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Modern and resilient infrastructure

Long-term goal

Modern, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure supports clean economic growth and social inclusion

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Why is this issue important

Green infrastructure—including water and wastewater systems, clean energy, low-carbon transportation, climate-resilient infrastructure like flood mitigation systems, and structural or natural infrastructure to protect against a changing climate and reduce impacts of natural hazards within communities—protects the natural environment, supports healthy and resilient communities, drives economic growth, and improves our quality of life.

We need modern water and wastewater facilities to ensure that Canadians have clean water to drink and to protect our lakes, rivers and oceans from pollution. Clean energy infrastructure will help decrease greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Deployment of electric vehicle chargers, natural gas and hydrogen refuelling stations will help lower barriers to using low-carbon transportation options. And as the impacts of climate change continue to manifest, climate-resilient infrastructure that protects Canadians will become increasingly important to sustain economic, environmental and social well-being.

In addition to green infrastructure, other infrastructure investments—for example, to provide affordable housing and upgrade public transit—also contribute to environmental sustainability, economic prosperity and improved quality of life.

Canada's climate lens for infrastructure investment

As of 2018, a climate lens will be applied to select programs under our long-term infrastructure plan. The climate lens supports proponents in designing better projects by assessing opportunities to reduce carbon pollution and identifying when they should be adapted to better withstand severe weather, floods and other possible natural disasters linked to climate change.

The climate lens encourages improved choices by project planners consistent with shared objectives under the Pan-Canadian Framework. It will apply to projects with eligible costs of a value greater than $10 million under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, all projects under the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, and select finalists of the Smart Cities Challenge.

Canada in the world

Investing in infrastructure supports the 2030 Agenda and its global Sustainable Development Goals—in particular SDG 6, Clean Water and Sanitation; SDG 7, Affordable and Clean Energy; SDG 9, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; and SDG 13, Climate action. It also supports a specific SDG target, as well as other international agreements and initiatives.

For details on how this goal supports international action, see Annex 3.

Connections with other FSDS areas

Investing in infrastructure supports FSDS targets related to clean energy, climate action, clean drinking water, and building safe and healthy communities:

  • investing in green infrastructure can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce air pollution, and protect communities from climate impacts
  • investing in wastewater infrastructure helps prevent water pollution and protect sources of drinking water
  • investing in lower-carbon transportation infrastructure supports the use of clean energy

Our partners

Provinces, municipalities, territories, and Indigenous peoples own most of Canada's public infrastructure and are essential partners in infrastructure investment. We are committed to working collaboratively with our partners on their infrastructure priorities.

The vast majority of core public infrastructure (such as water and wastewater systems, roads and bridges) are owned by the provinces and territories (38.1%) and municipalities (59.8%). Working with other orders of government and aligning priorities and programs is key to implementing several programs under our long-term infrastructure plan. Bilateral agreements with provinces and territories in particular represent a key delivery mechanism, and these partnerships allow us to leverage and thus significantly increase the reach of infrastructure funding.

Provinces and territories across the country are investing in green infrastructure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or to adapt to emerging climate change impacts. For example, Saskatchewan is making significant investments in reducing electricity emissions through the development and installation of the world's first major post-combustion carbon capture use and storage facility. Carbon captured using this technology can be permanently sequestered underground, whether in deep saline formations or by using it to enhance oil recovery.

Canadian provinces, territories and municipalities are also investing in green infrastructure to enhance resilience to floods, a major risk for many Canadians, while also improving environmental outcomes. For example, the Don Mouth Naturalization and Port Lands Flood Protection Project in Toronto is transforming the mouth of the Don River to create a more naturalized river outlet, while simultaneously providing critical flood protection to 240 hectares of Toronto's eastern waterfront. Further, Toronto's Green Roof Strategy is creating incentives and making grants available for the development of green roofs to improve storm water management, mitigate heat island effects, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.

Other governments and the private sector are taking action to support the development of a coast-to-coast fast-charging network for electric vehicles. For example, with funding provided through the Electric Vehicle and Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Deployment Initiative, BC Hydro has committed to build 23 electric vehicle fast chargers in BC, while Hydro-Quebec is building 100 fast chargers across Quebec. Meanwhile, Petro-Canada has announced that it will install more than 50 fast charging stations along the Trans Canada highway from Nova Scotia to BC.

Partners taking action - Infrastructure investment in New Brunswick

The governments of Canada and New Brunswick, along with the Village of New Maryland and Oromocto First Nation, have announced over $1.1 million in funding for 2 infrastructure projects that will benefit the people living in New Maryland and Oromocto First Nation:

  • in New Maryland, the funding will be used to extend a water main and storm sewer as well as rehabilitate an existing sanitary sewer
  • the second project involves the installation of solar thermal heating units on band owned buildings throughout the Oromocto First Nation community

Once completed, the 2 projects will help ensure New Maryland and Oromocto First Nation remain vibrant and healthy communities where people want to live, work and play.

Partners taking action - Electric vehicle charging stations

The Region of Peel is working to mitigate the effects of climate change by introducing 10 new electric vehicle charging stations. Natural Resources Canada provided funding towards the installation of 2 DC Level 3 Fast charging stations. These charging stations will encourage the use of electric vehicles, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while building a cleaner community.

Partners taking action - Municipal Natural Assets Initiative

The Municipal Natural Assets Initiative aims to equip local governments with the tools to identify and account for natural assets at the community level, as well as best practice guidelines for working with community stakeholders to increase natural asset management. The initiative has completed 5 pilot projects in Canadian communities with an additional 12 underway.

Université Laval: A Community Committed to Sustainable Development

Since formally incorporating sustainable development principles into its operations in 2007, Université Laval has been working to ensure that sustainable development values are integral in its operations. Among other actions, Université Laval is the first university in Canada to voluntarily become carbon-neutral through activities such as adopting energy efficient technologies and through offsetting initiatives such as the Montmorency Forest carbon sink. In addition, Université Laval has made education on sustainable development a priority. The University offers more than 383 courses that are linked to sustainability and requires all undergraduate students to learn the principles of sustainable development through, for example, seminars, courses, and lectures.

Responsible minister/Key departments and agencies

Minister of Infrastructure and Communities/ Indigenous Services Canada; Infrastructure Canada; Natural Resources Canada; National Research Council; Standards Council of Canada

Canada's starting point

In partnership with Statistics Canada, Infrastructure Canada released the first round of data from Canada's Core Public Infrastructure Survey between August and December 2018. These results, from reference year 2016, establish a comprehensive baseline of infrastructure data. The survey provides Canadians with information on asset management practices as well as the stock, condition, and performance of 9 different core public infrastructure asset classes owned or leased by provincial, territorial, regional and municipal governments. The next round of data will be collected in fall 2019 for reference year 2018.