Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, has announced a new and important step in ensuring that infrastructure investments take into account the impact of projects on the environment during the planning and design stages.
“Addressing climate change goes hand in hand with growing a low-carbon, clean economy,” Sohi said. “That is why I am pleased to announce that going forward, the environmental and climate change impacts of a project will be assessed when making new public infrastructure investments.”
As part of the Investing in Canada plan, applicants seeking federal funding for new major public infrastructure projects will now be asked to undertake an assessment of how their projects will contribute to or reduce carbon pollution, and to consider climate change risks in the location, design, and planned operation of a project.
“We know Canada’s climate is changing, and the impacts of climate change and extreme weather are already costing Canadians billions of dollars each year.,” said Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change. “By considering how infrastructure projects can better contribute to fighting climate change and ensuring that infrastructure is built to last as our climate changes, we’re investing in more resilient, sustainable communities.”
This Climate Lens is a requirement of the Investing in Canada bilateral agreements being signed between Infrastructure Canada and the provinces and territories. The Lens also applies to the recently launched Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund and certain Smart Cities Challenge winning proposals.
The Climate Lens puts us on track to have climate change considered as a core part of Canada’s infrastructure planning.
To increase economic growth while also protecting the environment, the Government of Canada, through the Climate Lens, is helping infrastructure owners design better projects by assessing their opportunities to reduce carbon pollution and identify when they should be adapting project design to better withstand severe weather, floods and other possible natural disasters. A General Guidance document has been prepared to explain the required approach, define the scope of the assessment, and identify the specific information that must be submitted to Infrastructure Canada.
Taking climate change into account and building public infrastructure in a manner that helps it withstand natural disasters and severe weather will help fight climate change, reduce energy costs and provide Canadians with safer, more resilient communities. Protecting against natural disasters and severe weather will also help avoid major repairs to damaged community infrastructure which takes months or years to recover from the economic and social impacts.
Applying the new Climate Lens is a requirement for projects valued over $10 million or any greenhouse gas mitigation or climate change resilience projects that are submitted under the $33 billion Investing in Canada bilateral agreements that are currently being signed between Infrastructure Canada and the provinces and territories.