Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland delivers the federal budget in the House of Commons as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on in Ottawa on Monday April 19, 2021. The federal government unveiled spending plans to manage the remainder of the COVID-19 crisis and chart an economic course for a post-pandemic Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland delivers the federal budget in the House of Commons as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on in Ottawa on Monday April 19, 2021. The federal government unveiled spending plans to manage the remainder of the COVID-19 crisis and chart an economic course for a post-pandemic Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Federal Budget 2021: Liberals focus on clean technology for climate spending

Government says funds will be spread out over seven years and is on top of the $3 billion announced

Pushing the private sector to develop clean technology — and heavy emitters to adopt it — is where billions in new money will flow from the Liberals’ 2021 budget pledge to tackle climate change.

Around $17 billion is promised to be spent in the years ahead to promote a “green” recovery out of the COVID-19 pandemic and create jobs.

Included in that is $5 billion more into a fund meant to be spent on projects used by industry to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

The government says that will be spread out over seven years and is on top of the $3 billion announced when the Liberals unveiled their plan reach to net-zero emissions by 2050.

Another measure targeting heavy emitters is a new tax incentive to encourage companies to adopt technology that traps carbon dioxide into the ground from fuel combustion instead of seeing it released into the atmosphere.

The government says it will soon begin consultations on designing a tax credit for capital spent on carbon capture and storage technology in hopes of increasing how many million tonnes Canada traps annually.

Making the country a hub for clean technology is among the priorities Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has outlined in his approach to climate. The Liberals also want to adopt policies that make Canada go over and above its international commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels.

A political scientist who focuses on budget polices and public finances says the new spending plan fails to offer solutions to the pressures facing Ottawa, like how to reconcile the environment with the economy.

“I don’t see a big ambitious program that will lead us to zero emissions with strict targets,” said Genevieve Tellier of the University of Ottawa.

She added a lot of the new climate spending comes in form of grants, so it’s being left up to private businesses to come to government with ideas.

“It’s not a very aggressive, proactive environmental budget.”

Tellier says there’s not much for Saskatchewan and Alberta by way of providing a road map or more support for transitioning away from fossil fuels.

She also suggests the budget is not likely to woo potential voters who want to see more action on climate change if the minority Parliament heads into an election.

Overall, Tellier says climate change has taken a back seat to recovering the economy from the pandemic, although the government has placed a green lens on programs like housing.

Building off of what was promised in fall economic statement and in hopes of reducing people’s energy bills, Ottawa promised to send around $4 billion over five years to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. to offer interest-free loans of up to $40,000 for households to do green retrofits.

Other climate initiatives include a 50 per cent 10-year reduction on corporate and small business income tax rates for companies manufacturing zero-emissions technologies, such as solar panels and electric buses.

It will also establish the first federal green bond with an issuance target of $5 billion. The goal is to attract investors to finance ways to fight climate change, like through green infrastructure.

Getting more electric vehicles on the road is a priority for the Liberals under its net-zero emissions plan and the budget promises $56 million over five years to work with countries like the United States on bringing in standards for zero-emission vehicle charging and refuelling stations.

Although the government says reducing emissions will help all Canadians, a gender-based analysis in the budget says men will likely benefit from growth in the clean energy sector because they make up most of its workforce, same with the new climate spending on science and research.

It also says employees in manufacturing tend to be men, and those who are middle-aged high-income earners have been the early adopters of zero-emission vehicles, according to data.

Monday’s budget also promises $2.3 billion in funding to federal departments like Parks Canada and Fisheries and Oceans to conserve up to one million square kilometres more land and inland waters to meet the country’s 2025 conservation targets

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

2021 Federal BudgetCoronavirusfederal government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A fire destroyed a commercial building on Idlemore Road early Tuesday. The fire is under investigation. (Kenn Mount photo)
UPDATED: Early morning fire destroys new Sooke distillery

Firefighters still investigating cause of Island Shiners Distillery blaze early Tuesday

Oak Bay Police Department briefs for May 3 to 9. (Black Press Media file photo)
Copper wire stolen after Oak Bay construction site targeted twice by thieves

Cop briefs include pair of impounded cars, swiped back medication

The Capital Regional District hopes to be a national leader in zero waste and the circular economy, but getting there will take curbing construction waste and addressing challenges brought on by the region’s growth. Pictured is the Hartland landfill. (Black Press Media file photo)
CRD aims to be zero waste national leader, reduce enough to curb landfill expansion

Capital Region will have to reduce major waste sources: construction, organics from apartments

Langford Fire Rescue (Black Press Media file photo)
Langford looks to strike out on its own for emergency fire dispatch services

Mayor Stew Young says the city is large enough to negotiate solo

Sean Hart, 34, unexpectedly left the Seven Oaks Tertiary Mental Health Facility in Saanich on Nov. 6, 2020 and has now been missing for six months. (Photo courtesy Penny Hart)
Search continues for Saanich man Sean Hart six months after his disappearance

Support from community, police keeps his mother hopeful

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Condemned building of the Twin Gables Motel in Crofton is not safe and yet a teen has been climbing around on the roof while others were ripping the siding off the building. (Photo submitted)
Destructive behaviour by teens wreaking havoc on Island community

Crofton residents becoming fed up with the constant vandalism and fires

Minister of Health Patty Hajdu responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Drug users were shut out of Vancouver’s decriminalization proposal, critics say, demanding redo

The coalition is asking the city to raise the proposed drug thresholds from a 3-day supply

David and Julie Kaplan with their children Estelle and Justin. (Special to The News)
COVID-19 border closure stops B.C. family’s cross-country move

Maple Ridge couple, two kids, turned away at New Brunswick border

Kelowna RCMP precinct. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna RCMP reviewing rough arrest after video shared on social media

The video shows an officer punching a man while arresting him for allegedly driving a stolen car

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
B.C. to provide three days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

(Pixabay)
B.C. doctors could face consequences for spreading COVID misinformation: college

College says doctors have a higher level of responsibility to not spread incorrect information

The seasonal Search and Rescue program will run between May to September. ( File photo/Canadian Coast Guard)
North Vancouver Island Coast Guard Inshore Rescue Program ready to relaunch

Teams have protocols in place to ensure COVID-19 safety while providing marine safety net

Kelowna resident Sally Wallick helped rescue a kayaker in distress a week and a half ago. (Sally Wallick/Contributed)
VIDEO: Kelowna woman rescues capsized kayaker in Okanagan Lake

Sally Wallick is asking people to be prepared for the cold water and unpredictable winds

Most Read