The Quebec government has put the environment and an accelerated transition to a green economy at the top of the list of objectives in its 2020-2021 budget, released March 10, 2020.
Quebec is taking advantage of a strong fiscal position (it is budgeting a surplus of $1.9 billion despite a 5.1% increase in program spending) to double its planned spending on its green economy transition plan. Between now and 2026, the budget promises $6.2 billion toward that effort, making it the largest, or at least the costliest, environmental project ever undertaken by Quebec.
Budget documents say the funding will allow continued support for such programs as Roulez vert, which encourages the purchase of electric vehicles, and Chauffez vert, which supports homeowners converting from fossil fuel heating to electric.
However, richer details of the spending plan are promised in another, not-yet-released, program: the 2030 plan for a green economy program. That lack of details has left Quebec’s environmental organizations optimistic, but cautiously so.
Équiterre calls it the first piece of a puzzle. In a statement, Executive Director Colleen Thorpe said the organization would hold its applause until the details were made public.
The budget’s infrastructure plan does include a promise of $15.8 billion for public transit, but according to Équiterre, this funding merely helps Quebec make up for prior years of underfunding.
The announcement was welcomed by the Union of Municipalities of Quebec, but also with the caveat that it would monitor subsequent announcements to ensure that operating expenses were covered under the program.