On June 18, the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development presented their latest and 17th report, Better Buildings for a Low-Carbon Future . The Committee mandate included the collective of residences, commercial buildings, and institutional buildings – which are responsible for approximately 12% of total greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.
The research for the Standing Committee report began in February 2018 and consisted of four meetings, during which Committee members heard from 19 witnesses and received five written briefs from witnesses – including government officials, industry associations such as the Building Owners and Managers Association, real estate developers such as Landmark Homes, Canada Green Building Council, Passive House Canada – but no labour unions or worker organizations . Testimony is available from this link , and a Brief from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada has also been made public.
The report summarizes the provisions related to the built environment in the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Energy and Climate Change, also available in the federal 2018 Status Report on the Framework), discusses the building codes in Canada, and addresses the unique situations of heritage buildings and buildings in Canada’s North. The Committee makes 21 specific recommendations, including:
#1 “the National Research Council, working with the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes, publish the national model energy codes for both new and existing buildings as soon as possible, and for existing buildings no later than fiscal year 2022-23”;
#4 “The Committee recommends that Employment and Social Development Canada ensure that programs exist or are established to address the labour transition required so that skilled personnel are available to implement netzero energy ready codes;
#6 “The Committee recommends that Infrastructure Canada work to provide significant funding in order to accelerate energy retrofits of commercial, institutional, and multi-residential buildings in the public and private sectors, such as through the Canada Infrastructure Bank”;
#10 “The Committee recommends that Natural Resources Canada, the National Research Council, and Environment and Climate Change Canada include building operator and building inspector training as part of federal funding, research, and incentive programs aimed at improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the built environment”;
#16 “The Committee requests that the federal government focus more attention on its Greening Government Strategy and report back to the Committee on its progress by the end of 2018 .”