The Government of Canada has announced that as part of its 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.
“Our investments in infrastructure are making a difference in the lives of Canadians by addressing natural disasters and severe weather events. Addressing climate change goes hand in hand with growing a low-carbon, clean economy. 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,” said Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.
The new Climate Lens is a requirement of the 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.
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.
At the planning and design stage, project applicants will now need to assess whether their projects will increase or decrease greenhouse gas emissions. As a second component, they will need to consider ways to incorporate structural or system changes that will help their new infrastructure withstand the potential impacts of climate change and continue to perform reliably.
Once a project is approved for federal funding, Climate Lens assessment expenses are retroactively eligible for cost-sharing.