Federal Budget 2021: Improvements to both the Economy and the Environment Announced

Federal Budget 2021: Improvements to both the Economy and the Environment Announced

The current federal government has made climate change top of mind when it comes to creating new opportunities for Canadian workers and strengthening initiatives to fight, adapt and reduce the impacts of a changing climate on Canadians.

Since 2015, the federal government has spent nearly $90 billion on climate-related projects and investments. Of that total amount equal shares of $15 billion have been invested in strengthening Canada’s current climate plan and for public transit (as announced in February of this year).

The most recent announcement by the Department of Finance back in April proposed an additional $17.6 billion towards a “green recovery” which is set to create new jobs in the sustainability industry, build back with a clean economy and continue to adapt and reduce the impacts of climate change in Canada.

Of the $17.6 billion proposed investment, only $1.68 billion (or ~9.5%) has been allocated for climate change adaptation-related programs and initiatives.

As stated on Natural Resource Canada’s webpage, the climate adaptation funding allotments that the federal government outlined include:

  • Natural Infrastructure: The development of a Natural Infrastructure Fund ($200 million over 3 years) for Infrastructure Canada to support both natural and hybridized (i.e. grey & green) infrastructure projects to help both mitigate impacts as a result of climate change and help reduce the likelihood of costly natural disasters
  • Improving Canada’s Climate Resiliency: By far the greatest proposed investment in the climate adaptation space is for $1.4 billion over 12 years to Infrastructure Canada to add further funding to the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund which supports climate-resilient projects for wildfire management, flood protection, hardening and restoration of wetlands and shorelines and development and re-investment in municipal stormwater systems, etc.
    • An additional 11.7 million over five years will also help create new standards and guidance materials in priority areas (i.e. Canada North and high risk, flood-prone areas) across the country to improve the country’s infrastructure and make it more resilient to climate change-induced events
  • Flood maps: ~$64 million over three years is being given to NRCan, ECCC and PSC to work collaboratively with the country’s provinces and territories to complete and improve current flood maps for high-risk zones
  • Canada Water Agency: approximately 17.4 million is being given to ECCC over two years to develop a new Canada Water Agency that will support projects and work with Indigenous governments and peoples, provinces and territories and identify opportunities to make more resilient water infrastructure.

Ultimately, projects similar to the Manitoba Climate Resilience Training (MCRT) project are imperative to help educate and better protect Canadians from climate change-induced events. As a result, it is exciting to see this additional proposed funding announced by the federal government, but future funding and investments focused on more climate adaptation measures and actions similar to those being funded for mitigation-based efforts will desperately be needed across Canada as we move further into the 21st century.