Québec budgets $6.7 billion for emissions reduction and electrification adoption
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Mar 12, 2020
Luke Sarabia

Quebec’s “plan for a green economy” includes funding for EV purchase rebates, transit electrification, EV battery recycling programs, and flood impact mitigation

Québec’s “plan for a green economy” includes funding for EV purchase rebates, transit electrification, EV battery recycling programs, and flood impact mitigation

The government of Québec unveiled its 2020-2021 provincial budget Tuesday, which will commit $6.7 billion of funding over the next six years to a number of initiatives designed to combat the climate crisis and encourage the continued electrification of transportation.

The new funding, $322 million of which will be spent in 2020, constitutes part of the province’s “plan for a green economy” (PGE). According to Québec’s Minister of Finance, Eric Girard, the PGE is designed to reduce Québec’s greenhouse gas emissions by 37.5 per cent below the level they were at in 1990 by 2030, and by 80 to 95 per cent below that level by 2050.

“This will be the largest environmental project in the history of Québec”

-Eric Girard, Finance Minister of Québec

Of the total sum, $1.4 billion will be spent on the Roulez vert program, which encompasses several initiatives designed to encourage Québec drivers and fleet managers to purchase electric vehicles.

The most well-known of those is the province’s EV purchase rebate program, through which those purchasing eligible new electric vehicles can receive up to $8,000 off of their purchase, and up to $4,000 towards the purchase of a used electric vehicle. The renewed investment will provide for the continuation of those rebates through March 2021.

Also to be renewed under the Roulez vert program are partial rebates for EV charger installations. Those purchasing a single charger for home use will continue to receive $600 rebates, and chargers for multi-unit building charging stations are eligible for rebates of up to $5,000 per connector.

An electrified future

Delivering the budget before the province’s National Assembly, Girard put the PGE and the budget measures designed to support it in perspective.

“Giving priority to electrification is logical,” he said.

“Thanks to our hydroelectricity, we are lucky to have an abundant, clean source of electric power that is competitively priced. This is an undeniable asset in a time of climate change. We intend to take full advantage of this asset to increase our wealth while also fighting climate change.”

In other electrification news, the budget includes funding to assist six Québec cities and regions with improving the electrification of their public transit networks. In addition to Montreal, those areas are Québec City, Gatineau, Longueuil, Laval and Montérégie. According to the budget, the money will go towards efforts such as extending light rail systems and creating electric public transit projects, although the exact nature of those projects was not specified.

The government will also devote $27 million over five years to research and develop new electromobility technology, and $18 million over five years to bolster the province’s electric vehicle battery recycling capabilities.

Québec currently has the highest number of electric vehicles of any Canadian province. The percentage of new vehicle sales represented by EVs, however, is slightly higher in British Columbia, a province with a much smaller population.

“A green and prosperous Québec”

“Our second budget marks an important turning point for the future of Québec. By announcing unprecedented investments to implement an ambitious environmental plan, we are banking on the development of a green economy that will enable us to create wealth and considerably reduce our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Girard.

“Starting today, we are taking decisive action to ensure that our children and grandchildren will live in a green and prosperous Québec.”

Indeed, several other programs included in Québec’s PGE aim to reduce reliance on fossil fuel-sourced energy and address the expected impacts of the climate crisis.

Solutions to mitigate the impact of flooding on Québec communities will receive $473 million to be spent in collaboration with municipal governments and the scientific community. This follows the historic flooding faced by Québec last spring, during which more than 1,000 soldiers were called to deploy 250 municipalities which were directly affected.  

The Chauffez vert program, which encourages homeowners to transition away from fossil-fuel based heating systems, will be renewed with $150 million of funding through March 2026. Single-family-home owners will continue to be able to receive $1275 for the replacement of a fuel oil heating system, or $250 for the replacement of an oil-fired water heater.

The green hydrogen industry, which according to Girard has significant potential for use in the industrial and heavy transport sectors, will also receive $14 million of funding over five years.

Québec’s budget follows the announcement of British Columbia’s provincial budget last month, which included a commitment of $419 million to the province’s CleanBC program, a climate action plan comparable to Québec’s PGE.

Canada’s federal budget for 2020 will be announced March 30. Many have speculated as to the degree to which federal emission-reducing initiatives, such as the EV purchase incentive of $5,000, will also receive expanded funding. 

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