Industry professionals respond to the 2023 Federal Budget

The Canada Green Building Council (CAGBC), Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA), Pembina Institute, Canada’s Building Trades Unions, and RESCON have issued the following statements in response to the federal government’s Budget 2023.

According to the CAGBC, the organizations and its members have been working with the federal government to provide a perspective on how green building – specifically zero-carbon buildings and deep carbon retrofits – can help Canada create jobs, build a robust low-carbon supply chain, meet climate targets, and better compete on a global stage.

Although the Budget 2023 doesn’t reflect the breadth of recommendations CAGBC made as part of pre-budget consultations, the organization states that there is some positive news on climate action.

“This decade is a critical moment for decarbonizing the building sector in Canada. We know there can be no zero carbon buildings without clean energy, and this budget puts Canada on a path to reducing carbon emissions from the electrical grid,” said Thomas Mueller, President and CEO of CAGBC. “However, without decisive action and investment in zero carbon buildings, our climate targets will be out of reach.”

“Green building will play an integral role in mitigating the worst impacts of climate change and meeting Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan,” said Mueller. “While Budget 2023 continues to put Canada on a path to a low-carbon future, it is disappointing that the importance of the building sector’s role isn’t recognized. Despite this, CAGBC supports the significant investment in a clean grid and will continue our work with the federal government to shape the Green Buildings Strategy and transition the building sector towards zero carbon.” 

The CUTA states that the Federal government did not extend funding support for public transit operations in budget 2023. The organization is looking forward to the launch of the Permanent Public Transit Fund (PPTF), currently scheduled to begin in 2026.

“With Canada’s population growing significantly, investments in public transit operations are needed to maintain service levels and ensure communities can accommodate growth,” said Marco D’Angelo, CUTA’s President and CEO.

Chris Severson-Baker, Executive Director of the Pembina Institute, made the following statement in response to the 2023 Federal Budget:

“The 2023 Federal Budget sends a clear message that Canada is committed to building a cleaner future. We were pleased to see investments that support the development of the low-carbon economy, while also creating good, long-term jobs for Canadians.”

“This budget makes Canada competitive with the U.S.’s Inflation Reduction Act and Europe’s Green Deal Industrial Plan, in terms of investment in climate. It ensures Canadian workers can benefit from the significant economic opportunities presented by clean electricity, energy efficient building retrofits, zero-emission vehicle manufacturing, and the production and refining of critical minerals.”

Executive Director of Canada’s Building Trades Unions, Sean Strickland, has also released the following statement:  

“Canada’s Building Trades Unions applaud the Federal Government’s clear commitment to growing the middle class and an economy that will help Canada meet our net-zero goals. The definition of Prevailing Wage outlined in the Budget is a huge win for workers – providing one of the strongest definitions we’ve ever had in Canada. Building on the supports for green technologies announced in the 2022 Fall Economic Statement, including the Investment Tax Credits for Clean Technology and Hydrogen – the Budget included expansions to the previous credits along with an Investment Tax Credit for Clean Electricity and for Clean Technology Manufacturing. Together, these credits put Canada on a more level playing field with those found in the United States Inflation Reduction Act.”

The RESCON notes there are some items in the federal budget that will help young people enter the housing market but it doesn’t address the root of the problem, which is how to rapidly increase housing supply across the country.

“We have a crisis on our hands and need to build more homes quickly and make them affordable,” says RESCON president Richard Lyall. “The budget is nibbling around the edges of the problem and doesn’t fully address the systemic problems that are delaying construction of much-needed housing. We need to get more housing underway quickly as demand is expected to continue.”

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