Skip to main content Start of content
Start of content

431-00135 (Environment)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English


We, the undersigned residents of Canada, draw the attention of the House of Commons in Parliament assembled to the following:


  • 1) Atmospheric CO2 levels and methane levels are still increasing.
  • 2) Global mean temperatures are still increasing.
  • 3) Arctic, Greenland, Antarctic and alpine ice melt is still increasing.
  • 4) Ocean acidification is still increasing.
  • 5) Extreme weather events and wildfires are still increasing.
  • 6) Parliament in 2019 declared we have a "climate emergency".

THEREFORE, your petitioners request the House of Commons in Parliament assembled to mandate and to fund energy audits of all federal buildings.

Response by the President of the Treasury Board

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): GREG FERGUS

In Canada and abroad, the effects of climate change are increasingly evident. Responses require action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the atmosphere and increase the resiliency of assets, services, and operations to adapt to the changing climate.

Through the Greening Government Strategy, the Government of Canada will transition to low-carbon and climate-resilient operations, while also reducing environmental impacts beyond carbon. The Government of Canada will reduce GHG emissions from federal facilities and fleets by 40% below 2005 levels by 2030, with an aspiration to achieve this target by 2025. It will further reduce emissions by 80% below 2005 levels by 2050 (with an aspiration to be carbon neutral). These targets will be achieved through low-carbon, sustainable, and climate resilient real property, low-carbon mobility and fleets, and green goods and services. As of fiscal year 2018-19, emissions are down 32.6%.

Federal buildings are the single largest source of GHG emissions for government operations, accounting for 89% of emissions subject to the above targets in 2018-19. Deep decarbonization of buildings will therefore be crucial to achieving the targets. Advanced energy management practices are therefore a top priority. The Government of Canada collects detailed electricity and energy use on major federal buildings and publicly discloses the data on an annual basis. The Natural Resources Canada clean energy management software (RETScreen) uses the data for ongoing building performance analysis and to identify energy efficiency improvements across the real property portfolio.

The Government of Canada has a vast portfolio of federal buildings types including office, hangar, heritage, residential, recreational and more. They are located in many climatic zones and their state of upkeep vary considerably. Therefore, a full suite of tools are needed to address such divergent needs. The Government of Canada uses a tiered approach for improving the performance of the federal portfolio. The Greening Government Strategy requires departments to strategically evaluate their real property portfolios to determine the most cost-effective pathway to achieve low-carbon operations. Departments must also evaluate their real property needs to determine opportunities for portfolio rationalization, optimal real property management, and shared locations and facilities. The Government of Canada is also conducting departmental carbon neutral studies to set a long-term strategy for decarbonizing real property portfolios; and it is implementing smart building technologies to keep buildings operating at their highest levels of environmental performance.

Once buildings are designated for upgrades in portfolio plans, energy audits are an extremely useful tool to help identify cost-effective measures in advance of a retrofit. The Government of Canada uses them extensively when implementing energy performance contracts under the Federal Buildings Initiative. Since the results of energy audits are often time limited due to the constantly changing operating parameters of the buildings, the Government of Canada undertakes them as close as possible to the time of the retrofit. Used in combination with RETScreen, the Government of Canada can annually benchmark the electricity and energy use of buildings, thereby ensuring maximum value for limited taxpayer resources.

Presented to the House of Commons
Mark Gerretsen (Kingston and the Islands)
March 9, 2020 (Petition No. 431-00135)
Government response tabled
May 25, 2020
Photo - Mark Gerretsen
Kingston and the Islands
Liberal Caucus

Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.

Disclaimer regarding petitions