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

Interfor’s Castlegar mill is getting $35 million in upgrades. Photo by: John Boivin
Interfor to invest $35 million at Castlegar mill

Project will enhance productivity and competitiveness

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

FILE PHOTO
Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

Greg Nesteroff and Eric Brighton, the historians behind popular Facebook page Lost Kootenays, are set to release a book of the same name and have just unveiled its cover showing the ghostly Hotel in Slocan City shortly before its 1953 demolition. Photo courtesy of Greg Nesteroff and Eric Brighton.
Popular historical Facebook page Lost Kootenays set to release book

128-page hard copy documenting history of East and West Kootenays coming this fall

Paul Chung is working as an early childhood educator at Cornerstone Children’s Centre in Nelson. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Immigration pilot targets hard-to-fill jobs in West Kootenay

Program helps newcomers get permanent residency status in rural areas

Four homes in Johnson Flats were at serious risk of falling into a neighbourhood section of the Kettle River, according to capital project manager Justin Dinsdale. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks shields riverside homes against erosion

Crews have built a modified dike along a section of the Kettle River in Johnson Flats

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Most Read