In 2015, Canada’s building sector accounted for approximately 12% of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions, according to Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Canada’s Built Environment , a November 16 report from the Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources. The report discusses “a wide range of policy tools and technology solutions that could lower building sector GHG emissions, including: national building codes; energy efficiency standards and labels; technology research, development, and demonstration; fuel-switching for space heating; federal investments in buildings; and, the role of cities and urban design.” In its concluding statements, the Committee notes that the existing federal Build Smart Strategy faces pressures of climate-change related urgency, as well as the need to harmonize and work with the various provincial jurisdictions. In the discussion of energy efficiency, the report cites the testimony of David Lapp of Engineers Canada, in which he states that each $1 million invested in energy efficiency improvements is estimated to generate up to $3 to $4 million in gross domestic product and up to 13 jobs. The report provides links to the testimony of all witnesses who appeared before it – no unions or worker representatives appeared.
Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Canada’s Built Environment is the last of five interim reports by the Senate Committee regarding Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy. A final report is scheduled to be released later in 2018, compiling all five studies and issuing recommendations for the government.
The government has already received recommendations on the topic, from the June 2018 report of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development: Better Buildings for a Low-Carbon Future , and in French, De Meilleurs Bâtiments Pour un Avenir À Faibles Émissions de Carbone . In October, the Government released its Response report (French version here), which included reaction to the Committee’s Recommendation # 4, 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 net-zero energy ready codes.” The Government response offers only a reaffirmation of its commitment to existing skills training, upgrading and apprenticeship programs. What little new thinking there is comes in the statement regarding green jobs: “The Government is also supporting the development of specific skills required for employment in green jobs. For example, the Green Jobs Science and Technology Internship program is investing more than $16 million to create 1,200 jobs as part of Canada’s Youth Employment Strategy. This program provides opportunities for post-secondary graduates to gain relevant work experience through green jobs in science, technology, engineering and math fields in the natural resources sector. NRCan is also exploring opportunities to collaborate with non-government organizations, trade associations and provincial and territorial governments to develop training resources to support implementation of net-zero energy ready codes by 2030.”