On December 13th, 2019, Prime Minister Trudeau released his mandate letters for each cabinet minister in his government. A mandate letter outlines the policy objectives that each minister will work towards over the next few years, and gives Canadians a sense of what to expect from this government. These mandate letters suggest we’ll see some exciting developments in the energy efficiency field in the coming years.

The Minister of Natural Resources, Seamus O’Regan, has been directed to:

  • Work with the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion and the Minister of Labour and partners to advance legislation to support the future and livelihood of workers and their communities in the transition to a low-carbon global economy.
  • Work with the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development to operationalize a plan to help Canadians make their homes more energy efficient and climate resilient. This will include:
    • providing free energy audits to homeowners and landlords
    • up to $40,000 in interest-free lending for retrofits that will save Canadians money on their energy use
    • a cash incentive for borrowers to maximize their energy savings
    • creating a Net Zero Homes Grant of up to $5,000 for newly built homes that are certified net zero-emissions
  • Make Energy Star certification mandatory for all new home appliances starting in 2022.
  • Launch a national competition to create four long-term funds to help attract private capital that can be used for deep retrofits of large buildings such as office towers.
  • Work with the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and the Minister of Indigenous Services to support the transition of Indigenous communities from reliance on diesel-fueled power to clean, renewable and reliable energy by 2030.

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson, has been directed to:

  • Implement the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, while strengthening existing and introducing new greenhouse gas reducing measures to exceed Canada’s 2030 emissions reduction goal and beginning work so that Canada can achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
  • Lead government-wide efforts to develop a plan to set Canada on a path to achieve a prosperous net-zero emissions future by 2050. This includes:
    • Setting legally-binding, five-year emissions-reduction milestones based on the advice of experts and consultations with Canadians; and
    • Working with the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry and the Minister of Natural Resources to position Canada as a global leader in clean technology.

The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, has been directed to:

  • Invest in skills training to ensure that there are enough qualified workers to support energy audits, retrofits and net zero home construction. 
  • Create the Canadian Apprenticeship Service in partnership with provinces, territories, employers and unions. This will involve establishing new initiatives so that Red Seal apprentices have sufficient work experience opportunities to finish their training on time and find well paying jobs, including providing up to $10,000 per apprentice over four years for every new position created.

Details and timelines for these new mandates are pending.