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Climate, clean tech could take centre stage in federal economic recovery plans

Last Updated Apr 9, 2020 at 4:24 pm EDT

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses Canadians on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Thursday, April 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA — The federal government is quietly looking at longer-term recovery plans from the COVID-19 crisis even as its focus remains squarely on getting more than $100 billion in emergency economic aid out the door.

The plan, while still in its infancy, is picking up in part from where the government’s economic strategy was headed before COVID-19 turned everything topsy-turvy: with a climate budget.

A spokeswoman for Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says stimulating cleaner economic growth with more jobs and less pollution will play a pivotal role in the recovery.

The federal budget, which was set to come March 30 before the pandemic delayed its release indefinitely, was promised to be a down payment on the government’s strategy to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Some of those plans are expected soon, including a massive investment to clean up orphaned oil wells in Alberta that is part of the federal strategy to find new jobs for energy workers leaving the oil patch.

Conference Board of Canada chief economist Pedro Antunes says a big economic stimulus package to restore the economy might be unnecessary as the harm done now should reverse itself when the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 9, 2020.

The Canadian Press