Evidence of meeting #90 for Environment and Sustainable Development in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was regulations.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Olivier Champagne  Procedural Clerk, Journals Branch, House of Commons
Matt Jones  Assistant Deputy Minister, Pan-Canadian Framework Implementation Office , Department of the Environment
Joyce Henry  Director General, Office of Energy Efficiency, Energy Sector, Department of Natural Resources
Frank DesRosiers  Assistant Deputy Minister, Innovation and Energy Technology Sector, Department of Natural Resources
John Moffet  Acting Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Protection Branch, Department of the Environment
Matt Parry  Director General, Strategic Policy Directorate, Department of the Environment

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

I understand there was a broader analysis done within your department on the impact that a carbon tax would have, but when it was released to us, it was heavily redacted to the point where it actually had virtually no meaning. It was very difficult to decipher what the impact actually was.

I'm assuming I can take your assurance that an economic impact analysis will be released to Canadians for review without broad redaction of those documents.

10:10 a.m.

Acting Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Protection Branch, Department of the Environment

John Moffet

Yes, we will provide full economic analysis with no redaction.

I'd like to briefly explain the distinction. The clean fuel standard will be a federal regulation. It will apply uniformly across Canada. The federal government is not imposing a carbon tax across Canada. There will not be—

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

It's a backstop.

10:10 a.m.

Acting Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Protection Branch, Department of the Environment

John Moffet

The backstop will not apply throughout Canada. The backstop will only apply in jurisdictions that choose not to implement carbon pricing. Until such time as we know what those jurisdictions are, the economic analysis remains.... We've done broad economic analysis about the impacts of carbon pricing, but specifically what the impact to the carbon of the federal backstop will be depends on two things. First, it depends on what jurisdiction it gets applied in, and second, it depends on how that jurisdiction chooses to use the revenue that we've committed to return to them. We have no control over that, and so those two factors remain to be decided.

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Can I just—

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

Mr. Fast, I'm so sorry, but we have actually given you a minute and a half extra.

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

You've been so kind. Thank you.

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

I've been very generous because I think the answer was good for everyone.

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

There's so much more.

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

Ms. Duncan, please.

December 12th, 2017 / 10:10 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Thank you very much.

Going down the list of the things the federal government had committed to do under the pan-Canadian framework, one was to deliver a clean fuel standard by 2017. They then adjusted that; the draft would be issued by the end of 2017. So we're to understand that's delayed.

In both presentations, you listed hundreds of millions of dollars. I'm seeking clarity.

I'm looking at the budget that we're under right now. For 2016-17, there are zero dollars for any of these initiatives. For 2017-18, it's close to zero dollars. In fact, for adjusting the low-carbon economy fund under the pan-Canadian framework, for both the 2017 budget and the 2018 budget, money is being shifted to it after the next election.

Can you report on how much money was actually delivered in the first year of the pan-Canadian framework on all of these things that you've listed? Not detail by detail, but what's the total money that has actually been delivered in this first year of the pan-Canadian framework?

10:10 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Pan-Canadian Framework Implementation Office , Department of the Environment

Matt Jones

In terms of the funds that were created.... As you noted, there is a list of those, from green infrastructure to the funds supporting clean technology and innovation, and the low-carbon economy fund. It takes time to establish those funds, to set the criteria, to set the terms and conditions, to get Treasury Board approval, and so forth. There is of course rigorous financial management associated with the operation of those funds. We've been going through that process, and proper due diligence and proper financial management, in order to be prepared to roll out those funds.

In the case of the low-carbon economy fund, we have moved very quickly and will soon be coming to agreement with a number of provinces. Those funds will flow in 2018, but I don't have the—

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

That's fine.

So none of these dollars have flowed yet.

10:15 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Pan-Canadian Framework Implementation Office , Department of the Environment

Matt Jones

I don't have the figures in front of me. In terms of green infrastructure, I don't believe the dollars have flowed. There are infrastructure funds that have been used for national programs—

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

I'm not speaking about infrastructure. You haven't really spoken to those.

I'm talking about accelerating replacement of the coal-fired.... I'm talking about reducing reliance on diesel in indigenous...more energy-efficient transportation, and adaptation and climate change—a little bit was said would be spent there. Then there are about eight additional...where it's zero, zero, zero.

You were reporting as if, in the first year.... In the report, you give hundreds upon hundreds of millions of dollars. My question is simple. How much has actually gone out the door in the first year of the pan-Canadian framework?

10:15 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Innovation and Energy Technology Sector, Department of Natural Resources

Frank DesRosiers

Perhaps I'll answer for my colleague.

On the clean tech side, which I can speak to with some authority, all of the budget 2016 measures have been.... The projects have been selected, and we're in the process of announcing those. There were a number of them announced in the past weeks.

For budget 2017, we are again in the process of doing the project selection, based on the submissions we are receiving from the recipients. I foresee this playing out in terms of a decision in the first and second quarters of 2018. For announcements, it would probably be in the summer of 2018.

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Okay, I'll go on to my next question. I'm not getting a clear answer there.

I'm particularly interested in the coal conversion. My province, of course, has done incredible work. They were first off the plate. They brought back the deadline to 2030 instead of 2050. So far we have no federal regulations. I'm wondering if somebody can speak to that. When are the federal regulations going to be released? They were promised by the end of this month.

Are the plants that are using coal that are being allowed to convert to gas...? There have been concerns raised that you are not going to require the same pollution reductions as you would for a new gas plant.

I'm wondering if you could speak to both of those.

10:15 a.m.

Acting Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Protection Branch, Department of the Environment

John Moffet

I can address those.

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

And not just carbon, but particulate—mercury, NOx, sulphur, nitrous oxide, and so forth.

10:15 a.m.

Acting Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmental Protection Branch, Department of the Environment

John Moffet

The federal government already has regulations for coal-fired electricity generation. What we announced was an amendment to those regulations to accelerate the effective phase-out of coal-fired electricity. We published draft regulations, and we plan to publish the final version very early in the new year. Those regulations will have the effect of accelerating the effective phase-out date of coal-fired electricity generation up to 2030 from the previous regulations.

We're also planning to publish a final version of the natural gas-fired electricity generation regulations. Those regulations will set limits on new builds of natural gas and the modification of coal to natural gas. There will be some variation in the regulations between the standards for new and the standards for modified. There will also be some variation depending on the size of the facility because there are technical limitations in building small facilities to the same efficiency as large facilities. Again, we plan to publish those regulations very early in the new year.

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Moffet, I wonder if you could—

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

I hate to do this, but that was six minutes. It goes really fast.

Mr. Gerretsen.

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Thank you very much.

Thank you all for being here.

I have a number of questions. I apologize if I'm very quick and perhaps cut you off, but I just want to try to get through them.

In the slide deck in your comments, Ms. Henry—or Frank, if you want to answer now that you're here—you referenced $100 million as going toward advanced smart grid and storage technologies.

What's an advanced smart grid?

10:15 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Innovation and Energy Technology Sector, Department of Natural Resources

Frank DesRosiers

In plain language, a smart grid is all the utilities that manage all the power systems: the power production on one end and the power usage. Handling that constant shift in terms of production and demand is actually a very complicated thing.

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Is it production and demand specifically?