Passive House Canada Response to Federal Budget

This past Monday, the federal government released its first budget in over two years, proposing significant investments to chart Canada’s path back to economic prosperity from Covid-19. It is the largest budget in Canadian history with $101.4 billion in new spending planned over the next three years. Passive House Canada is pleased to see significant investments in energy efficiency improvements for the building sector in this budget. This, in addition to recent announcements to invest $2 billion in large-scale building retrofits and the Greening Government strategy to make all government owned buildings net zero by 2050, demonstrate progress on the building file.

Investment highlights from the budget include:

  • $8 billion over seven years for the Net Zero Accelerator to help achieve Canada’s net zero emissions target by 2050. The accelerator will support decarbonization projects and the scaling-up of clean technology. We look forward to the release of more details on who is eligible to access this fund.
  • Reducing the corporate and small business income tax rate by 50% for manufacturers of zero emission technologies for the next 10 years. When further details are announced, we will be looking to ensure that manufacturers of high-performance building components for Passive House and zero emissions buildings will be eligible for this incentive.
  • The government will publish a green bond framework in the coming months with an issuance target of $5 billion, intended to be one of many to come. The framework will provide details on how investors will have opportunities to help fund green infrastructure, clean tech innovations, and more. This financing mechanism may make large high-performance buildings and retrofits possible. We will be watching this closely.
  • The government will, in partnership with the Government of British Columbia, provide up to $35 million to help establish the Centre for Innovation and Clean Energy to advance the scale-up and commercialization of clean technologies in B.C. and across Canada. This investment will be a boon for the development and export of high-performance components in BC.
  • Helping homeowners retrofit their homes by making up to $40,000 in interest-free loans available. This comes in addition to the federal government’s program to support homeowners with a $5,000 grant for eligible retrofits, previously announced in the governments 2020 Fall Economic Statement.

Currently lacking in the spending and program details is a clear understanding and articulation of what’s required in the building sector to successfully achieve Canada’s target of net zero by 2050 and our international commitments under the Paris Accord. Targeting bare minimum energy efficiency standards, such as 30%-40% efficiency for buildings, will lock in building emissions for decades to come. A few of the requirements that must be acted upon as soon as possible include:

  • Maximizing operating efficiency in buildings. This means targeting at least 60% more energy efficient new buildings and building retrofits.
  • Meeting operating energy requirements with renewable sources.
  • Minimizing embodied carbon.
  • Changing our building codes to require highly efficient, low carbon buildings

Read more about what’s required in our policy series.

The federal government is also expected to announce more stringent GHG targets in the coming days. We look forward to seeing these new targets and a plan of action to get there in the days, months and years ahead.