Federal Budget Provides for Unprecedented Investment in Nature, with 1.3 Billion Allocated


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, February 28, 2018

[KJIPUKTUK (HALIFAX)] –  Nature has become a focus after Canada’s federal budget was released yesterday, which included $1.3 billion for nature conservation with an expectation that another 500 million of matching funding from provinces, territories and private and non-profit sector will help create a “Nature Fund.” This marks the largest investment in nature conservation in Canadian history.

As an active member of the Green Budget Coalition, the Ecology Action Centre has been directly involved in crafting and submitting recommendations for the federal budget that relate to environmental issues and program funding. While much of the detail of where this funding will be spent has yet to be determined and it will be spent out over five years, conservationists see good news for species at risk, natural parks and protected area networks. As a party to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, Canada has already committed to reaching internationally agreed targets of protecting  at least 17% of its terrestrial environment and 10% of marine and coastal environments by 2020.

“We are absolutely delighted with the significant and important investment in conserving our land, water and wilderness,” says Raymond Plourde, Ecology Action Centre’s Wilderness Coordinator. ‘Protecting our wilderness is Canada’s responsibility to the world and a wonderful legacy to current and future generations.”

Proposed changes to several important environment laws including the Fisheries Act were announced earlier this month, and the newly announced budget also includes information on funding for the rollout and implementation of these changes.

“We are pleased with funding to implement the Fisheries Act,” says Susanna Fuller, Senior Marine Coordinator at the Ecology Action Centre, “and it is clear that with the $167 million allocated to research and protection for endangered whales, such as right whales and belugas in Atlantic Canada, that the government takes seriously the risk of extinction to these species.”

The Ecology Action Centre is also pleased to see the investment in science and research, with $1.7 billion representing the single largest investment in fundamental research in Canadian history.

Rebecca Brushett, Marine Campaign Coordinator at the Ecology Action Centre notes, “the majority of these investments are tied to specific government departments with many of the details still to be determined, so there remain a number of questions about how this funding will be allocated going forward. However, we are greatly encouraged that this funding is expected to be used in collaboration with the non-profit sector, conservationists and Indigenous groups.”

For further information, please contact:

Raymond Plourde
Wilderness Coordinator
902-442-5008 (office)
902-478-5400 (cell)

Susanna Fuller
Senior Marine Coordinator
902.483.5033
marine@ecologyaction.ca

Rebecca Brushett
Marine Campaign Coordinator
709.691.0485
rbrushett@ecologyaction.ca

Background

Additional budget items in the 2018 Federal Budget of importance to the Ecology Action Centre include:

  • Under reconciliation with indigenous groups the Government commits to provide an additional $172.6 million over three years, beginning in 2018–19, to improve access to clean and safe drinking water on reserves.
  • Invest approximately $1 billion over five years to support the proposed new impact assessment system and Canadian Energy Regulator.
  • Governments support of $109 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, to the Canada Revenue Agency and Environment and Climate Change Canada to implement, administer and enforce the federal carbon pollution pricing system
  • A total, excluding remaining amortization, of $109.3 million towards modernization of Canada’s weather forecast and severe weather warning systems and revitalizing water stations to improve weather and water services, through Environment and Climate Change Canada.
  • Under the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund, Government will invest $1.4 billion in projects that will generate clean growth and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while creating jobs for Canadians for years to come. Notably for Nova Scotia, $56 million will be allocated to expand an existing home retrofit partnership with Efficiency Nova Scotia and new funding will open up the retrofit programs so that any Nova Scotian home could be eligible; allowing Nova Scotians to lower their heating bills and help reduce emissions. (Previously announced.)