Minister Vandal highlights clean energy investments in Budget 2021

From: Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Budget 2021 is the Government of Canada’s plan to finish the fight against COVID-19 and ensure a robust economic recovery that is inclusive of all Canadians.

Today, on Earth Day 2021, Minister of Northern Affairs, the Honourable Daniel Vandal, held a virtual roundtable in Yukon to discuss climate change and clean energy investments from Budget 2021: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience.

The COVID-19 recession is the steepest and fastest economic contraction since the Great Depression. It has disproportionately affected low-wage workers, young people, women, and racialized Canadians. For businesses, it has been a two-speed recession, with some finding ways to prosper and grow, but with many businesses-especially small businesses-fighting to survive. Budget 2021 is an historic investment to address the specific wounds of the COVID-19 recession, put people first, create jobs, grow the middle class, set businesses on a track for long-term growth, and ensure that Canada’s future will be healthier, more equitable, greener, and more prosperous.

As we have learned through COVID, global challenges require immediate and urgent action. Canada’s North is warming at three times the global rate, with significant impacts on shoreline erosion, wildfire risk, and permafrost stability. Indigenous peoples are experiencing its impact on their way of life, which is closely tied to the land and waters. Many communities in the North continue to rely on diesel or other emissions-intensive sources of energy, which not only contribute to climate change but are also costly and polluting.

To help these communities transition to clean energy, Budget 2021 proposes to invest $40.4 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to support the feasibility and planning of hydroelectricity and grid interconnection projects in the North. This funding could advance projects such as the Atlin Hydro Expansion Project in Yukon. Such projects will provide clean power to northern communities and help reduce emissions from mining projects.

Hydroelectricity and grid interconnection projects across the North will play an important role in reducing reliance on diesel for electricity and heating, and reducing energy costs. In the longer term, providing cleaner energy will yield positive health and environmental outcomes for all members of northern and Indigenous communities.

In addition, Budget 2021 proposes to provide $25 million in 2021-22 to the Government of Yukon to support its climate change priorities, in collaboration with Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, and Environment and Climate Change Canada.These investments will support northern and Indigenous partners to advance important projects to enhance community resilience and participate in a clean energy transition.

The Government of Canada’s top priority remains protecting Canadians’ health and safety, particularly during this third, aggressive wave of the virus and its variants. Vaccine rollout is underway across Canada, with federal government support in every province and territory. Budget 2021 invests in Canada’s bio-manufacturing and life sciences sector to rebuild domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity, and has a plan to put in place national standards for long-term care and mental health services.

Budget 2021 is a plan to bridge Canadians and Canadian businesses through the crisis and towards a robust recovery. It proposes to extend business and income support measures through to the fall and to make investments to create jobs and help businesses across the economy come roaring back. It will support almost 500,000 new training and work opportunities, including 215,000 opportunities for youth; help businesses in our most affected sectors, such as tourism and arts and culture; and accelerate investment and digital transformation at small and medium-sized businesses. Budget 2021 is a plan that puts Canada on track to meet its commitment to create 1 million jobs by the end of the year.

Canada entered the pandemic in a strong fiscal position. This allowed the government to take quick and decisive action, supporting people and businesses, and put it in the position to make historic investments in the recovery.

Quotes

“The impacts of climate change are being felt across Canada and are having significant social, cultural, ecological, and economic impacts across the North and the Arctic. Indigenous and northern communities are among the most affected by climate change because of their relationship with the natural world, traditional lifestyles, and geographic location. Budget 2021 is making significant investments to help Indigenous and northern communities transition to clean energy, create jobs, and enhance resilience.”

The Honourable Daniel Vandal, P.C., M.P.

Minister of Northern Affairs

“The new investments proposed in Budget 2021 will directly support Yukon’s strategy to combat climate change, create opportunities for Yukoners, and grow the economy. This budget is a reflection of the federal government’s partnership with Yukon to advance the priorities of northerners and support locally led, innovative solutions to climate change.”

The Honourable Larry Bagnell

Member of Parliament for Yukon and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency)

Quick facts

  • Budget 2021 also proposes to invest $36 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, through the Strategic Partnerships Initiative, to build capacity for local, economically sustainable clean energy projects in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities, and support economic development opportunities.

  • Budget 2021 includes $101.4 billion over three years in proposed investments as part of the Government of Canada’s growth plan that will create good jobs and support a resilient and inclusive recovery. Key measures include

    • investing $17.6 billion in a green recovery that will help Canada reach its target to conserve 25 per cent of Canada’s lands and oceans by 2025, exceed its Paris climate targets and reduce emissions by 36 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, and move forward on a path to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
    • closing the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples; supporting healthy, safe, and prosperous Indigenous communities; and advancing meaningful reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation through an historic investment of over $18 billion.

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