Canada Federal Budget 2014: initiatives relevant to the environment sector

We know from recent years that an omnibus federal budget implementation bill, released subsequent to the Budget itself, may contain environment-related initiatives that are not apparent from the budget documents released along with the Finance Minister’s budget presentation. Hence the following extract from the 2014 Federal Budget should be considered preliminary. Canada Federal Budget 2014 environment and energy related initiatives, in no particular order, include:

  • an additional $500 million over two years to the Automotive Innovation Fund to support significant new strategic research and development projects and long-term investments in the Canadian automotive sector.
  • committing to respond to the recommendations made by the Tanker Safety Expert Panel and the Special Representative on West Coast Energy Infrastructure.
  • action to deepen bilateral cooperation between Canadian and U.S. regulators to reduce duplication, streamline

    operations and eliminate the burden of unnecessary requirements on stakeholders. This will include changes to Canada’s regulatory processes to 

    help synchronize the adoption of technical regulations in areas where Canada

    and the U.S. have similar policy objectives.

  • amendments to the Hazardous Products Act and other consequential amendments to align and synchronize implementation of common classification and labelling requirements for workplace hazardous chemicals.
  • consultations with the private sector to develop a “Made-in-Canada” branding campaign.
  • an updated Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy will be released later this year.
  • new support for research and innovation totalling more than $1.6 billion over the next five years. This includes the largest annual increase in research support through the granting councils in over a decade when fully phased in, providing stable and predictable funding for leading-edge research, including discovery research funded through core granting council programming.
  • steps to foster social innovation through projects at colleges and polytechnics, and support the translation of knowledge into new business opportunities that benefit Canadians.
  • the Canada First Research Excellence Fund will have $1.5 billion in funding over the next decade, $50 million in 2015–16, growing to $100 million in 2016–17, $150 million in 2017–18, and reaching a steady-state level of $200 million annually in 2018–19, to help Canadian post-secondary institutions excel globally in research areas that create long-term economic advantages for Canada.
  • $15 million per year to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, to support advanced research in the natural sciences and engineering.
  • $7 million per year for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, to support advanced research in the social sciences and humanities.
  • Mitacs, a Canadian not-for-profit organization, is a leader in facilitating industry-academic research collaborations that help to prepare talented graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to become the next generation of innovators and research and development (R&D) managers. Mitacs’ programming includes the Elevate initiative, which provides postdoctoral fellows with industry-relevant research experience and training. Mitacs will be provided with $8 million over two years to Mitacs in order to expand its Elevate program. Going forward, Mitacs will become the single delivery agent of federal support for postdoctoral industrial R&D fellowships, as the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s Industrial R&D Fellowships program will be wound down with its resources redeployed to other priorities within the Council, including basic discovery research.
  • $117 million over two years for Atomic Energy of Canada Limited to maintain safe and reliable operations at the Chalk River Laboratories, ensure a secure supply of medical isotopes and prepare for the expected transition of the laboratories to a Government-Owned, Contractor-Operated model.
  • the Government will develop and present detailed responses to the recommendations made by the Tanker Safety Expert Panel and the Special Representative on West Coast Energy Infrastructure.
  • eliminating tariffs on mobile offshore drilling units used in offshore oil and gas exploration and development.
  • $66.1 million over two years to renew the Atlantic Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative and the Pacific Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative.
  • supporting mineral exploration by junior companies by extending the 15-per-cent Mineral Exploration Tax Credit for flow-through share investors for an additional year.
  • $90.4 million over four years to continue to support the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation program.
  • $18 million over four years for early intervention to prevent the spread of spruce budworm in Atlantic Canada and Quebec.
  • working with territorial governments to develop transportation infrastructure in the North.
  • $391.5 million over five years on a cash basis to the Parks Canada Agency to make improvements to highways, bridges and dams located in our national parks and along our historic canals.
  • $15 million over two years to extend the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program.
  • encouraging additional donations of ecologically sensitive land by doubling, for income tax purposes, the carry-forward period for donations of such land.
  • $10 million over two years to improve and expand snowmobile and recreational trails across the country.
  • $3 million over three years to support the Earth Rangers Foundation to expand its existing family-oriented conservation and biodiversity programming.
  • expanding tax incentives for clean energy generation to include a broader range of equipment.
  • provide $28 million over two years to the National Energy Board to review project applications, such as TransCanada Pipelines Limited’s Energy East Pipeline Project, within legislated timelines to provide timeline certainty and to enhance the Participant Funding Program. This funding will be fully cost-recovered from industry.
  • permanently eliminate tariffs on mobile offshore drilling units used in offshore oil and gas exploration and development.
  • extend the 15-per-cent Mineral Exploration Tax Credit for flow-through share investors for an additional year.
  • the Agricultural Growth Act will enhance trade opportunities and the safety of agricultural products, reduce red tape and contribute to Canada’s overall economic growth. The legislation will also amend the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act to align it with the 1991 Convention of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV 91). Stronger intellectual property rights for plant breeders will encourage investment in Canadian research and development, improving access to new and innovative seed varieties for Canadian farmers. The new legislation includes Farmers’ Privilege, allowing farmers to continue to save and reuse seeds for replanting on their own farms.
  • $1.25 billion over five years for a renewed P3 Canada Fund to continue supporting innovative ways to build infrastructure projects through public-private partnerships (P3s).
  • $6 billion in federal support to provinces, territories and municipalities under current infrastructure programs in 2014–15 and beyond.
  • $155 million over 10 years for First Nations on-reserve infrastructure from the new Building Canada Fund, in addition to allocations from the Gas Tax Fund.
  • infrastructure projects with eligible costs of more than $100 million submitted for federal funding under the new Building Canada Fund will be subject to a P3 screen.
  • $200 million over five years to establish a National Disaster Mitigation Program; $40 million over five years for disaster mitigation in First Nations communities; and $11.4 million over five years on a cash basis to upgrade the earthquake monitoring system to incorporate more advanced technologies that provide timely public alerts in high-risk and urban areas.
  • $323.4 million over two years to continue the First Nations Water and Wastewater Action Plan.
  • the 5-year carry-forward period for claiming donations of ecologically sensitive land will be doubled to 10 years.
  • a freeze on departmental operating budgets will apply for two years beginning in 2014–15.
  • the Accelerated Capital Cost allowance of 50 per cent per year on a declining-balance basis will be expanded to include water-current energy equipment and equipment used to gasify eligible waste fuel for use in a broader range of applications.

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