CEO Letter – June

A Global Leap Forward 

Dear members and friends, 

What an exciting time to be part of the high-performance building movement! Earlier this March, under the grand arches of Paris, Canada joined a host of nations in making a historic pledge – we signed the “Déclaration de Chaillot” at the Buildings and Climate Global Forum. Spearheaded by France and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), this gathering helped set the stage for a new chapter in the global effort to make our built environments climate resilient. 

Our Canadian Commitment: Practical and Bold 

As Canada endorses this international declaration, we’re going continue pushing our federal government to keep their word and implement a host of strategic initiatives aimed at transforming our built environment. In the declaration, Canada has committed to: 

  • Implement long-term regulatory roadmaps: Implement mandatory building and energy codes, or support their adoption at the subnational level; require integrated comprehensive design. 
  • Implement an appropriate financial framework: Include financial and fiscal incentives and regulatory tools like taxonomies, to increase affordable near-zero emission and climate-resilient buildings and phase out financing for emissive and non-resilient ones. 
  • Advance and promote standards, labels, and certifications: Promote adoption in the buildings and construction sector or support their adoption at the subnational level. 
  • Lead by example through ambitious procurement policies: Focus on public building procurements. 
  • Promote low-carbon and sustainably sourced construction materials: Ensure these materials are available at affordable costs. 
  • Promote collaborative value chains and R&D: Focus on innovative, sustainable, affordable, cost-effective, and healthy solutions, especially for conventional and hard-to-abate industries; enhance local sourcing of traditional low-tech solutions. 
  • Enhance skill capacity and capacity building: Strengthen local know-how and ensure working conditions are protected and enhanced by mitigation and adaptation strategies. 
  • Develop multi-level governance and coordination: Use a participative approach to ensure appropriate implementation, coordination, and compliance. 
  • Develop tools and regulatory frameworks: Collect and share best practices and geographical, energy, and environmental data necessary for effective decision-making. 
  • Share best practices: Enhance awareness and advocate for sustainable choices. 

Why It Matters 

These commitments are our promise to do better—not just for our generation but for all that follow. It’s a long list, but the federal government is well positioned to strengthen their policies and release new policies to align with this declaration. At the forefront of these potential actions stands the long-awaited federal Green Building Strategy. 

First announced in the Emissions Reduction Plan, Ottawa promised over two years ago to release a Green Building Strategy, to “drive a massive retrofit of the existing building stock, and construction to the highest zero-carbon standards.” The federal government conducted consultations on a draft strategy but has since failed to release a final national strategy. 

Recently, the federal government launched the $800 million Canada Greener Homes Affordability Program as part of the latest budget. This initiative comes on the heels of the closure of the broader Greener Homes grant program, which offered up to $5,000 for various energy efficiency retrofits but has now exhausted its $2.6-billion allocation.  

With Ontario alone facing an estimated $450 billion bill to pay for surging electricity demand by 2050, and Ontario, an energy efficiency laggard, recently committing $1billion over 4 years to energy efficiency measures, it’s clear the federal government is underinvesting relative to the problem. 

We encourage the federal government to invest relative to the problem and shame lagging provinces to do their part if we have any hope of meeting the aspirations of this declaration. 

Let’s Build This Future Together 

I’m thrilled about the road ahead and eager to journey it with you at our annual conference in Victoria. From June 17-19 at the University of Victoria, we’ll discuss how to transform grand global promises into local realities that bolster a resilient, sustainable Canada. Together, we’ll push forward, making Canada a beacon of action in high performance building standards like Passive House.