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Task Force Urges $50B for ‘Bold’, Resilient Recovery, Including $27B for Building Retrofits

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An independent task force of Canadian finance and policy experts is calling on the federal government to invest C$50 billion over the next five years in five “bold moves for a resilient recovery”, with a $27-billion building energy retrofit program leading a list of 22 specific policy measures.

A resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic “means getting Canadians back to work at the same time as supporting the jobs, infrastructure, and growth that will keep Canada competitive in the clean economy of the 21st century,” the Task Force for a Resilient Recovery states in its preliminary report released Wednesday. It calls for five years of investments and policy measures “that go beyond short-term stimulus to put our economy on a low-carbon, climate-resilient, sustainable, and competitive pathway.”

In addition to its signature building energy retrofit program, the task force calls for an $11.5-billion investment in the country’s clean energy sector, $7 billion to “jumpstart Canada’s production and adoption of zero-emission vehicles,” $3.2 billion invested in nature, and $1 billion for “clean competitiveness” measures.

The task force sees a $13-billion direct investment in a “well-functioning building retrofit market” leveraging another $35 billion in private capital by de-risking the projects for investors, supporting regional energy efficiency finance networks, standardizing processes for launching and underwriting projects, and aggregating the work to make it interesting to big, institutional investors. Another $10 billion would go to provincial and municipal energy efficiency and resilience programs, $1.25 billion would support work force development, and $2 billion would go into “large-scale demonstration projects” to “significantly reduce the cost, time, and customer disruption of deep energy retrofits.”

The Toronto Star says the group plans to complete a final report while Ottawa is planning the next phase of the country’s post-COVID recovery (or possibly not, apparently). The building retrofit work, in particular, “is something where an enormous number of jobs can be created, existing technologies can be accelerated and commercialized, and in the event that buildings are improved through retrofit, it will result in a better environment for tenants and workers, it will result in increased value for property owners,” said task force member Andy Chisholm, a member of the Royal Bank of Canada board of directors who served on the federal Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance.

Find the rest of the Task Force report here.

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