OTTAWA (March 19, 2019) – Today, the federal government released the 2019 Budget, Investing in the Middle Class, which strongly supports initiatives related to the electricity sector. The Budget aims to encourage more electric vehicles and energy efficient homes and take advantage of Canada’s supply of clean and reliable electricity, which is already over 80 percent clean.
“CEA is extremely supportive of Budget 2019 investments being made to electrify transportation across Canada which include incentives for electric vehicles and funding for charging infrastructure. We are pleased to see a commitment of $1.46 billion in clean energy and efficiency programs. This includes over $1 billion to reduce energy costs through energy efficiency programs focused on homes, communities and multi-residential buildings. This budget clearly empowers Canadians to make clean energy choices,” states Francis Bradley, Chief Operating Officer of CEA.
Electrifying personal vehicles represents the next best step to meeting Canada’s environmental targets and builds on the country’s clean energy advantages. Budget 2019 commits $300 million over 3 years for incentives on the purchase of electric vehicles and $130 million over 5 years to invest in charging infrastructure which will include a tax write-off for business investments in Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEV). Transport Canada will work with auto manufacturers to secure a voluntary zero-emissions vehicle sales target to ensure that vehicle supply meets the anticipated demand.
“We are pleased to see all of our Pre-Budget recommendations move forward between the Fall Economic Statement and the 2019 budget,” noted Michael Powell, Director of Government Relations at CEA, “the investments to the clean energy sector demonstrate the value the government sees in electrifying the Canadian economy.”
CEA also believes the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) has a vital role to play to ensure companies have access to timely investments for the funding of new infrastructure projects. Budget 2019 reflects this ongoing need with funding recommendations focused on clean electricity, electrical connectivity and interties.
“As cyber threats become a significant threat to the utility sector, we are pleased to see $144.9 million to support cyber security of critical infrastructure,” Bradley commented, “building and protecting critical infrastructure against cyber attacks will lead to building a resilient sector.”
As per CEA’s previous recommendations on energy data collection and dissemination, the federal government is making it easier for Canadians to access key energy information. The budget provides Natural Resources Canada with $15.2 million over five years, starting in 2019–20, with $3.4 million per year ongoing, to establish a virtual Canadian Centre for Energy Information delivered by Statistics Canada. This Centre will compile energy data from various sources into a single easy-to-use website.
As the sector transitions to a clean energy economy, we’re also pleased with the federal government’s decision to move forward with some of the recent recommendations made by the Task Force on Just Transition for Canadian Coal Power Workers and Communities. The government will create worker transition centres that will offer skills development initiatives and economic and community diversification activities in western and eastern Canada.
“CEA and our member companies stand ready to support the timely implementation of these measures to help affected coal workers and local communities,” commented Channa Perera, Vice President of Policy Development.
CEA will continue to work with the government to ensure Canadians have access to safe, reliable and clean electricity. Budget 2019 will support these efforts.