Signatories represent sectors including finance, law, insurance, architecture, environment and more
OTTAWA – A coalition of 42 groups is encouraging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal ministers of infrastructure, environment and climate change and natural resources Canada to invest in natural infrastructure as a part of Canada’s COVID-19 recovery plan. In an open letter submitted on Wednesday, May 20, the groups provide detailed recommendations for investment in natural infrastructure as an integral part of Canada’s economic recovery from the pandemic and its long-term resilience against the impending climate emergency.
The letter focuses on three key recommendations:
- Get money moving by expediting funding to projects that are “shovel-ready” and “shovel-worthy.”
- Keep money moving by modifying existing programs to address current barriers to natural infrastructure projects.
- Sustain support over the long term by enabling integrated policy, programs and legislation, including establishment of a dedicated natural infrastructure fund.
The letter reads:
“In addition to their positive economic impact, natural infrastructure projects can be implemented much more quickly than large-scale grey infrastructure projects to provide climate resilience (e.g., inland flood protection, coastal protection and mitigation of urban heat island effects), while offering additional benefits (as compared to their grey alternatives), such as improved water quality, support for biodiversity and (perhaps most importantly in these challenging times) mental health benefits.”
There are currently thousands of “shovel-ready” and “shovel-worthy” natural infrastructure projects throughout Canada. One Ontario-focused report alone curated a list of more than 250 projects covering a diverse range of works including creek restorations, rain gardens, household green infrastructure tools, efforts to fill science and data gaps, flood management, wetland restoration in both urban and agricultural communities, tree plantings and bioswales.
A 2019 report commissioned by Environment and Climate Change Canada found that for comparable infrastructure outcomes, nature-based infrastructure solutions provide significant additional benefits, often at much lower cost, compared to grey alternatives.
“There is no silver lining in the devastation that COVID-19 has brought to our communities, our households, our country,” the letter reads. “We can, however, make sure that the responsive investments truly advance more resilient, healthy and sustainable communities into the future.”
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Read the letter (including full list of signatories).
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Brendan Glauser, firstname.lastname@example.org, 604-356-8829