Budget includes new electric car incentive program and $1 billion in energy-efficiency funding
OTTAWA — The David Suzuki Foundation welcomes Budget 2019’s emphasis on healthy, green, affordable communities, including $1 billion for green housing and building retrofits, as well as incentives to help business and households switch to electric cars.
“This budget will lower energy bills, clean the air and drinking water and help reduce our collective carbon footprint,” David Suzuki Foundation CEO Stephen Cornish said. “Significant social investments will also help support Indigenous communities and provide for a just transition for coal power workers and their communities.”
The new measures to make electric cars more affordable and expand charging infrastructure set Canada on the path to increasing zero-emission vehicle sales to 100 per cent of total vehicle sales by 2040. The transportation sector accounts for nearly a quarter of Canada’s carbon emissions.
“The new consumer incentive program is a smart move and will help put Canada in the driver’s seat in the global transition to zero-emission vehicles,” Cornish said. “The federal government should follow the example of leading jurisdictions like Quebec and B.C. and reinforce the budget measures with mandatory sales targets.”
The budget also funds energy efficiency and renewable energy in Canadian communities. This includes $1.01 billion in 2018-19 to increase energy efficiency in residential, commercial and multi-unit buildings. There is also funding for new green infrastructure, including new interties to enable renewable energy.
“Canadians are already experiencing the financial and health impacts of climate change, from wildfires and heat waves to floods and droughts — and cities are at the forefront of climate action,” Cornish said. “This budget recognizes that by providing funding to communities to build climate resiliency at the local level.”
Other noteworthy announcements in Budget 2019 include:
- New initiatives to reduce food waste and promote local food consumption, as part of Canada’s first National Food Policy
- Renewal of funding to clean up federal contaminated sites
- Additional funding for safe drinking water in Indigenous communities
- Just transition measures for coal power workers and communities (a model that could be applied to other sectors)
- Recommitment to and investment in reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples
Budget 2019 does not include funding required to ensure Canada meets its international marine protection targets, improve regulation of pesticides or bolster environmental enforcement.
“This budget makes important progress toward reducing emissions on the road and at home, and we are looking to the federal government to carry these commitments forward, up to and beyond the next election,” Cornish said. “Reducing our emissions and meeting our international climate commitments must continue to be a focus for Canada’s government.”
The David Suzuki Foundation is a member of the Green Budget Coalition. For more information, please visit the coalition’s complete 2019 Budget recommendations.
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