3ThoughtThursday – federal budget edition!

The federal government’s long-awaited budget has finally arrived! After foregoing a budget in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this was the government’s first budget in two years, and it certainly packed a spending punch.

For the Clean Energy Frontier, this budget connects to the ongoing conversations that we’ve been having weekly on this blog. This includes: a heavy focus on net-zero, fueling standards for zero-emission vehicles, and emphasizing the role of agriculture in a net-zero future.


This week’s blog will look a little different than those of previous weeks. My colleague David Campbell of NII’s Bruce Power Centre for Next Generation Nuclear and I sat down to discuss our initial thoughts on the federal government’s budget earlier this week. Therefore, this post will be less text and more video of that conversation.


Let’s dive right in to 3ThoughtThursday – Budget 2021 Edition.

1. Net zero takes centre stage

There are several initiatives in this budget that highlight the government’s goal of reaching a net-zero future in Canada. From the Net Zero Accelerator to a multi-billion-dollar home retrofit program to tax breaks for zero emission technology manufacturers, it’s clear that net-zero is top of mind.

All you need to do is look at the increased references to net zero in this budget as compared to budgets of the past. David and I did this exercise earlier in the week by running keyword searches through budgets from 2011, 2019 and 2021 to show how often certain terms are used.

Take a look at the results in the video below:


2. Zero-emission vehicles

In this blog, we’ve talked a lot about zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), which include electric vehicles (EVs) and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.


This budget certainly supports the rollout of ZEVs but didn’t go as far as some may have hoped. Perhaps the recently tabled report from the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development that we talked about last week raised expectations too high.

That said, there is good news on this front including the Net Zero Accelerator that we referenced earlier, tax breaks for ZEV manufacturers and a $56.1 million commitment to develop codes and standards for retail ZEV charging and fueling stations.

We dig into this topic in the video below:


3. Agriculture and net zero

“Farmers are major players in Canada’s fight against climate change.” --Budget 2021

Connecting agriculture and our hard-working farmers to a net-zero future is critical. The Agricultural Climate Solutions program announced in Budget 2021 is an outstanding commitment that will fund important projects to accelerate emissions reductions through projects that seek to improve nitrogen management, increase adoption of cover cropping, and normalizing rotational grazing.

David and I talk about this program and generally about what this budget means for the Clean Energy Frontier in the video below:


And if you haven't had your fill of Budget 2021 talk yet this week, you can read our full behind-the-headlines conversation here.


--Chad Richards is the Director of the Clean Energy Frontier.