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27The Federal government has released a report entitled Achieving a Sustainable Future, a wide-ranging plan for building the nation’s economy while decarbonizing the country. It provides a high level of detail on numerous initiatives and programs.

The report traces the history of the inputs from Provinces, groups and individual Canadians, and the development process of the document itself over the past several years. It also integrates other previously announced national plans and international collaborations.

Its structure includes measurable goals, milestones and deadlines in each area, responsible ministries, key priorities, specific initiatives, action plans and budgets. Thirteen aspirational goals are presented first, and are followed up with the aforementioned elements, to establish a comprehensive strategic plan of some 128 pages including Annexes and references.

It is impressive in terms of stakeholder integration, economy building, greenhouse gas reduction priorities, demonstrated commitment, technologies and initiatives, conservation and regulatory protection of Canadians’ health and Canada’s rich biodiversity.


• Effective action on climate change

• Sustainably managed lands and forests

• Greening government

• Clean growth

• Modern and resilient infrastructure

• Clean energy

• Healthy coasts and oceans

• Pristine lakes and rivers

• Healthy wildlife populations

• Clean drinking water

• Sustainable food

• Connecting Canadians with nature

• Safe and healthy communities


• By 2030, 90% and, in the long term, 100% of Canada's electricity will be generated from renewable and non-emitting sources.

 • A commitment to undergo a peer review of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies under the Group of Twenty (G20) process.

• Transportation vehicles: Zero-emission vehicles will represent 10% of new light-duty vehicle sales by 2025, 30% by 2030 and 100% by 2040. Measures include a new federal purchase incentive of up to $5000 for eligible vehicles with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of less than $45,000.

• A coast-to-coast network of electric vehicle fast chargers will be established along key highway corridors.

• Continued support of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Growth and Climate Change, which includes commitments to price carbon pollution; reduce emissions across the economy; build adaptation and climate resilience; and support clean technology, innovation and jobs. This includes a carbon price in provinces where mitigation efforts are inadequate, with 90% of the collected revenue returned to low-polluting taxpayers through Revenue Canada rebates.

• Help to re-skill existing workers and create opportunities for youth in highly skilled trades and science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

• Updates to regulations on air pollution, contaminated site cleanup, chemicals management, and transparency in these areas.

• By 2020, a completed re-evaluation of remaining legacy pesticides.

• An action plan to implement the Canada-wide strategy on zero plastic waste.

• Support for remote and northern communities in building capacity and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including reduced reliance on diesel.

• Protection of nature: $1.35 billion (Budget 2018) for the Nature Legacy to support nature conservation and protection activities, including conserving and protecting at least 17% of our land and freshwater; protecting and recovering species at risk and their habitats; and improving Canada’s natural environment. Includes $500 million for the new Canada Nature Fund to support protection and conservation of ecosystems, landscapes and biodiversity, including species at risk, and aligns with ocean conservation work under the federal Oceans Protection Plan.


There are several sections that relate directly to HRAI members and construction industry professionals, and others that will impact the lives and work lives of all Canadians.

• The Green Municipal Fund (Budget 2019) included $950 million to increase energy efficiency in residential, commercial, and multi-unit buildings. Delivered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

• The Energy Innovation Program - $52.9 million per year for projects focused on significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the areas of electricity, buildings, transportation and industry.

• Immediate expensing and accelerated depreciation tax incentives for low carbon technologies in commercial buildings (2018 Fall Economic Statement and Budget 2019).

• The publishing of net-zero energy ready code requirements starting in 2020, with the goal that provinces and territories adopt a net-zero energy ready model building code by 2030 to enable new buildings to consume as little energy as possible.

• Regulations have now been published, meeting commitments to the Kigali Amendment and the Pan-Canadian Framework, to reduce consumption of hydrofluorocarbons by 85%.

• The review of the Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone is complete and a new standard is expected to be announced by summer 2019. 

• The review of the Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards for fine particulate matter is underway and updated standards are expected to be finalized in 2021.

In recent weeks, HRAI has reported on two other programs that are not specifically mentioned in this strategy, but were also recently announced by the Federal government, and align with the spirit of this plan: the Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIF) and new developments with theMarket Transformation Roadmap.

Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIF)

Under the Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIF), small and medium-sized businesses in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick -- the four provinces where the federal price on pollution applies -- will be able to apply for:

• Refunds between 25% - 50% on the cost of new energy-saving equipment such as appliances, which could include fridges, dishwashers, heating and cooling equipment, anti-idling devices and high efficiency boilers.

• Funding of up to 25% of eligible costs for energy-efficient retrofits and other projects to improve energy efficiency, reduce their energy use and save money.

When implementing the carbon price the Federal government created tax advantages to ensure that 90% of collected revenues were rebated to taxpayers and announced that the remaining 10% would also be returned to the affected provinces through supports for small & medium sized businesses. The CAIF is designed to meet the latter commitment.

There are other dimensions to this program. Click here for more details.

Market Transformation Roadmap

NRCan announced during June that it will commence implementation of its “Market Transformation Roadmap” for space heating, water heating and windows, as part of the Pan Canadian Framework and the drive to decarbonise buildings. A governance structure will include an advisory council, co-chaired by Jamie Hulan at NRCan, and Martin Luymes, of HRAI. Implementation teams for space heating, water heating, and windows will provide technical input and assessments of activities. Team chairpersons have been named, and other members are being recruited.


Returning to the Achieving a Sustainable Future strategy, the government will set the example by greening its own operations and assets:

• Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from federal government facilities and fleets by 40% by 2030 (or 2025) and 80% below 2005 levels by 2050

• By 2022, all new federal buildings (including build-to-lease and public-private partnerships), starting at the latest in 2022, will be constructed to be net-zero carbon. New buildings and major building retrofits will prioritize low-carbon investments based on integrated design principles, and life cycle and total-cost-of-ownership assessments.

• By 2030, 75% of domestic office lease transactions must be carbon neutral.

• The government will use 100% clean electricity by 2025.

• Departments will develop a strategic approach and take actions to decarbonize their fleets (including on-road, air, and marine).


• A goal to increase the value of Canada's clean technology exports to $15.6 billion by 2025.

• Promotion of substantive climate change provisions in Canada's free trade agreements.

• $1.4 billion to the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada to increase access to capital to allow companies to scale into global competitors.

• Continuing support for the Emerging Renewable Power Program, which supports emerging renewables such as geothermal, tidal and offshore wind, and the Smart Grid Program.

• $50 million over the next 3 years for clean technology firms under the Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative (In addition to the $400 million in Budget 2017).

 As mentioned, it’s a highly detailed plan. You can read and/or download the strategy here: