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$1.2 billion boost for CleanBC announced in budget

$1.2 billion boost for CleanBC announced in budget
PROVINCE OF B.C. — B.C.’s 2020 budget includes a massive funding boost for CleanBC programs.

VICTORIA – B.C.’s new budget is pledging more than $1.2 billion in new funding for CleanBC’s efforts to reduce harmful emissions across sectors.

“Recent climate-related disasters have tested the people of British Columbia and reinforced the need for collective action to secure a low-carbon future,” said Selina Robinson, minister of finance, in a release. “Budget 2022 makes strong investments to help us fight climate change, and makes it easier and more affordable for people, communities and industries to make climate-smart decisions.”

To help communities reduce pollution and prepare for impacts of climate change, the province plans to begin a new local government climate action program, funded through $76 million over three years for local needs. This is in addition to commitments of up to $244 million from the province and federal government for the CleanBC Communities Fund.

Approximately $30 million will go towards local active transportation projects like bike lanes and multi-use pathways. This is in addition to $2.7 billion over the fiscal period in new funding for better public transit, such as the Broadway Subway and free transit for children 12 and under.

Roughly $10 million is being set aside for the CleanBC Plastics Action Plan projects to divert plastic waste and reduce emissions from landfills as part of a plan to expand B.C.’s circular economy initiative.

Electric vehicles will also get a boost. Vehicle rebates in the province total nearly $250 million and are funded through the Low Carbon Fuel Standard program. In addition, purchases of used zero-emission vehicles are now PST exempt until 2027.

B.C. is looking to help businesses stay competitive as they move to decarbonize. The province will give an additional $310 million to help reduce emissions from industry. This includes support for the CleanBC Program for Industry to expand the use of clean technology as well as measures to help reduce methane emissions and help make industrial operations net-zero ready.

The budget allocates $43 million for the CleanBC Better Homes, Better Buildings program, which supports energy efficient home improvements. It also removes the PST on purchases of heat pumps and provides additional incentives for people living in rural and northern regions. These changes will come into effect April 1.

Additional supportive funding has been committed through BC Hydro’s electrification plan, which aims to streamline the switch from fossil fuels to clean electricity.

Officials noted they intend to make the province’s clean transition affordable for all. With $120 million in funding to continue the Climate Action Tax Credit, Budget 2022 is looking to offset the impact of carbon taxes to low- and moderate-income individuals and families.

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