Good morning, everyone. Thanks for having me.
Let me start off by expressing my appreciation to the committee for the invitation to appear once again to discuss the main estimates. I'm joined today by my deputy minister, Michael Martin; the CEO of Parks Canada, Alan Latourelle; and the president of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, Ron Hallman; and Janet King, president of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.
I'll begin with a brief statement and after that we will answer any questions that you may have. The main estimates before us today identify the initial budget requirements for Environment Canada and my portfolio agencies to carry out their important business for Canadians. The business and how we intend to move forward with these estimates will largely be the focus of my remarks.
First of all, I would like to stress that Environment Canada has one of the largest science programs in the federal government. Our world-class science provides the critical information we need to help ensure a clean, safe, and sustainable environment for Canada.
Secondly, I would like to highlight to the committee that this government recognizes that a healthy environment is supported and maintained by a healthy economy. Our focus has been to protect both the environment and the economy.
The third point that I would like to emphasize is that Canada's environment is a shared responsibility between all levels of government. Collaboration among governments is absolutely essential to progress on any environmental issues. This is why we have been working with the provinces and the territories to develop, implement, and enforce meaningful regulations and policies that protect our environment. That includes regulating two of Canada's largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions—transportation and coal-fired electricity—to address climate change and improve air quality.
As a result of Canada's coal regulations, Canadians can expect to see a cumulative reduction of about 240 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions during the first 21 years. This is equal to removing 2.6 million personal vehicles from the roads per year over that period. We have also invested more than $10 billion in green infrastructure, energy efficiency, clean energy technologies, cleaner fuels, and smarter power grids. We intend to regulate HFCs, which are the most potent and fastest-growing greenhouse gases in the world.
In addition, I recently announced three actions to further reduce Canada's emissions. We intend to develop regulations that are aligned with the United States to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, while ensuring Canadian companies remain competitive. We also plan to develop regulations for the production of chemicals and nitrogen fertilizers, which are two of the largest sources of emissions in Canada's manufacturing sector. As well, we intend to build on our existing regulations for coal-fired electricity generation by taking actions to regulate emissions from natural gas-fired electricity generation.
Canada already has one of the cleanest energy mixes in the world, with nearly 80% of our electricity supply emitting no greenhouse gases. These new regulations will strengthen our position as a clean energy leader. Moving forward, we will work together cooperatively with the provinces and the territories, while respecting their jurisdictions.
On the international stage, Canada has already fully delivered on its $1.2-billion investments in fast-start financing. We also pledged $300 million to the Green Climate Fund to support the international community's efforts to address climate change. Earlier this month I announced that Canada will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. This target is fair and ambitious, and it is in line with other major industrialized countries and reflects our national circumstances, including Canada's position as a world leader in clean electricity generation.
I'm also glad to report to the committee that Canada's targets have been positively received internationally as delegates of several countries personally thanked me last week in Berlin for bringing forward such an ambitious target. Additionally, while I was in Berlin, I was able to highlight Canada's leadership during its Arctic Council chairmanship, where we successfully saw the creation of a framework to address black carbon and methane. Building on these results, I invited countries to sign on to this framework to phase out these climate pollutants.
In addition to these actions on climate change, our government introduced the national conservation plan last May. The plan includes $252 million over a five-year period for a variety of conservation initiatives. Since its launch we have already made substantial progress on stewardship efforts to conserve and restore lands and waters across the country.
Moving forward, budget 2015 includes $75 million over three years to help conserve Canada's species at risk and their valuable habitat through the implementation of the Species at Risk Act.
To further this progress, this February, I held the first ever meeting of federal-provincial-territorial ministers responsible for conservation, wildlife, and biodiversity. This was a very important meeting and it resulted in a number of constructive decisions, such as establishing a federal-provincial-territorial task force for cooperation to address invasive species in Canada. The federal-provincial-territorial ministers also committed to working more closely on issues related to species at risk, and on initiatives for selected species such as caribou and bats.
These achievements demonstrate our government's ability to bring stakeholders together and engage them in meaningful discussions on issues of national importance.
At the same time Parks Canada has been playing a valuable role in expanding Canada's network of protected areas. Specifically, actions taken last year formally enshrined the Nááts'ihch'oh National Park Reserve and the Ukkusiksalik National Park of Canada in legislation. More recently we passed the legislation to create Rouge National Urban Park.
Since we formed the government, the budget for Parks Canada has increased by over 50%. This historic investment by our government is helping overcome the neglect Parks Canada had received under the previous government.
We're also continuing to improve water quality. We have made significant investments to protect and restore key water bodies, including the Great Lakes, Lake Winnipeg, and Lake Simcoe. We have a long history of working closely with Ontario and the United States and others to improve Great Lakes water quality, clean up contaminated sites, and restore and protect this important ecosystem.
Over the past five years we have been investing in new marine weather forecasts and bulletins, as well as better intelligence on sea ice conditions and waves, contributing to the safe navigation of Arctic waters. For example, earlier this year I announced an investment of $134 million that will allow Environment Canada to make upgrades to the monitoring networks and to the weather warnings and forecasts.
Budget 2015 is also investing $34 million over five years in the meteorological and navigational warning services to support safe marine navigation in the Arctic. Environment Canada will also invest $24.5 million over the next two years for capital infrastructure projects that will enhance services in the north and the access to wildlife areas.
Turning to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, budget 2015 will provide $34 million to the agency to conduct consultations related to projects assessed under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
I am also responsible for CanNor, the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency. Since its creation in 2009, CanNor has invested over $208 million in over 950 projects in sectors such as tourism, energy, and the fisheries, helping to strengthen training and skills development, community infrastructure, as well as small and medium enterprises. Right now it is working with over 30 companies. This represents a potential for $22.2 billion in capital infrastructure, and over 10,000 operating jobs in the north.
Mr. Chair, these are just a few highlights of the work we do, and our accomplishments. As you can see, their contribution is extremely important to Canadians. To continue our good work for Environment Canada the main estimates total is $961.1 million. Compared with last year's main estimates, this is a planned spending increase of $28.9 million or 3.1%.
New funding includes $46.6 million to implement the national conservation plan. The estimates also include $20.1 million to modernize Canada's weather services monitoring and prediction infrastructure. In addition, this government is also investing $5.3 million to continue the development and implementation of regulations under the clean air regulatory agenda, which supports Canada's actions to address climate change.
Turning to Parks Canada, the main estimates total $737.3 million. Compared to last year this is an increase of $124.8 million. This is due to our record investments through economic action plan 2014 to make improvements to highways, bridges, and dams located in national parks and along historic canals.
Our government is also investing $2.6 billion to support infrastructure improvements to national historic sites, national parks, and national marine conservation areas across Canada. This historic investment is the largest in the history of Parks Canada and will be reflected in the supplementary estimates.
For the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, its planned expenditure for 2015-16 is $50.7 million. Compared to last year, this is an increase of approximately $20 million.
As for CEAA, budget 2015 includes $34 million over five years to continue consultations with Canadians related to projects assessed under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and $135 million over five years for the major projects management office initiative. These funding allocations will be reflected in future estimates.
Mr. Chair, I would like to thank you and the committee for your time today, and I'd be happy to respond to any questions you may have.