CAGBC recommendations in advance of the upcoming federal budget

Buildings are Canada’s best opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while simultaneously providing socio-economic and environmental benefits. They are integral to resilient and adaptive communities and contribute to safe and accessible workspaces, and affordable homes.

Budget 2022 will set the pace for the decarbonization of the construction sector. In advance of the budget, CaGBC made the following recommendations to encourage the federal government to prioritize policies and public and private sector market support for green buildings in the following ways:

To supercharge the Retrofit Economy, the government should:

  • Invest $10 to $15 billion in partnership with the provinces to start a national retrofit strategy and implementation plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Strategy must contain:
    • Specific milestones, a percentage of building stock or square footage refurbished as an annual objective, and tonnes of CO2e eliminated annually to achieve low or zero carbon performance; and,
    • Funding to support the cost of deep emissions retrofit upfront (transition plans) and the implementation for all ownership models; arrangements to reduce investment risks, especially for multi-unit residential and institutional buildings.
  • Drive low-carbon retrofits at scale by leveraging supportive initiatives and standards, such as the Investor Confidence Project (ICP) to unlock private sector investment
  • Facilitate the establishment of a standardized sharing framework with provinces to enable benchmarking and the strategic disclosure of building profile and performance data
  • Ensure all forms of federal infrastructure funding are aligned to advance the uptake and implementation of the anticipated national retrofit building code

To stimulate Zero Carbon construction, the government should:

  • Include crown corporations with significant real-estate in the Greening Government Strategy
  • Commit all funded buildings above 20,000 ft sq. to achieve the Zero Carbon Building Standard or similar target
  • Establish Canada’s low-carbon supply chain with:
    • $20 million for Life-Cycle Assessments (LCA) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) to make them affordable for small- and mid-sized Canadian companies (SMEs); and,
    • $20 million to the LCA2 initiative to invest in embodied carbon research and support the adoption of LCA.
  • Require low carbon and “made in Canada” construction materials thresholds; ensure eligible firms demonstrate low-carbon development, design, and experience
  • Create a new commercial building incentive with $50 million to support upfront cost for early-stage energy modelling and integrated design
  • Streamline funding through a hub that combines investment programs from all levels of government

To advance Workforce Development, the government should:

  • Extend funding for the Sectoral Workforce Solution program until 2025/2026 ($360 million per year) to:
    • Prioritize investment in workforce capacity development for building retrofits;
    • Fund the development of industry-led low-carbon occupational roadmaps; and,
    • Invest in the rapid upskilling of workers and develop flexible approaches to low-carbon skills training to bring underrepresented groups into the green building sector.
  • Invest in development of collaborative platforms and partnership initiatives that remove the siloed approach to skills development, such as Workforce 2030.

Read the full submission here