Skip to content
A train in the  Netherlands.

September 25, 2018

Building Canada’s low-carbon approach to infrastructure investments

We are in the midst of a defining moment that will determine the future of our cities and their infrastructure. It’s the time to move forward, choosing to build our cities in ways that are sustainable, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through government decision-making.

The Government of Canada is making historic new investments in infrastructure to build the cities of the 21st century through its Investing in Canada Plan – spending more than $180 billion over 12 years on infrastructure priorities – and the newly established Canada Infrastructure Bank, which will create a pool of $35 billion for public-private partnership financing.

At the same time, the federal government has committed to transitioning to a low-carbon, resilient economy. The Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change provides a plan to grow Canada’s clean economy while meeting the country’s target to reduce GHG emissions 30% below 2005 by 2030, and building resilience to adapt to a changing climate.

With this unprecedented investment into public infrastructure, now is the time to ensure it is sustainable and low-carbon.

Future Cities Canada’s new report Building Canada’s Low-Carbon Approach to Infrastructure Investments through Prioritization, Policy and Procurement provides recommendations for Canada’s federal and provincial governments on the policies that will drive clean innovation and growth in our cities.

A snapshot of some key points of the eight recommendations:

  • At the federal level, when an opportunity emerges to update the Climate Lens, include reference to Low-Carbon Approach (LCA) as a tool to quantify both direct and indirect emissions. LCA should be applied as part of the screening and eligibility requirements for infrastructure funding transfers to provinces for  bilateral agreements with provinces and territories, funding from the Canada Infrastructure Bank and funding from the Smart Communities Challenge Fund.
  • Ensure an enterprise-wide approach to reducing GHG emissions by including a requirement in mandate letters for government ministries and agencies to establish climate change objectives, targets and to integrate LCA and life cycle costing (LCCA) into decision-making
  • Require LCA and LCCA as criteria and a tool in prioritization of infrastructure investments. For example, prioritizing infrastructure projects that would support government objectives to reduce GHG emissions and contribute to other government policies regarding transportation options and complete communities

To read all the recommendations and for more on Building Canada’s Low-Carbon Approach, read the report.