Nature Canada

Green Budget Coalition’s Budget 2024 Recommendations

Every year Nature Canada joins 21 other leading environmental organizations to lay out recommendations for the Finance Minister and ensure Nature’s Voice is heard as the government plans its investments for the federal Budget.

We are now in an emergency. Extreme heat, floods, fires, stronger storms, ecological disruption, dramatic loss of wildlife populations, and a rapidly warming Arctic are being felt in Canada and around the world, causing widespread harm and more so to low-income and vulnerable people. Science indicates that these and other impacts will intensify if climate change and ecosystem destruction remain unchecked.

It is critical to take stronger action on the related climate and biodiversity crises.

Download the full document: Recommendations for Budget 2024

The Green Budget Coalition, comprising 22 of Canada’s leading environmental organizations, appreciated the major federal funding announcements for climate and nature in Budget 2023 and at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity COP15 in Montreal, and urges the government to continue to seize this opportunity to address the twin climate and biodiversity crises, create sustainable jobs, make life more affordable, and ensure enduring prosperity and well-being for all.

Canada will need to effectively use such existing funding and make further large investments in order to meet important commitments and targets.

For nature and biodiversity, Canada’s leadership in landing an ambitious new international framework for halting and reversing biodiversity loss (the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework) last December now must be followed by leadership to implement the agreement. Funding a comprehensive package of strategic measures to drive nature conservation and restoration in Canada is urgently needed and will also play a critical role in contributing to climate action.

On climate change, Canada needs to achieve a 60% reduction in GHG emissions below 2005 levels by 2030 and contribute our fair share to global emission reductions. Budget 2022 noted that $125-140 billion needs to be invested in climate action per year by 2050. According to a 2023 report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, quickly decarbonizing every sector of our economy would require investing 2% of Canada’s GDP over five years for a total of $287 billion, averaging $57 billion per year in addition to spending planned for 2022-2023.

Such investments will be amply repaid, with environmental, economic, and health benefits.

Building on the Green Budget Coalition’s expertise and consultations, this document provides a comprehensive package of ambitious and timely budget and fiscal recommendations which would advance major progress on nature and climate, while creating jobs, increasing equity and protecting individual and collective health.

The Green Budget Coalition is featuring five recommendations for Budget 2024:

  1. Financing nature protection and recovery in Canada – Deliver on Canada’s commitment to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by fully implementing the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework; creating a true climate-nature nexus by aligning the scale and maximizing complementarities between nature and climate investments, prioritizing permanent and long-term financing to support Indigenous-led conservation, and eliminating nature-negative subsidies;
  2. Renovation wave for climate resilient homes and affordable home energy – Recommending the federal government expand, complement, and coordinate existing investments and programs across all departments and centrally deliver home upgrades to ensure impactful investments that integrate health, affordability, and adaptation targets, and accommodate the unique needs of Indigenous, northern and remote communities ($24.3 billion over five years);
  3. Advancing a zero-emissions electricity grid based on renewables – Essential steps towards the major transformational investments required in the transmission, generation, and demand side of electricity, including remote Indigenous communities ($26 billion over five years);
  4. Sustainable jobs for a net-zero Canada – Scaling up investment in transition planning, job creation, and worker supports to ensure workers and communities have a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy ($12.2 billion over five years); and
  5. Advancing sustainable agriculture – Key recommendations to help producers and Canada be leaders in sustainable and innovative agriculture with a resilient and diversified food system ($4.5 billion over five years, then $134 million per year, ongoing).

For all new and ongoing environmental programs, we emphasize the importance of effective implementation, monitoring, and evaluation to ensure successful outcomes.

Relatedly, it is critical to maintain the government’s core capacity for environmental governance and environmental and climate science, programs, and policy, and to not sacrifice it in the interests of short-term financial savings. The Green Budget Coalition is concerned that the 3% cut to federal departments’ base budgets, announced in 2023, will constrain core capacity at a critical time, especially at ECCC, and hinder Canada’s ability to effectively implement environmental priorities.

Canada must also strive to advance and embed climate, biodiversity and environmental justice goals across government, using tools such as net-zero industrial policy, climate and biodiversity conditions on new funding transfers, climate and biodiversity lenses on spending and policy measures, and a national environmental justice strategy and screening tools.

Many of the recommendations in this document are relevant to the rights and authorities of Indigenous peoples – First Nations, Inuit, and Métis – whose traditional territories and knowledge are integral to the achievement of Canada’s climate and conservation goals. These recommendations should be considered in the context of reconciliation, and pursued in a manner in keeping with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

Implementing these Green Budget Coalition recommendations would lead to transformative progress in advancing enduring environmental, economic, and social prosperity for all peoples in Canada from coast to coast to coast.

For more information, see the full Green Budget Coalition Recommendations 2024.

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