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Committee hearings on Bill 16 – The Climate and Green Plan Implementation Act

Standing Committee on Legislative Affairs
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Chairperson, Committee Members, Media and Fellow Presenters,

My name is Dan McInnis and I am the Chair of the Advocacy Committee of Sustainable Building Manitoba Inc.  I am pleased to present to the Standing Committee this evening and communicate our organizations support for the proposed Climate and Green Plan Implementation Act.

First a little background on Sustainable Building Manitoba Inc……

Sustainable Building Manitoba is a not-for-profit member-based organization with a Vision of “A sustainable built environment in Manitoba”.  Our reach of over 1,200 people and numerous corporate supporters all work towards our Mission “To be a leader, showcase local innovation, and inspire our stakeholders to create life-enhancing environments”.  Now in our thirteenth year, we actively carry out this mission by offering networking and education opportunities, by promoting collaboration in the local industry and advocating for sustainable building in Manitoba. We are the most recognized sustainable building knowledge hub for governments, media and industry.

As mentioned, Sustainable Building Manitoba Inc. supports the proposed Climate and Green Plan Implementation Act.  As you probably already know, buildings make up 17% of Manitoba’s emission profile.

There are two sections of the Act we would like to comment on.  

The first is the establishment of the Carbon Savings Account for Manitoba.  

The Carbon Savings Account will keep a running balance of the greenhouse gas emission reductions during a 5-year period and provide a comparison to the preset emission reduction goals. Sustainable Building Manitoba sees this as an important step in creating a longer term, more realistic approach to climate change planning and programs.  As has been demonstrated in the past, governments have typically established shorter-term unrealistic goals, usually tied to election cycles, and while it creates a flurry of activity during that government’s mandate, the activity typically diminishes in the next mandate term. To our knowledge, Manitoba will be the first subnational government in the world to create a Carbon Savings Account and should be congratulated for doing so.  

The second section we would like to comment on is the creation of the Low Carbon Government Office and in particular, the focus on improved building design, construction and management.  

It has been demonstrated time and time again, that building design, construction and operation provide the “low hanging fruit” for cost effective carbon emission reductions.  Most macro-economic modelling has shown that greenhouse gas focused building improvements can actually be a negative cost per tonne of emission reductions! Along with the other benefits of improved occupant health and productivity in sustainable buildings, the local economic benefits are enormous. The Manitoba government has a huge portfolio of buildings and can set the example and demonstrate leadership for other building owners across the Province.

Sustainable Building Manitoba members and supporters are comprised of design, construction and building operation professionals that are able to address the challenges of climate change.  Not only can these individuals and organizations effect lower emissions, they can provide more robust and resilient buildings that will withstand the catastrophic impacts of our changing climate.  Our organization is always willing to collaborate as required.

In summary, the case for sustainable building has never been stronger – not only are the environmental benefits well defined, the additional benefits of keeping investment capital in Manitoba and stimulating new innovation in clean energy, business and jobs will truly lead to a better Manitoba for all.  

Thank you for the opportunity to make this presentation this evening.

J. Dan McInnis, P.Eng.
Chair, Advocacy Committee
Sustainable Building Manitoba Inc.

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