Arif Virani

Your member of parliament for

Parkdale-High Park

Arif Virani

Your member of parliament for

Parkdale-High Park


Budget 2017: Support for the Environment By the Numbers

Climate change is real. It is the most pressing issue of our generation. I understand this, so too does our government–this is why we renamed our Ministry the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, it’s why we’ve unmuzzled scientists who do research about global warming, it’s why we’ve restored the long form census to gather more evidence to help inform our government’s policy decisions; it’s why we have put a price on carbon pollution nationally. These steps are all needed to help our transition Canada to a low carbon economy, and make us a world leader on the environment once again – given the period we endured under the previous government from 2006 to 2015.

This past year, 2016, was the warmest year on record, and we know we need to take action now to combat the catastrophic effects of climate change globally. Our Government has committed to making strategic investments on green infrastructure and clean technologies to both grow our economy and implement our climate action plan.

In 2016 we ratified the Paris Agreement with countries around the world to reduce carbon pollution, and we created a made-in-Canada plan to fight climate change and transition to a clean growth economy, by bringing together provinces, territories, Indigenous peoples, stakeholders and Canadians from across the country.

Moving forward in 2017 we are working to build on that momentum and put our plans into action, by cleaning up our air and water, and investing in cleaner jobs and communities. We also know that leadership starts with the Government itself, and that’s why we will reduce emissions from government operations by 40% by 2030. We will also accelerate the replacement of coal-generated electricity by 2030.

To deal with the effects of a changing climate, $2 billion will go to a Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund to support national, provincial and municipal infrastructure.

Carbon Pricing and Reducing GHG Emissions:

As a first step, Budget 2016 provided almost $2.9 billion over five years to address climate change and air pollution. This included $2 billion over two years to establish the Low Carbon Economy Fund, which will support provincial and territorial actions that materially reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and achieve significant reductions toward meeting or exceeding Canada’s national 2030 target.

Our Government and the provinces and territories have come to an agreement on carbon pricing, which will be implemented by 2018. Provinces and territories have the flexibility to choose between two systems: a direct price on carbon pollution or a cap-and-trade system. The Government will introduce a backstop pricing system that will apply in provinces and territories that do not meet the federal carbon pricing benchmark.

Through bilateral agreements, $9.2 billion will be provided to provinces and territories over the next 11 years to support priority projects, including those that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, deliver clean water, safely manage wastewater, help communities prepare for challenges that result from climate change, and help build cleaner, better-connected electricity systems.

To support the next phase of ambitious public transit projects, the Government will invest $20.1 billion over 11 years through bilateral agreements with provinces and territories, with provincial and territorial allocations determined using a formula based on ridership (70 per cent) and population (30 per cent). This funding will make it possible for Canadian communities to build the new urban transit networks and service extensions that will transform the way that Canadians live, move and work.

Budget 2017 proposes to provide up to $201 million over four years to Environment and Climate Change Canada, Health Canada, and the National Research Council Canada to continue to take action to address air pollution, and undertake activities such as indoor air pollution mitigation, and delivering cleaner air and water for all Canadians.

Green Infrastructure:

Making cities like Toronto, “Smart cities” will make our city more livable, offer cleaner air and make it easier to get around. Investments will be made in clean electricity grid interconnections, electric vehicle natural gas and hydrogen refuelling stations, and projects to safely manage wastewater.

Key highlights include:

  • $21.9 billion will be invested in green infrastructure, including initiatives that will help implement the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.
  • $182 million to develop and implement new building codes to retrofit existing buildings and build new net-zero energy consumption buildings across Canada.
  • $100 million to support next generation smart grid, storage and clean electricity technology demonstration projects.
  • $200 million to support the deployment of emerging renewable energy technologies nearing commercialization.

Through the new Canada Infrastructure Bank: At least $5 billion will be available over the next 11 years for green infrastructure projects, including those that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, deliver clean air and safe water systems, and promote renewable power.

Our Government is making $1 billion in strategic investments to support the clean technology sector, through the Innovation and Skills Plan to foster the development of clean technologies and the growth of Canadian firms. This will help create good, green jobs that reflect our transition to our low carbon economy.

To continue the work already underway to make the building and industrial sectors more energy efficient, Budget 2017 will provide Natural Resources Canada with $67.5 million over four years to renew and continue existing energy efficiency programs; and $39.8 million, over the same period, to support projects and activities that increase the use of wood as a greener substitute material in infrastructure projects, helping to create new markets for sustainable Canadian products.

Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems:

Prior to this Budget, on November 7, 2016, the Prime Minister launched a $1.5 billion national Oceans Protection Plan to improve marine safety and responsible shipping, protect Canada’s marine environment, and offer new possibilities for Indigenous and coastal communities.

Budget 2017 will provide $43.8 million over five years to Fisheries and Oceans Canada to continue and expand aquatic invasive species programming. This will better protect our waterways and preserve our fisheries, including in the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River Basin and the Lake Winnipeg Basin. Canada’s efforts will help address the threats posed by such species as Asian carp and sea lamprey.

The Great Lakes alone represent 20% of the world’s supply of surface freshwater, and provide drinking water for more than 10 million Canadians, as well as 25 million Americans. Supporting clean freshwater is an utmost priority. To that end, Budget 2017 proposes to provide up to $70.5 million over five years to Environment and Climate Change Canada to protect Canada’s freshwater resources, including in the Great Lakes and Lake Winnipeg Basins. This investment will refocus efforts to pursue ongoing cross-government collaboration on improving water quality, biodiversity conservation and sustainable use; and improve collaboration with Indigenous Peoples.

Indigenous Communities:

The Government is also helping to reduce reliance on diesel in Indigenous and northern communities. Budget 2017 proposes to provide $21.4 million over four years to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada to continue the Northern Responsible Energy Approach for Community Heat and Electricity Program to deliver renewable energy sources.

These actions will be supported by other Budget 2017 proposed measures, including $220 million to reduce the reliance of rural and remote communities south of the 60th parallel on diesel fuel, and to support the use of more sustainable, renewable power solutions.

In addition to the investments I have mentioned, an additional $2.8 billion will be invested over the next 11 years through a series of national programs–For more detailed information about all of the specific investments our government is making to green our economy, please visit the Budget 2017 website here.

Thank you for your passion for the environment–it’s a passion I share and am proud to communicate on your behalf in Ottawa.

Stay tuned for the next installment of my Budget 2017 series Monday, April 3! Next up, one of my favourite subjects to highlight as the Parliamentary Secretary for Canadian Heritage: investments in arts and culture.

“Budget 2017 enables Canada’s long-term climate success by making sure our future economic competitiveness is intimately tied to clean growth. Strategic investments in green infrastructure and clean technologies – like smart grids, energy storage and renewable energy – will help the country’s environment and economy as we compete for the rapidly growing global demand for clean energy. Successful implementation of Canada’s national climate plan requires two things: strong policies to limit emissions, and strategic investments to unlock clean growth opportunities. Today’s budget makes a substantial contribution towards both ends. We are pleased to see the federal government has allocated more than $340 million for policy development to implement key climate mitigation priorities, including an accelerated coal-phase out and a clean fuel standard for buildings, transportation and industry. We are also pleased that money has been allocated to demonstration projects, including the construction of net-zero energy buildings across Canada, and to see that the budget commits over $600 million to reduce diesel fuel reliance and improve energy security in Indigenous communities across Canada, including in the Arctic. Canada’s new national climate plan lays the groundwork for all economic sectors to reduce emissions and make progress towards building Canada’s clean economy. Today’s budget reinforces those signals by allocating resources to develop much-needed new policies and to unlock low-carbon investments. Continued progress on reducing emissions is a core requirement of the Paris Agreement, and we expect Canada will demonstrate its seriousness about those long-term goals by continuing to chart the course for deeper emissions reductions with time.”

Erin Flanagan, Federal Policy Director, Pembina

“With these substantial investments, the Government of Canada shows vision and demonstrates its true willingness to build a greener economy in Canada by accelerating the development of cleantech innovations and the creation of competitive Canadian companies able to play a role on the global scene.”

Andrée-Lise Méthot, Founder and Managing Partner, Cycle Capital Management

Yours truly,

Arif Virani
MP for Parkdale-High Park
Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism