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Aid for Energy Heavily Weighted Towards Fossil Fuels in COVID-19 Response

July 15, 2020 3:15 PM | The Canadian Press

By The Canadian Press

Steel Mills

The steel mills on the waterfront harbour are shown in Hamilton, Ont., on Tuesday, October 23, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)

OTTAWA — Federal energy and environment officials were warned in late April that Canada’s clean-tech sector was in danger as COVID-19 knocked the bottom out of the industry.

Three months later, a new policy tracker on energy investments made by G20 countries shows Ottawa and the provinces have put very little on the table to help clean-tech companies directly, while targeting fossil-fuel producers with more than $16 billion in aid.

Documents prepared for Natural Resources Canada deputy minister Christyne Tremblay ahead of an April 20 meeting, and obtained through an access to information request, say a recent survey showed revenues and jobs in the clean tech sector were both expected to fall more than 50 per cent this year.

With investments in research and development for clean tech disappearing rapidly, the documents say the industry warned it was facing a possible “extinction-level event.”

The oil industry is also badly hurt by the pandemic, with global demand down drastically and oil prices falling to record lows in April.

This week, a new energy policy tracker released by a consortium of international environment organizations shows in Canada, of more than $16.3 billion invested by provincial and federal governments in the energy sector this year, $223 million has been earmarked for clean technology.

CP - The Canadian Press