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A budget for building homes—and clean-energy-powered affordability

Photo by: Province of British Columbia via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED)

OTTAWA — Mark Zacharais, executive director at Clean Energy Canada, made the following statement in response to the 2024 federal budget:

“Amid the government’s headline-grabbing commitments in Budget 2024 to help build more homes and support first-time buyers are a suite of measures that will help build something else critically important: a cleaner economy with affordable clean energy.

“Indeed, clean energy is the only lasting way to cut energy bills for Canadians. To that end, the federal government’s popular EV rebate program received a $607.9 million top-up to ensure it does not run out. With interest rates hitting car loans, the rebate helps Canadians weather the higher upfront cost of an EV, unlocking considerable savings as these vehicles are far cheaper to operate.

“The budget similarly announced $800 million for a new Canada Greener Homes Affordability Program that will support the direct installation of energy efficiency retrofits for Canadian households with low- to median-incomes, including renters. It also provides $73.5 million to renew and modernize existing energy efficiency programs and spur the development of better, more ambitious building codes to further reduce emissions and lower energy bills. Another $30 million will support a national approach to home energy labelling, informing prospective home buyers about the energy efficiency of their new home. 

“Budget 2024 is equally focused on continuing this government’s efforts to grow a more sustainable economy. Building off the government’s investments to develop a Canadian battery supply chain and reestablish Canada’s place in the auto manufacturing world, Budget 2024 introduces a 10 per cent Electric Vehicle Supply Chain investment tax credit on the cost of buildings used in key parts of the EV supply chain. 

“Also announced are the design and implementation details of the 15 per cent Clean Electricity investment tax credit for clean generation, storage, and inter-provincial transmission projects. To get provinces and territories rowing in the same direction while not slowing the flow of private investment, Crown corporations wishing to access the credit will be required to work toward a net-zero electricity grid by 2035 and show how the value of the credit is being fully used to reduce ratepayer bills. 

“While less likely to make headlines, we welcome the government’s continued commitment to industrial carbon pricing and an enhanced Carbon Contracts for Difference program. Combined with a plan to work with the provinces and territories to improve Canadian carbon credit markets, these measures offer the market certainty needed to draw large-scale investments that reduce emissions while bringing innovation, jobs and growth to communities across the country.

“We believe all of the above will make Canada’s economy more sustainable, competitive, and productive. Time is critical, however: the business community is still awaiting the finalization of key investment tax credits, which are needed quickly to keep up with the U.S.’s Inflation Reduction Act.

“In many respects, Budget 2024 is indeed all about Canada’s largely generational housing crisis. But today’s young Canadians will also live in a climate-impacted world at the other end of a global economic transformation. This budget hasn’t forgotten that.”


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