Policy Series: CEO Introduction

The advancement of public policy and an effective regulatory framework has been at the core of Passive House Canada’s mission since inception.  Our founding members recognized the market transformation we seek can only be achieved in the context of fundamental policy & regulatory reform.  When our founding members first met in 2013, such transformation was a distant dream, but the world has been waking up to the reality of climate change and the need for better building, bringing public policy in line with our mission. As we refocus our services in light of COVID 19 and I settle in as CEO, the time is right to evaluate how Canada is doing in achieving the goals that have been set and to bring our community up to speed on the progress made, and where we need to improve.

One of the reasons I love my job is its alignment with my passions and background.  From working in public affairs, being a founding Board member of the Consumers Council of Canada, a city Councillor, provincial Minister of Housing and then Minister of the Environment, advancing public policy, particularly in relation to buildings and the environment has been my passion. The international Passive House standard offers the opportunity to deliver what the world needs from buildings consistent with the Paris Accord and IPCC Assessment reports.

During its early years, PHC saw rapid growth in the number of Passive House projects as the policy landscape changed. The Paris Accord was signed in December 2015, Vancouver adopted its Zero Emissions Buildings Plan in July 2016 with the active support of our members. The Pan Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change was signed in December 2016.  During that time, PHC engaged in the development of the UN Framework Guidelines for Energy Efficiency in Buildings, with Rob Bernhardt, our then CEO, chairing a pivotal meeting in the process. Rob and our members also participated in the development of the BC Energy Step Code adopted in April 2017 and Build Smart, Canada’s Buildings Strategy signed in August 2017. These leading policies were launched with the stated intention of delivering essentially Passive House performance levels through the development of detailed regulations. After our national buildings strategy was signed, the Toronto Zero Emissions Buildings Framework was approved in May 2018.  These global, national, provincial and city policies comprise a great body of work in less than 2 1/2 years. The last two federal budgets have followed up by providing financial support for those policies, a process we engaged with government on.

With all of those positive initial steps taken, how is Canada progressing along its declared path?  What results can we expect to see from the decisions made so far?  What are the key factors for success, and are they in place?  Over the coming months, we will present a series of articles to answer these important questions. Topics covered will include a review of what is required to meet the Paris Accord targets, the role of innovation, how well our code development process copes with the need to deliver excellence in buildings, the importance of embodied carbon, how public procurement can support market transformation and our path forward.

Canada is at a pivotal time in the development of regulations concerning its buildings, making it crucial to understand the challenges. These articles will not only inform our membership but will provide data and perspective for policy makers and consumers as part of our commitment to deliver better information to support better decisions for better buildings.  As CEO of Passive House Canada my mandate, and passion, is to deliver on our mission, something I believe can be achieved by building upon the policies we have and working to ensure they are effectively implemented.

Chris Ballard,
CEO, Passive House Canada