While attention is focussed on international climate conferences like the recent, COP27, more than half of Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GhGs) are committed by or regulated by municipalities. Cities and other local governments and institutions must therefore be part of the solution to the climate crisis. Yet the legal and policy frameworks under which municipalities address the crisis are largely outdated and in need of restructuring.
The Cities & Climate Action Policy Clinic supports law reform and policy creation to support municipalities and other local institutions to lead on good and effective climate action. We understand climate action to be a municipal responsibility that overlaps significantly with addressing the housing crisis, sustainable land use and transportation policies, and questions of public health equity, and environmental justice.
Further, while community engagement is said to be key to the success of climate action, municipal engagement is at a critically low level (across Ontario, only about 30% of eligible voters voted in October 2022).
CCAPC’s mission is three-fold:
- To provide research and other work to support municipalities and other local institutions in their development of climate mitigation policy;
- To build community capacity for collaborative and coordinated climate mitigation action among stakeholders at the local level;
- To improve public awareness and engagement on municipal governance and municipalities role on climate action;
- To train the next generation of municipal lawyers, politicians, policy-makers on the principles, tools, and systems of effective municipal climate action.
Students selected for the course, working in teams, will undertake at least one of the following community-facing research and community engagement projects which will form the clinic's three primary Winter 2023 activities:
- Supporting UWindsor's new Sustainability Officer in conducting the research for, and drafting of, sustainability policy in a number of specific areas (from land use to single use plastics to procurement);
- Supporting another leading local organization in performing a sustainability audit and crafting a sustainability policy/climate action plan;
- Implementing an educational workshop for high school students on municipal governance structures and relevance to climate action.
Time and interest permitting, students may participate in more than one of the above projects during the term.
Students may also participate in one or more of the following, according to availability and interest:
- Preparing materials such as blogs or research briefs to be available through open access on the Cities and Climate Action Policy Clinic website;
- Preparing social media posts on topics related to municipal-level climate action; and
- Oral and/or written advocacy before municipal, provincial and/or federal bodies on issues related to climate mitigation and municipal responsibility.
Actual schedule of projects and deliverables will be confirmed with input from accepted students and is subject to change based on community partners' needs, changing deadlines etc.
Learn more about past work of the Cities and Climate Action Policy Clinic website (although please note that this year's focus has shifted slightly).
Up to 8 2L and 3L students will be selected for placements with the Cities and Climate Action Policy Clinic.
Applications include the following documents, to be uploaded in one pdf using the link above:
- A cover letter describing why you would like to be selected for this placement. It can be addressed to Prof. Anneke Smit. Provide highlights of your experiences and learning that would help you to make a positive contribution to the work of CCAPC. You may wish to highlight experience related to municipal law and governance and climate action and sustainability. Other skills or capabilities including EDI and anti-racism lenses, effective community consultation practice, legal and other academic research, community organizing, project management, and communications including social media will also be considered assets;
- Your resume; and
- Your transcript (an unofficial transcript will suffice).
Pre- and Co-Requisites
Municipal Law is typically a pre- or co-requisite. If an applicant has not or will not be taking Municipal Law, they will need to demonstrate sufficient experience/knowledge of municipal law through professional or academic experiences. Such exceptions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Other important studies include Land Use Planning, Indigenous Legal Traditions, Environmental Law, Administrative Law, Construction Law, Community-Engaged Lawyering and Community Organization, Clinical Placement, and other Experiential Learning Placements.
Students participating in the Cities and Climate Action Policy Clinic for one term will earn 3 credits.
Numerical grades will be used to evaluate students.
Evaluation Methodology: participation: 20%; portfolio of work: 50%; reflective paper: 30%