MPA Major Research Papers

Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration


Political Science


Zack Taylor

Geographical Areas

Ontario, Toronto, Guelph, Waterloo


Since March 2019, municipalities in Ontario have become increasingly conscious of the role of local government in addressing the global climate emergency. Although minor departmental initiatives such as green infrastructure development policies are understood as environmentally conscious, the larger policy network of municipal governance has only recently entered the climate change mitigation and adaptation policy field. Declarations of climate emergencies are a modern way for municipal governments to signal both interest and intended action in climate change policies. In one year, Ontario municipal climate emergencies increased from 0 to 47, with the 47 municipalities representing nearly 90% of Ontario’s population. Such interest prompted this analysis of the policymaking structure of local government and the means by which climate change policy could be introduced and implemented. Policymaking and capacity theories are used to determine how municipalities can work with upper levels of government and advocacy groups in order to engage with the policymaking process from a climate change perspective.