Written by John Nicholson, M.Sc., P.Eng., Editor
The Ontario government recently issued its budget for the 2019 fiscal year. The budget was considered in some circles as not favouring the environment. One environmental activist organization went as far as calling it ““the most anti-environmental budget in Ontario” since Mike Harris was in power in the 1990’s.
For starters, the government cut $300 million from the budget for the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks. The cuts
from that Ministry’s budget come from the end of programs funded by the cap-and-trade system, as well as the cancellation of the Drive Clean program for passenger vehicles.
If one looks closely enough at the budget, there was some good news to professionals that work in the environmental sector, including the following:
- A province-wide climate vulnerability assessment. The Government will assess the best science and information to better understand where the province is vulnerable and understand which regions and economic sectors are more likely to be impacted. Such an assessment is typical in the insurance industry and major companies. The findings from the assessment will feed into the Province’s Climate Plan announced in November 2018.
- Clean technology incentives. The Government has taken steps to encourage private investments in clean technologies. Through the Ontario Job Creation Investment Incentive, the Province is paralleling the Federal Government in allowing businesses to immediately write off investments made in specified clean technology capital equipment. This incentive will make investments in clean energy generation and energy conservation equipment more attractive.
- Industrial emissions performance standards. The Government is currently developing emissions performance standards for industries to achieve further greenhouse gas reductions. When the new standards are promulgated in a regulation, each industrial facility will be required to demonstrate compliance annually.
The budget included these and other sections that are encouraging indications the the Ontario government understands that value of the environmental and cleantech industries.