Toronto – CELA is pleased that today’s federal budget contains ambitious targets and new programs to fight climate change and protect biodiversity, while considering impacts on vulnerable communities and workers. These are all important building blocks for a Green and Just Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Executive Director and Counsel Theresa McClenaghan stated that “on behalf of our client communities, we are glad to see ongoing recognition by the federal government of the unequal impact of COVID-19 on Canadians. For example, we are happy to see funding for housing energy retrofits specifically directed to low-income Canadians. For this program to be effective, it will be important to ensure that these funds are grants, not loans.”
Other climate adaptation measures in the budget, such as funding for infrastructure resiliency, flood mapping, wildfire preparedness, and other disaster response will be important for the health and safety of all Canadians, especially the most vulnerable.
Budget measures to support innovation and clean energy are also welcome. “We hope that funding will stress jobs, education, and transition measures for youth, especially vulnerable youth, and improve prospects for a brighter future,” McClenaghan said. “We also note that nuclear technology is not included as “clean energy” in this budget. We hope this omission signals agreement with our view that small modular nuclear reactors are a dirty and dangerous distraction from the climate change fight, and prior federal funding commitments should be discontinued,” she added.
CELA is a longstanding member of the Green Budget Coalition (GBC). We are pleased to see many of the GBC recommendations reflected in this budget. Alongside measures to address climate and nature, there is funding renewal for the Chemicals Management Plan and the Clean Water Agency transition office. As well, climate-focused measures intended to reduce greenhouse gases should help reduce air pollution, a benefit in vulnerable communities that experience the cumulative effects of multiple air pollution sources.
Next steps must include specific policy and legislative measures to turn targets and plans into action.
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CELA is a member of the Green Budget Coalition.
Read the GBC’s Budget 2020-21 recommendations.
For more information:
Kathleen Cooper, Senior Researcher and Paralegal, firstname.lastname@example.org