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e-3912 (Economy and finance)

E-petition
Initiated by Chris Keefer from Toronto, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

Whereas:
  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its four principle decarbonization pathways, calls for an increase in nuclear power by between 98% and 501% to avoid catastrophic climate impacts;
  • Nuclear energy in Ontario achieved the greatest carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction measure in North American history by providing 90% of the ultra-low emissions power to remove coal from the Ontario grid;
  • Canadian nuclear energy meets all environmental, social, and governance investment criteria, by producing no air, water or CO2 pollution while safely containing its waste stream, providing high quality intergenerational employment, and meeting the highest regulatory standards;
  • Canadian uranium used in nuclear reactors all over the world to produce carbon-free electricity displaces 260 megatonnes of CO2 per year, offsetting one third of Canada’s 730 megatonnes of annual emissions;
  • CANDU nuclear energy has a 95% made in Canada supply chain which captures all of the value of any investment within our national economy, supports local communities, and provides over 76,000 well paying jobs;
  • The European Union (EU) has, after careful examination and debate, included nuclear energy in their EU sustainable finance taxonomy;
  • The Canada Green Bond Framework currently excludes nuclear energy alongside arms manufacturing, tobacco, alcohol, and gambling activities; and
  • This exclusion of nuclear energy and its association with “sin stock” activities is an insult to the 76,000 Canadian workers who provide the ultra-reliable carbon-free power we urgently need to meet our climate and electrification goals.
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to include nuclear energy within the Canada Green Bond Framework.

Response by the Minister of Natural Resources

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson P.C., M.P.

Nuclear energy is an important part of Canada’s economy and energy mix. The Government of Canada understands that consideration for an all-options approach to meet the ambitious climate goals is needed. It is also recognized that there is a role for the federal government in enabling innovative technologies to support Canada’s net-zero pathway, such as hydrogen, small modular reactors (SMRs), and carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS).

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) monitors developments pertaining to the definition of nuclear energy within sustainable finance frameworks. The Government of Canada will continue to consider such developments through consultations with other government departments responsible for policy and regulatory development in these areas, including Canada’s Green Bond Framework.

Canada’s Green Bond Framework has been developed in accordance with the International Capital Market Association (“ICMA”) Green Bond Principles (2021). The exclusion of nuclear aligns Canada’s framework with the standards in the international green bond market, and helps ensure that Canada’s bond meets the current eligibility criteria for most green bond investment indices.

This exclusion is in line with comparable sovereign green bond issuers in Europe (e.g., United Kingdom (UK), Italy, France, Germany, and Sweden). All comparable G7 sovereign green bond issuers have exclusions for nuclear power in their green bond frameworks (including countries with substantial nuclear electricity generation, such as the UK and France). Nuclear power is currently not included as an alternative energy source in major green bond indices such as the Morgan Stanley Capital International green bond index, the most recognized global green bond index.

The federal government continues to be committed to providing support to help transform the economy for clean and long-term growth and achieve our net-zero goals. The Strategic Innovation Fund’s (SIF) Net Zero Accelerator initiative will provide up to $8 billion in support of projects that will enable Canada to reduce its domestic greenhouse gas emissions; SMRs are eligible for this fund.

To date, the SIF has invested nearly $100 million toward the development of SMRs through the following projects: $20 million to advance Ontario based Terrestrial Energy’s reactor design; $50 million to develop the New Brunswick based Moltex Energy's reactor and technology to recycle CANDU spent nuclear fuel into new fuel; and, $27 million to support the development of Westinghouse Electric Canada's eVinci micro reactor.

Budget 2022 committed new funding of over $100 million for nuclear power. This includes: nearly $70 million for NRCan to support activities to address waste generated from SMRs and fuel related technologies, the development of supply chains for SMR manufacturing and SMR fuel supply, strengthening international cooperation agreements, and enhancing domestic safety and security policies and practices; more than $50 million for the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to build capacity to regulate SMRs; and an expanded mandate for the Canadian Infrastructure Bank to facilitate decarbonization, including SMRs.

The Government of Canada is also working with the nuclear sector at large, through initiatives like the SMR Action Plan, SMR Leadership Table, and the Indigenous Advisory Council, and look forward to engaging in discussions on topics like sustainable finance as Canada advances SMR development, demonstration and deployment in Canada.

Response by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Chrystia Freeland

Ensuring consistency between Canada’s framework and market preferences was necessary to meet the demands of investors with environmental, social and governance-related mandates and for the inclusion of Government of Canada Green Bonds in various international green bond indices for sovereigns. Canada’s framework was informed by input from domestic and international investors and requirements from sovereign green bond investment indices.

At this time, no G7 country that issues green bonds includes nuclear energy as an eligible use of proceeds. For example, France, a country which generates 69 percent of its electricity via nuclear power, does not include nuclear power projects as eligible under the project selection process of its Green Bond Framework. The European Commission (EC) does not currently include nuclear power as an eligible use of proceeds in relation to its Next Generation EU green bonds program. More recently, both Austria and Belgium released or updated their green bond frameworks and both explicitly excluded nuclear expenditures. These are but a few examples.

The government has provided support for the nuclear sector to continue to play an important role in meeting its climate goals and is an important driver for employment and economic growth. For example, Budget 2022 committed new funding of over $100 million for nuclear power and signals the federal government’s commitment to small modular reactors (SMRs) at a high level. This includes: nearly $70 million for Natural Resources Canada to support various activities related to the development of SMRs and related supply chains and more than $50 million for the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for SMRs.

The Government of Canada is also working with the nuclear sector at large, through initiatives like the SMR Action Plan, SMR Leadership Table, and the Indigenous Advisory Council, and it looks forward to engaging in discussions on topics like sustainable finance as Canada advances SMR development, demonstration and deployment in Canada.

The international green bond market is growing and requirements for green investments continue to evolve. For example, the government is monitoring ongoing discussions in the European Union regarding the Taxonomy for Sustainable Activities and its treatment of nuclear power and natural gas projects. The government will continue to monitor international standards and best practices regarding sustainable finance to ensure Canada’s Green Bond Framework aligns with investor requirements, and the government remains committed to reviewing and updating the Green Bond Framework as necessary to maintain this alignment.

Open for signature
March 9, 2022, at 9:18 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
April 8, 2022, at 9:18 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Corey Tochor (Saskatoon—University)
June 8, 2022 (Petition No. 441-00552)
Government response tabled
September 20, 2022
Photo - Corey Tochor
Saskatoon—University
Conservative Caucus
Saskatchewan
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