Business pitches for the federal budget
The federal Liberals are set to table the 2023 budget on Tuesday afternoon, and “clean economy” initiatives are expected to be a major focus of the government’s annual spending plan as Canada tries to keep up in the global race to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
BNN Bloomberg will have special live coverage of the federal budget beginning at 3:30 p.m. EDT, both on-air and online
Several stakeholders made asks related to the clean economy when they submitted their wish lists during federal budget consultations, which began late last fall.
Here is a look at what some companies, unions and industry groups asked for:
There’s been an explosion of interest in critical minerals like copper and lithium needed to produce electric vehicle batteries and other technologies.
Canada earmarked $3.8 billion in last year’s federal budget to implement an eight-year critical minerals strategy for mining in the country, and stakeholders asked for specific financial attention to the latest global mining boom in their budget submissions.
The Mining Association of Canada submitted several asks related to “making Canada global centre for EV material production,” including timelier approvals for mining and manufacturing facilities and further tax reductions for zero-emissions technologies. It also asked for spending on infrastructure in Northern Canada to accommodate mining growth there.
The organization encouraged more spending to boost Indigenous participation in mining development, and suggested a $500-million fund to start. Mining company Teck Resources also asked for more financial support for Indigenous mining participation and training.
The national mining group, along with the Mining Association of British Columbia, asked for money to support mining-related research, as well as less red tape when it comes to accessing existing funding for mineral developments.
Tesla Motors Canada proposed a tax credit for workplaces to install chargers. The car company also asked that that the government establish “charging hubs” in Canada’s busiest real estate markets to boost EV uptake, as well as put money towards chargers for existing multi-unit buildings.
EV coalition group Accelerate, made up of car manufacturers, unions and metals companies, asked for $25 million to develop a “national battery strategy” and an industrial plan for electric vehicle development.
Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector union, asked for more charging stations and expanded zero-emissions vehicles purchasing incentives. It also asked for attention to building renewable energy sources for off-grid mines.
Some oil companies asked the government for money to help them decarbonize operations.
Shell Canada’s submission stressed the need for financial support to help the industry compete with green incentives contained in the $400-billion Inflation Reduction Act in the U.S.
The company suggested tax credits for more sustainable fuels, and a clean technology tax credit that is “technology neutral.” Shell also asked for resources to speed up regulatory approvals of low-carbon projects.
TC Energy asked for more financial support for low-carbon energy and storage, and asked that the Government of Canada support Indigenous ownership for resource development, “either through the Canada Infrastructure Bank or through a new federal Indigenous loan guarantee program.”
Bloomberg News reported early Tuesday that carbon capture supports would be a feature of the budget.
Unifor also had suggestions to support the energy transition, including money for renewable hydrogen, and more funding for carbon capture and storage projects.
A group of environmental organizations that made joint submissions under the Green Budget Coalition asked for $18 billion plus tax benefits to go towards building a zero-emissions electricity grid.
The federal government unveiled its “sustainable jobs” plan earlier this month, outlining its goals and priorities for workers in the transition away from fossil fuels.
United Steelworkers union asked for a “just transition ministry” to help workers with clean economy transition, a “buy clean” industrial policy tied to jobs and funding to support affected workers and communities.
Unifor also asked for a “just transition fund” to help workers affected by the change.
HOUSING AND CLIMATE ADAPTATION
There was some crossover with asks related to the clean economy and housing.
The Green Budget Coalition environmental groups asked for $10 billion annually for 10 years for a “renovation wave” that would decarbonize homes, including money for skills training.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada and the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada asked for a national flood insurance plan, following a year of intense storms expected to become more frequent with climate change.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities also asked for more money for climate change mitigation and adaptation, along with attention to more affordable housing.