need in public and private sector organizations across Western Canada to find reliable information on alternative fuels. Fleet managers wanted to know about biodiesel in particular, and how to safely introduce the fuel in their fleets of on-road vehicles and off-road equipment. Biodiesel is a cleaner burning, non-toxic, biodegradable alternative fuel that can be combined with petroleum diesel to run diesel engines. It is produced from renewable sources such as canola and soybeans and from rendered animal fats.
To meet the need for information, the Fraser Basin Council created and launched “Biofleet for BC." From 2006-2009 the program offered educational workshops, materials, videos and data on biodiesel, along with opportunities for fleets to participate in biodiesel demonstration projects to document the experience. The work was possible thanks to the partnership contributions of municipalities, companies and fuel suppliers, and funding from Western Economic Diversification Canada. The Fraser Basin Council worked with other non-profit organizations in each of the four western provinces to deliver the program.
The BC Clean Air Research Fund (BC CLEAR) was a multi-year program to promote research excellence by funding transformative research of strategic importance for the management of air quality in British Columbia. Between 2008 and 2016, the BC CLEAR Fund awarded funding for research projects that have strategic importance to the management of air quality in British Columbia.
For a look, see the BC CLEAR project summaries. The program also contributed to the work of graduate students who were focusing efforts on air quality solutions through research scholarships.
BC CLEAR was sponsored by the BC Ministry of Environment, jointly managed with Metro Vancouver and Environment Canada. The Fraser Basin Council administered the program in partnership with the BC Lung Association.
BC's remote communities face the challenge of generating their own energy, the majority of which comes from diesel generators. Diesel power generation, however, is a significant contributor to poor air quality and climate change.
Remote Community Implementation (RCI) was a multi-year program (2009-2013) that assisted BC’s remote communities in reducing their dependence on diesel generation by funding capital costs of implementation or construction of clean energy systems, such as hydro, wind and solar energy. It was designed to complement other funding programs that are available to assist communities in clean energy planning and research. The RCI Program also coordinated a community-to-community mentorship program, including to support solar energy installations.
The Fraser Basin Council administered the funding program initiative, with guidance from an external advisory committee, including representatives from First Nations organizations, provincial and federal departments and utilities.
Renewable energy construction projects included those under the leadership of Xeni Gwet’in First Nation, Tsay Keh Dene Nation, Dease River First Nation, Kwadacha Nation, Da’naxda’xw First Nation and the Qualicum School District (for a school on Lasqueti Island).
Community Action on Energy and Emissions (CAEE) offered financial and research support to BC local governments and First Nations to advance energy efficiency, energy conservation and emissions reduction through policy and planning tools. The program, administered by FBC between 2005 and 2010, was funded by the Province of BC, BC Hydro, FortisBC and the Community Energy Association of BC.
Over 50 First Nations and local governments participated in CAEE, showing innovation and inspiration. See the synopsis chart CAEE projects at a glance. Communities that participated in the CAEE Gold program are noted with an asterisk (*). They developed new energy efficiency targets for at least one of the following:
The Fraser Basin Council assisted a number of BC local governments — in particular communities of under 150,000 people — in planning more sustainable transportation systems through a program called “Transportation Demand Management for Small and Mid-Size Communities.”
Transportation demand management (TDM) is an approach that aims to reduce travel by automobile by 1) diverting single passenger vehicle trips to other modes of transportation and 2) by shifting automobile travel away from peak hours. A TDM strategy includes options for public transit and ride-sharing, as well as cycling and walking. There are multiple benefits: vehicle and fuel cost savings, more active transportation choices, fewer greenhouse gases and other harmful emissions, and an opportunity for BC communities to avoid large expenditures in the replacement and expansion of road infrastructure. As part of program support to communities, a primer on TDM, Transportation Demand Management (TDM): A Small and Mid-Size Communities Toolkit, was developed in 2009.
The BC Climate Exchange was an early resource website on climate change offered through FBC. Today FBC supports the Climate Action Toolkit on climate change mitigation and ReTooling for Climate Change on climate change impacts and adaptation.
Idle Free BC was a multi-year campaign launched in 2006 to create awareness of the economic, environmental and health costs of vehicle idling, and to encourage local idling reduction programs. This was a partnership of the BC Ministry of Environment, FBC and Biofleet.
Over 100 communities and organizations joined Idle Free BC, with measurable results for their fleet operations. The City of Williams Lake, for example, saved 20% on the cost of fuel in its fleet and additional savings on maintenance.
FBC has participated in a number of Clean Air Forums in BC, to educate and inspire action, in partnership with the BC Lung Association (now BC Lung).