Published On: April 16, 2024

Unceded Anishinaabe Algonquin Territories [OTTAWA], 16 April, 2024:

Budget 2024 falls far short of spending what it takes to address the climate crisis, while continuing to let big polluters off the hook. Even as Canadians face increasing and costly climate impacts, the budget misses the opportunity to deliver the serious expansion in climate and affordability investments we need.

Meanwhile, the federal government provided more than $18 billion in financial support to fossil fuel companies in 2023, pouring taxpayer dollars into soon-to-be stranded assets. While today’s budget included tax hikes for the wealthiest Canadians and some corporations, a windfall tax on oil and gas companies’ record profits was notably absent – a measure strongly supported by Canadians, which would have raised at least $4.2 billion over five years. Media reported today that Minister Freeland caved to pressure from oil and gas executives to scrap the idea.

The world faces deepening violence and crises that overlap with climate devastation – from Gaza to Haiti to Sudan to Yemen – and countries are preparing to negotiate a new collective climate finance goal this year. That’s why it is more necessary than ever that Canada step up, not back, on international support and solidarity. The new humanitarian funding in the budget is welcome and much-needed – though it pales in contrast to new defence spending. 

And as the austerity sirens continue to raise questions on the appropriate size for government, Climate Action Network Canada reiterates that to tackle the climate crisis at the necessary speed and scale, resources for public service and programs must be significantly increased.

Further analysis:

  • According to the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, new climate spending dropped off significantly from previous budgets, with only $2 billion in net new climate spending over the next five years.
  • Retrofits and energy-efficient heat pumps are win-win solutions for Canadians to lower their bills, improve their quality of life, and cut emissions. While the Greener Homes Affordability Program shows a welcome shift to supporting low-to-median income Canadians, the total funding of $800 million represents a decrease in total federal funding for building retrofits.
  • The announcement of a Youth Climate Corps, though unfunded, has the potential to support the creation of good jobs for young people, allowing them to gain skills and experience, while filling pressing labour shortages in the move towards the green economy. A similar programme in the United States launched last year has proven highly successful, and President Biden has recently moved to expand it. CAN-Rac will continue pushing for assurances that these jobs will be fairly paid, respectful of workers’ rights and meaningfully contribute to youth skills development.
  • Budget 2024 reiterates Finance Canada’s commitment to publish a plan to phase out public financing of the fossil fuel sector, including by federal Crown corporations such as Export Development Canada, by fall 2024.
  • The budget promises $350 million over two years in additional funding to the International Assistance Envelope (IAE), signaling an important effort to address the world’s most devastating crises and conflicts.
  • The New Canada Carbon Rebate for Small Businesses, though not new funding, will provide much-needed support to level the playing field between large emitters and small businesses in the move away from volatile fossil fuels.
  • Moreover, Canada needs to get the money it has already allocated for climate action out the door. A recent Corporate Knights report shows a 30% shortfall, more than $14 billion, between what Canada has committed and what it has actually invested over the last decade.

Read more on Climate Action Network Canada’s recommendations for Budget 2024.

Caroline Brouillette, Executive Director, Climate Action Network – Réseau action climat Canada:

“Budget 2024 takes some welcome steps towards linking housing and climate, establishing a Youth Climate Corps, and investing in new international humanitarian funding. But let’s be real: confronting the converging crises we face requires a massive scale-up of resources in solutions and a scale-down of investments in the problem – which Budget 2024 does not deliver. Instead, today’s budget showcases a double standard when it comes to pinching pennies: stinting on climate investments while continuing to spend billions to support the fossil fuel industry and caving on a windfall profits tax.

“Minister Freeland must step up her game to protect people from worsening floods, fires, droughts, storms – and the fossil fuel industry’s nefarious influence  on our democracy.”

Robin Tress, Campaigns and Communications Director, Council of Canadians:

“It is long past time for fossil fuel companies to pay the real costs they owe for the damage they’re doing to communities. This budget was an opportunity to implement a windfall tax on corporations, generating billions of dollars to use for climate action and to help people through the cost-of-living crisis. Instead, the federal government chose to continue supporting fossil fuel corporations’ outrageous profits rather than fund a real transition to a sustainable and fair economy.”

Salomé Sané, Climate Campaigner, Greenpeace Canada:

“With cost-of-living and extreme weather events both on the rise, investing in climate action is critical for long-term affordability. While we welcome the new green retrofit program as an important step in this direction, the government has missed an opportunity to tax the excess profits of the fossil fuel industry, with the resulting higher energy costs raising prices for the rest of us.”

Alison Krentel, Chair, Canadian Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases

“Climate change requires us to champion multisectoral approaches to health. We believe that Canada should invest in stewardship of the One Health approach to address climate-sensitive Neglected Tropical Diseases. The enjoyment of a healthy environment and access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene are not only human rights, but are also critical to the prevention and management of all Neglected Tropical Diseases”.

Julia Levin, Environmental Defence Canada, Associate Director, National Climate:

“Across Canada people are suffering from the cost of living crisis, which is being driven in large part by the massive profits of oil and gas companies. A windfall tax on their profits could have been used to support Canadians and fund climate solutions across the country. Instead, Minister Freeland caved to fossil fuel lobbying, putting the interests of wealthy fossil fuel executives ahead of the rest of us.” 

Seth Klein, Team Lead, Climate Emergency Unit:

“The increase to the capital gains tax (the only real tax increase in the budget) is very modest. It was extremely disappointing to learn that the government considered a windfall profits tax on oil and gas companies, and then capitulated to the fossil fuel lobbyists. Overall, the budget was virtually silent on the climate emergency.”

“While Budget 2024 does not include funding for a Youth Climate Corps, the CEU is pleased to see on p.126 of the budget that the government will be launching consultations on the development of a YCC. We see this as an opening to win something big in Budget 2025.” 

Shivani Patel, COO, Engineers Without Borders Canada:

“Considering Canada’s leadership position in international climate finance negotiations, we were disappointed to see the budget’s failure to focus on the climate investments necessary to support the most vulnerable and marginalised. While it was positive to see the push for AI access and infrastructure, without more effectively leveraging Canada’s powerful pool of technical knowledge to develop impactful tech for good, we are undermining any chance of meeting critical climate goals.”

Liz McDowell, Senior Campaigns Director,

As we head into what will likely be another horrific wildfire season, people across the country want to see this government prioritize real solutions that protect the planet and their futures now, while making life more affordable. Today’s budget missed a huge opportunity to redirect billions in subsidies and tax breaks from polluting oil, gas, and forest biomass companies – and the financial institutions that enable them – to build greener homes and prioritize real solutions like solar, wind and energy efficiency.”

Thomas Green, Senior Climate Policy Adviser, David Suzuki Foundation: 

“Today’s budget focused on fairness missed a major opportunity to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for the intergenerational costs of climate change. Canada should tax the excess profits of oil and gas companies, like many other countries do. Revenues could help finance essential investments in climate and nature solutions, such as public transit and building retrofits, that reduce the cost of living and help the environment.”

Andréanne Brazeau, climate policy analyst at Équiterre:

Everything costs more partly because of the climate crisis. In this budget, the government highlights the immense impact of climate change on affordability issues, but the overall measures put in place to tackle it lack vigor. When drought destroys our crops, it affects the cost of our groceries. When a forest fire impacts air quality, it costs us dearly in terms of our health. There’s no shortage of examples.”


Canada’s farthest-reaching network of organizations working on climate and energy issues, Climate Action Network – Réseau action climat (CAN-Rac) Canada is a coalition of 150 organizations operating from coast to coast to coast. Our membership brings environmental groups together with trade unions, First Nations, social justice, development, health and youth organizations, faith groups and local, grassroots initiatives.

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Vicky Coo, Communications Manager