With the close of the 44th federal election, Canada’s political landscape looks much the same as it did before. With a minority Liberal government and status quo among the parties, the forward movement we have seen on carbon emissions is certain to continue.
The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) congratulates Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal team for last night’s victory. We are delighted to continue our cooperation with this government and all parties.
As the national organization working to advance green building in Canada, CaGBC sent five recommendations to the main political parties prior to the election. They reflected years of advocacy work including our most recent discussion with industry stakeholders and government officials on the National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA). When we assessed electoral platforms, the Liberals were the only party to have addressed all of the recommendations:
- Develop a “Buy Clean” approach requiring the use of low-carbon construction materials and determining a “made-in-Canada” threshold, a demand that we proposed at first in the NIA: The Liberals committed to introducing a Buy Clean Strategy to support and prioritize the use of made-in-Canada low-carbon products in public and private infrastructure projects.
- Achieve a net-zero emissions strategy for buildings: The Liberals plan to introduce a National Net-Zero Emissions Building Strategy to chart a path to net-zero building emissions by 2050 with milestones that apply to the retrofit of existing buildings and new construction. They also plan on moving from an energy-based building code to a net-zero emissions model building code by 2025. They promised to develop a Low-Carbon Building Materials Innovation Hub and invest in the Forest Industry Transformation program that includes sustainable wood construction materials.
- Prioritize investment in the workforce: The Liberals promised to double the Union Training and Innovation Program to $50 million a year; establish a new Apprenticeship Service (announced in the last budget); a $2 billion Futures Fund for Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador; and will table a Just Transition Act in the fall.
- Support green buildings through certification standards to prevent future pandemics: The Liberal stressed the importance of indoor ventilation in buildings with $100 million for the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative. This funding included $70 million directed to increasing air quality and indoor ventilation.
- Include early action on social sustainability and reconciliation: The Liberals promised to deliver on affordable housing (1.4 million new or refurbished homes) and to explore different approaches to reconciliation with Indigenous people (for instance, an investment of $2 billion in Indigenous housing, and the co-development of a new Indigenous Urban, Rural, and Northern Housing Strategy with Indigenous partners and organizations).
CaGBC is ready to support the government as they implement their ambitious plan. Their platform could drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and catalyze the green building sector. The Liberals will find some common ground with other parties, as most of our recommendations were addressed in the other electoral platforms, such as the NDP’s strategy to retrofit buildings by 2050. With so much potential for collaboration, this Parliament could adopt several key policies necessary to mitigate climate change's worst impacts and strengthen Canada’s resiliency through the built environment.
On behalf of CaGBC, I would like to thank the Liberal ministers and opposition Members of Parliament who did not seek another mandate in this election. It was a privilege to work closely with them, especially Minister Catherine McKenna. I also thank every candidate who supported climate action and a green economic recovery that will benefits all Canadians.
President and CEO
Canada Green Building Council
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