OTTAWA, Sept 16 (Reuters) - A Canadian environmental working group called on Wednesday for billions in spending over the next five years to spur a green economic recovery, a week before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is due to outline his own plan to parliament.
Gerald Butts, formerly Trudeau’s top adviser who is no longer in government, was a member of the “Task Force for a Resilient Recovery,” an independent body with 15 members who are experts in finance, sustainability and policy and funded by five family foundations, according to the group.
It recommends, among other things, investing in green retrofits for homes and buildings and fostering the use and production of zero-emission vehicles.
Last month, Trudeau promised a sweeping long-term recovery plan, but the resurgence of COVID-19 in recent days may force him to focus on more immediate needs next week, sources said.
Canada has slowly reopened for business after some 3 million Canadians lost their jobs during the lockdown phase of the pandemic. But with schools reopening and local flare-ups, the country reported 1,351 new cases on Monday, the highest single daily addition since May 1.
“The question is what actions Canada’s governments can take over the next 1-to-5 years that will kickstart Canadian jobs and economic growth while bridging us to a clean, prosperous and resilient future,” the task force report reads.
The report recommends more than C$27 billion ($20.5 billion) over five years for retrofits.
It also includes regulatory measures aimed at creating standard ratings for a property’s climate resiliency and energy efficiency.
That would set the stage for green mortgages, which permit borrowers to reduce their utility-bill costs by incorporating energy-efficient features into a new housing purchase or the refinancing of existing housing, and it would allow insurers to better gauge risk.
“Catalyzing a new resilient retrofits market will lay the groundwork for new financial tools, such as green mortgages,” said Don Forgeron, president and chief executive of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, who is also a member of the task force.
“This report is important because it recognizes that adaptation must be front and centre for Canada’s pandemic recovery strategy,” Forgeron said in an email.
The report urges C$7 billion to “jumpstart” the use and production of zero-emissions vehicles, and says there should be a national mandate requiring manufacturers to offer an increasing number of such vehicles. ($1 = 1.3183 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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