Government of Canada Supporting Local Climate Action in our Schools

March 15, 2021


Canadians want to see action on climate change, and they know that pollution cannot be free. That’s why the Government of Canada is ensuring that there is a fair, minimum price on carbon pollution across the country and is returning the revenues back to households to make life more affordable and to communities to help them cut pollution and save on energy costs.

Last week, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, and the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, announced that the federal government will provide approximately $40.8 million through the Climate Action Incentive Fund to upgrade 162 schools in Ontario to be more energy efficient. Energy-efficient schools will support better indoor air quality, leading to better health outcomes for Ontario students and educators, particularly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Energy-efficient buildings also pollute less and help schools save on energy costs while fighting climate change.

Through the Climate Action Incentive Fund, students in Guelph will benefit from cleaner air and more comfortable classrooms, including St. James Catholic School, in Guelph, who will receive $230,169 to replace its entire HVAC control system and associated equipment.

Upgrades to schools across Ontario are made possible by revenues from the federal carbon-pollution pricing system, which ensures that it is not free to pollute anywhere in Canada. In jurisdictions like Ontario, where the federal backstop currently applies, all revenues are returned to the province in which they were collected—approximately 90 percent of revenue goes back to families through the Climate Action Incentive rebate, leaving the majority of families better off. The other 10 percent is invested in pollution reduction projects—such as these proposed for schools.

In December 2020, Canada announced its strengthened climate plan, which builds on and accelerates climate action already underway, so we can exceed our 2030 Paris Agreement emissions reduction target and establish the building blocks to get to net-zero by 2050. The plan will make life more affordable for Canadians and make communities more livable, while focusing on creating jobs, growing the middle class, and supporting workers in a stronger and cleaner economy.



“Through the price on pollution, we are supporting good projects in Ontario, which will provide students and teachers with healthier and more comfortable classrooms while tackling climate change. The price on pollution is also putting more money in the pockets of hard-working Ontario families, through the Climate Action Incentive rebate. This year, a family of four will receive $600 back after they file their taxes.”
– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“Making schools more energy efficient provides our kids with better air quality in classrooms, saves on energy costs, and delivers on climate action that our kids deserve. We’re reinvesting revenues back into our buildings through retrofits to reduce emissions for a cleaner, net-zero future.”
– The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“St James Catholic High School has been an environmental leader in Guelph, pioneering the Environmental High Skills Major program, and receiving an Environmental Leadership award from the Guelph Chamber of Commerce for its work on their HVAC system at that time. This announcement builds on their legacy of leading and teaching by example.”  - Lloyd Longfield, Member of Parliament for Guelph

“The Wellington Catholic District School Board is very grateful for the government’s investment to improve the reliability and operation of the HVAC control equipment at St. James Catholic High School. Improved energy efficiency and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions will benefit the entire school community.”                                                                         - Tracy McLennan, Wellington Catholic District School Board


Quick facts

  • In Canada, the energy used in homes and buildings accounts for nearly a quarter of the country’s greenhouse-gas emissions.
  • Studies indicate that health benefits of energy-efficient buildings could represent up to 75 percent of the overall benefits of energy-efficiency retrofits.
  • Green buildings currently account for nearly 300,000 jobs in Canada.
  • In Canada’s recently announced strengthened climate plan, A Healthy Environment and A Healthy Economy, the Government committed to investing $1.5 billion over three years for green and inclusive community buildings and to requiring that at least 10 percent of this funding be allocated to projects serving First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities. The Government also committed to providing $2.6 billion over seven years to help homeowners make their homes more energy efficient. This funding will provide grants of up to $5,000; up to one million free EnerGuide assessments; and support to recruit and train EnerGuide auditors.