Today, Infrastructure and Communities Minister Catherine McKenna and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Francois-Philippe Champagne announced $2.75 billion in funding over five years, starting in 2021, to enhance public transit systems and switch them to cleaner electrical power, including supporting the purchase of zero-emission public transit and school buses.

“Better public transit, cleaner air, quieter streets, and a planet safe for our kids – that’s the goal of our investment in zero-emission buses across Canada,” said Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “By making this investment, we’re tackling climate change while creating good jobs and supporting manufacturing right now, here at home.”

This funding is part of an eight year, $14.9 billion public transit investment recently outlined by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and will also support municipalities, transit authorities, and school boards with transition planning, increase ambition on the electrification of transit systems, and deliver on the federal government’s commitment to help purchase 5,000 zero-emission buses over the next five years.

“As part of its $10 billion Growth Plan, the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) is committed to investing $1.5 billion in zero-emission buses,” said Ehren Cory, CEO of Canada Infrastructure Bank. “We will help create jobs, reduce greenhouse gases and make commutes cleaner.”

This investment will create more well paying jobs in Canada’s robust and growing electric vehicle manufacturing sector. Nova Bus in Saint-Eustache, Lion Electrique in Saint-Jérôme, GreenPower in Vancouver, and New Flyer in Winnipeg are examples of innovative companies that have been delivering zero-emission transit solutions.

Infrastructure Canada will ensure coordination between this investment and the Canada Infrastructure Bank commitment to invest $1.5 billion in zero-emission buses and associated infrastructure as part of its three year Growth Plan.

To date, Infrastructure Canada’s funding programs have supported the purchase of over 300 new zero-emission buses, and this trend is expected to accelerate.

“We welcome this Government of Canada funding announcement that will help cities and transit authorities across Canada transition to cleaner and more sustainable transit,” said Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa. “From our local perspective, we are rolling out four electric buses on our roadways this fall as part of a pilot project. Today’s funding opportunity announcement allows our staff to explore how we can speed up the electrification of the OC Transpo fleet.”

Mayor of Ottawa Jim Watson speaking at an Ottawa bus depot at today’s announcement.
(Screen capture from CPAC broadcast.)

Since 2015, the Government of Canada has approved $13.6 billion in funding towards more than 1,300 public transit projects across Canada . These investments have helped build more than 240 km of new public transit subway and light rail line, create over 380 km of active transportation trails, bike and pedestrian lanes, and already supported the purchase of over 300 zero emission buses.

“Zero-emission buses (ZEBs) will benefit Canadians by creating manufacturing and energy jobs in the low-carbon economy, while also transporting Canadians in a way that is safe, green, healthy and sustainable,” said Dr. Josipa Petrunic, president and CEO, Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium.Transit agencies and municipalities in Canada are ready for electrification, and the funds announced today will empower them to move forward towards the goal of 5000 ZEBs.”

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