Government Update: Climate Change Plan

The Government of Canada recently announced the update to their climate change plan A Healthy Environment and A Healthy Economy. This plan builds upon the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change and provides additional details on how the federal government plans to create restore employment to pre-pandemic levels by creating over one million jobs, as articulated in the Speech from the Throne in September. The pillars of the plan focus on buildings, transportation, putting a price on carbon pollution, generating jobs throughout decarburization efforts, and the conservation and restoration of natural spaces.

In this plan, there are a number of key highlights related to infrastructure and CIQS’ advocacy priorities. Some of these highlights include the following:

  • The inclusion of 64 new measures and $15 billion in investments in addition to the Canada Infrastructure Bank’s $6 billion for clean infrastructure announced this fall as part of its growth plan.
  • A commitment to conduct Canada’s first-ever national infrastructure assessment, starting in 2021, to help identify needs and priorities in the built environment, and undertake long-term planning toward a net-zero emissions future.
  • Building on historic investments in public transit in the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to develop next steps on public transit, including the government’s plan to help electrify public transit systems, and provide permanent public transit funding.
  • A commitment to work with provinces and territories to connect parts of Canada that have abundant clean hydroelectricity with parts that are currently more dependent on fossil fuels for electricity generation—including by advancing strategic intertie projects, such as the Atlantic Loop and other regional initiatives. The Canada Infrastructure Bank has earmarked $2.5 billion as part of its $10 billion Growth Plan. The government will invest an additional $25 million to support predevelopment work.
  • An investment of $2 billion in financing commercial and large-scale building retrofits, which will be repaid by energy savings costs. This commitment is part of the CIB’s $10 billion Growth Plan.

This plan in combination with the recent Fall Economic Statement demonstrate that the government is looking ahead to their need to leverage infrastructure as part of economic recovery from the pandemic and to achieve their climate goals. The proposed national infrastructure assessment also presents a key opportunity for CIQS to be a valuable partner for government in national infrastructure projects, which aligns with our pre-budget recommendations. Encouraged by the government’s stated direction in these recent announcements, CIQS looks forward to continuing our advocacy in the New Year to urge the federal government to make concrete commitments to deliver infrastructure investments more quickly and support broad involvement of quantity surveyors in federal infrastructure projects.