Modest spending outlay promised for Canadian government's own portfolio

Modest spending outlay for federal portfolio

Friday, April 30, 2021

The Canadian government expects to spend nearly $93 million to offset energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in its own portfolio, but $77.9 million of that is slated for unspecified “future years”. To begin, $1 million will be directed to the purchase of renewable energy certificates during the 2022-23 fiscal year.

“Investing in electricity generated from renewable sources can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stimulate growth in clean power infrastructure,” the 2021 federal budget asserts.

In total, it allocates $15 million over a four-year period ending in the spring of 2026 to establish a federal clean electricity fund, which will underwrite the offsets. The budget also pledges $5 million over three years to respond to pandemic-related changes in space needs, and to help implement recommendations from the government’s recent three-year review of assets in its varied portfolio of office buildings, specialized facilities and engineering infrastructure.

Although a final report has not yet been released from the latter exercise, officials with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat have revealed that the government is grappling with mounting deferred maintenance costs in a portfolio encompassing more than 247 million square feet of space in 32,000 buildings. Within the government’s office inventory, for example, required spending is estimated at anywhere from $15.70 per square foot in buildings deemed to be in good condition to $88.53 per square foot for those in the worst condition. Meanwhile, across the government’s entire building stock, it’s projected that more than half the floor area will be in poor or critical condition by 2028.

The budget allocation, beginning with $2 million for 2021-22, is to be channelled to improving federal asset management. “This will help ensure the Government’s real property portfolio is modern, agile and right-sized, as well as financially and environmentally sustainable,” the budget document states.

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