The Government of Canada is committed to supporting infrastructure projects that help build more sustainable communities, create well-paying jobs, better protect Canadians, and support the transition to a low-carbon, clean growth economy.
Today, the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, announced a new and important step in ensuring that infrastructure investments take into account the impact of projects on the environment during the planning and design stages.
As part of the Investing in Canada plan, applicants seeking federal funding for new major public infrastructure projects will now be asked to undertake an assessment of how their projects will contribute to or reduce carbon pollution, and to consider climate change risks in the location, design, and planned operation of a project.
This Climate Lens is a requirement of the Investing in Canada bilateral agreements being signed between Infrastructure Canada and the provinces and territories. The Lens also applies to the recently launched Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund and certain Smart Cities Challenge winning proposals.
The Climate Lens puts us on track to have climate change considered as a core part of Canada’s infrastructure planning.
To increase economic growth while also protecting the environment, the Government of Canada, through the Climate Lens, is helping infrastructure owners design better projects by assessing their opportunities to reduce carbon pollution and identify when they should be adapting project design to better withstand severe weather, floods and other possible natural disasters. A General Guidance document has been prepared to explain the required approach, define the scope of the assessment, and identify the specific information that must be submitted to Infrastructure Canada.
Taking climate change into account and building public infrastructure in a manner that helps it withstand natural disasters and severe weather will help fight climate change, reduce energy costs and provide Canadians with safer, more resilient communities. Protecting against natural disasters and severe weather will also help avoid major repairs to damaged community infrastructure which takes months or years to recover from the econ.
The introduction of the Climate Lens responds directly to a Parliamentary motion from MP Fillmore that the Government of Canada consider climate change impacts when assessing its future infrastructure investments.
The Climate Lens also addresses recommendations from the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development.
The Government of Canada will invest more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.
Applying the new Climate Lens is a requirement for projects valued over $10 million or any greenhouse gas mitigation or climate change resilience projects that are submitted under the $33 billion Investing in Canadabilateral agreements that are currently being signed between Infrastructure Canada and the provinces and territories. It is also a requirement for projects under the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund and certain Smart Cities Challenge proposals.
The Climate Lens encourages improved choices by project planners consistent with shared federal, provincial and territorial objectives in the Pan-Canadian Framework for Clean Growth and Climate Change.
Once a project is approved for federal funding, Climate Lens assessment expenses are retroactively eligible for cost-sharing.