National Green Building Strategy provides opportunity

The fall session of parliament kicked off at the end of September, and a busy legislative agenda has kept the federal government focused on tackling the rising cost of living, dealing with labour and supply challenges and moving forward with implementing its commitments on climate change and the environment.

In addition to tackling the issues of the day, work to implement Canada’s first National Green Building Strategy is well underway. This was a commitment made as part of Budget 2022, and consultations between the federal government and stakeholders are currently taking place. At the same time, the federal Finance Committee is engaged in discussions on Budget 2023. 

This is an exciting time and provides an opportunity for Insulators to engage on both fronts.

The federal government is specifically looking for input on strategies that can be implemented through the National Green Building Strategy to reduce building emissions and improve energy efficiency. Naturally, Insulators will seek to promote the benefits of mechanical insulation, and the importance of the work in this field being performed by certified journeymen and registered apprentices.

The National Green Building Strategy is expected to serve as a roadmap toward achieving the goals outlined in Canada’s 2030 Emission Reduction Plan, enroute to achieving net zero by 2050. Part of the strategy includes tackling building emissions, specifically those in the industrial and commercial sectors, which is one of Canada’s greatest GHG contributors.

This is a specialty of the Insulators and with initiatives underway by Locals across Canada, notably Local 131 in New Brunswick, we are positioned well to provide proven and tactile strategies that can be championed by the current federal government.

Leadership changes

Over the past few months, Canada and its provinces experienced many changes of political leadership. This fall saw new or re-elected premiers in three provinces, a new Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, as well as many mayors and new municipal councils.

As federal and provincial governments scale up investment in infrastructure spending in part to sustain our economic recovery from COVID, it is crucial that we move quickly to engage and connect with newly elected and existing elected officials to provide expertise and support for policy development.

This includes construction efforts that prioritize the benefits of using members and signatory contractors associated with our International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers and certified Insulators and registered apprentices.

In my role as Director of Canadian Affairs, I have been working with Summa Strategies and the Eastern and Western Canadian International Vice Presidents. Additionally, I have begun to work with Local Union Business Managers across the nation to advance our lobbying and engagement efforts with federal, provincial and municipal elected officials, their staff and relevant agencies.

This also includes relevant committees whose mandates present opportunities to collaborate, advocate and propose solutions to established priorities. Our current federal areas of focus include:

  • Investing and encouraging deep energy retrofits for industrial, institutional and commercial buildings through unique programs and incentives.
  • Building new infrastructure and investing in green technologies to support energy workers impacted by the transition to a green economy.
  • Continued and increased investment in apprenticeship support to further equip unionized training centres to meet new challenges and demands of the labour market.
  • Research and develop a Mesothelioma Patient Registry as the first step toward a National Asbestos Strategy.

Significant progress has been made in the last four years on issues of importance to the Insulators, and I look forward to working collaboratively to ensure our priorities remain top of mind for the federal government, as well as provincial and municipal governments across Canada.

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