Toronto Environmental Alliance

Our Mission is to promote a greener Toronto. We work with concerned individuals, community groups, professionals and workers, encouraging the participation of local people on local issues.

Our Impact Why We Exist

Our Vision is a green, healthy and equitable city with economic activity that sustains our environment.

Our Story What We Do

History of Organization

Since 1988, the Toronto Environmental Alliance has campaigned locally to find solutions to Toronto's urban environmental problems through research, education and engagement. A not-for-profit organization, TEA advocates on behalf of all Torontonians for a green, healthy and equitable city. We rely on our members -and their communities- to provide a strong, voice for environmental solutions at City Hall.

Until 2006, TEA limited most of our outreach efforts to the old city of Toronto. Realizing that we wanted to tap into the energy and cultural diversity of Scarborough, North York and Etobicoke, TEA began to transform to better reflect and connect with all Torontonians. Today, TEA reflects the energy and cultural vibrancy of Toronto:

  • Our board represents the geographical and cultural diversity of the city.
  • We talk to over 100,000 Torontonians annually, increasingly in the inner suburbs through our outreach canvass. Since 2009, our membership has exploded from 5,000 to over 35,000. 
  • Our volunteer base comes from all corners of the city. Today, over 400 Torontonians, representing the cultural and geographical diversity of Toronto, have signed up to help TEA.

With this new energy and engagement from all parts of the city, TEA will continue building a greener city for all.

Accolades and Accomplishments

TEA has achieved many successes over 23 years. 

At City Hall, our campaigns led City Council to: 

  • adopt TEAs Green Bin plan (2002)
  • ban on the cosmetic use of pesticides on lawns (2003)
  • pass the Community Right to Know Bylaw (2008) that gives communities information about who is polluting in their  neighbourhood
  • adopt a local food procurement policy (2008) that ensures Toronto buys produce from local farmers 

In the community, we have engaged Torontonians in all parts of the city: 

  • annually, we knock on over 100,000 doors annually to discuss our work and ensure the ideas of Torontonians infuse our work
  • our volunteers connect in neighbourhoods across the city by attending neighbourhood events and meetings, making presentations at schools and community events, working with community groups on projects that benefit  the environment and people.

Our efforts have been supported by a wide variety of donors and funders:

  • over 45,000 individual donors
  • Ontario Trillium Foundation (multiple Community Grants and a Future Fund Grant)
  • Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation
  • Metcalf Foundation
  • Toronto Atmospheric Fund
  • Atkinson Foundation 

Prominent TEA supporters include:

  • David Suzuki
  • David Miller
  • Michele Landsberg

Our Programs How We Do It

Typically, we identify environmental problems through our discussions with Torontonians, research and develop practical solutions, provide useful information to the public and public policy makers, and help our members engage in actions that lead to environmental solutions. We work in partnership with other community groups to ensure we promote a greener city in ways that are equitable and beneficial for all Torontonians. Our focus is engaging Torontonians where they live, especially in Scarborough, North York and Etobicoke.

TEA focuses on five campaign areas where we undertake programming, education and research.

Public Transit: TEA wants the TTC to provide excellent service that is affordable, accessible and accountable to all Torontonians. We support transit expansion that serves as many Torontonians as possible and a publicly controlled transit system. TEA works closely with TTCriders, Toronto's voice for transit riders.

Smog and Climate Change: TEA works mostly at the local level to improve air quality and combat climate change. We also work with other groups at the provincial and national levels, especially when 

Toxics and Urban Pesticides:TEA fights for our right to know about harmful toxins in Toronto and empowers residents to turn local polluters into Good Neighbours.

Waste Reduction: TEA advocates for governments to give Torontonians the tools they need to reduce our garbage and make our products less wasteful. 

Greenbelting Toronto: TEA protects Ontario's Greenbelt by promoting policies that support local food and farming communities, expand the Greenbelt further into Toronto and promote the benefits of the Greenbelt to all Torontonians.


Public Transit

Public transit is a cornerstone of a healthy, equitable City. The more people using transit and keeping their cars at home, the cleaner our air and the fewer greenhouse gas emissions we emit. As well, the more people using transit, the better it is for the economy and people's well-being.

TEA's transit campaign focuses on the following goals:

  • keeping transit affordable
  • maintaining and improving transit service
  • ensuring transit expansion happens quickly and effectively, especially in the inner suburbs
  • ensuring the TTC remains accountable to Torontonians by keeping it publicly owned 

TEA has celebrated many transit successes in the past decade:

  • we've helped keep fares affordable by educating people about the high cost of high fares
  • we succeeded in getting transit expansion plans passed by City Council in 2007 aned 2012, based on transit expansion ideas proposed by TEA, that get rapid transit into Scarborough, North York and Etobicoke
  • we have built strong public support for maintaining and improving TTC services.

Two years ago, along with other community partners, TEA helped found TTCriders, a voice for transit riders. Today, TTCriders is housed at TEA and currently has over 17,000 supporters.

Funding and Program Partners

TEA has received funding from the following donors to help us in our transit work:

  • 7,500 individual TEA donors
  • Toronto Atmospheric Fund
  • Atkinson Foundation

Program Impact

Our transit engagement work helps all Torontonians by providing excellent research, education material and a wide variety of opportunities to Torontonians to be involved in building better public transit.

Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program

"The city's inner suburbs, where incomes have decreased 20% or more in the last 30 years (the geographic "City #3", referenced in Toronto's Vital Signs in 2009 and 2010) are significantly underserviced by rapid transit." (Toronto's Vital Signs, 2011)

Our program aims to improve frequency of existing service as well as expand service.

"Meeting 2016 targets for Particulate Matter and NOx [ie. reducing smog levels] will require considerable improvement in transit." (Toronto's Vital Signs, 2011)

Our program will help us meet these targets.

Participant Vignette

"TEA is the only group in the city that is working on affordable, accessible transit for Torontonians across the city. As a student, I depend heavily on the TTC. So, TEA's work to create a bigger, better more affordable TTC is essential to my well being." Alex He, Volunteer August 2011.

What You Can Do

Public Transit

Activities a donation will support

Financial support will enable us to engage more people in Toronto's inner suburbs.

Donation impact

With financial support, TEA will be able to insure transit users in all parts of the city are able to participate in building better public transit.


Justin Conley
Development Director

Finance & Governance