Government of Canada Investing to Electrify Transit Systems Across the Country

Courtesy of Government of Canada

Ottawa, Ontario, March 4, 2021—The Government of Canada is working to secure the health and safety of Canadians, rebuild businesses, and promote jobs and growth as we build toward economic recovery and a net-zero emissions future.

Better public transit helps people get around in faster, cleaner, and cheaper ways. Helping communities invest in zero-emission transit options ensures cleaner air for our kids, creates jobs and supports Canadian manufacturing.

Today, Infrastructure and Communities Minister Catherine McKenna and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Francois-Philippe Champagne announced $2.75 billion in funding over five years, starting in 2021, to enhance public transit systems and switch them to cleaner electrical power, including supporting the purchase of zero-emission public transit and school buses. This funding is part of an eight year, $14.9 billion public transit investment recently outlined by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and will also support municipalities, transit authorities and school boards with transition planning, increase ambition on the electrification of transit systems, and deliver on the government’s commitment to help purchase 5,000 zero-emission buses over the next five years.

This investment will create more well paying jobs in Canada’s robust and growing electric vehicle manufacturing sector. Nova Bus in Saint-Eustache, Lion Electrique in Saint-Jérôme, GreenPower in Vancouver and New Flyer in Winnipeg are great examples of innovative companies that have been delivering zero-emission transit solutions.

Infrastructure Canada will ensure coordination between this investment and the Canada Infrastructure Bank commitment to invest $1.5 billion in zero-emission buses and associated infrastructure as part of its three year Growth Plan.

To date, Infrastructure Canada’s funding programs have already supported the purchase of over 300 new zero-emission buses, and we expect this trend to accelerate. Today’s announcement is another step forward for smart public transit funding that delivers triple bottom line results: jobs and economic growth, a cleaner environment, and more inclusive communities. Canada has global leaders in clean technology and supply chains, and public transit investments will help promote confidence in a scalable and stable domestic market.


“Better public transit, cleaner air, quieter streets, and a planet safe for our kids – that’s the goal of our investment in zero-emission buses across Canada. By making this investment, we’re tackling climate change while creating good jobs and supporting manufacturing right now, here at home. Canada’s infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country, and builds cleaner, more inclusive communities.”

The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“Ensuring that Canadians have access to clean transportation options like zero-emission public transit is an important part of our plan to create cleaner, healthier communities. Today’s announcement will create manufacturing jobs and support the economy, while cutting pollution across the country.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“Today’s announcement is important to help make Canada a leader in zero-emission vehicle transportation. The Government is committed to ensuring that Canadian businesses have the tools, support and conditions to become world leaders in a growing economic sector. With this investment, the government is helping these Canadian manufacturers address a growing need here at home to successfully pivot to new, greener products.”

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry 

“We welcome this Government of Canada funding announcement that will help cities and transit authorities across Canada transition to cleaner and more sustainable transit. From our local perspective, we are rolling out four electric buses on our roadways this fall as part of a pilot project. Today’s funding opportunity announcement allows our staff to explore how we can speed up the electrification of the OC Transpo fleet. This would further support our Climate Change Master Plan objectives of reducing Ottawa’s carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions.”

Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa

“As part of its $10 billion Growth Plan, the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) is committed to investing $1.5 billion in zero-emission buses. We will help create jobs, reduce greenhouse gases and make commutes cleaner. This will contribute to quality of life in communities. Today’s announcement of new government funding complements the CIB’s innovative financing and accelerates the opportunity for municipalities to collaborate with us and to switch to zero-emission buses.”

Ehren Cory, CEO, Canada Infrastructure Bank

“Today’s investment by the federal government will allow transit agencies across the country to expedite the decarbonization of our transit systems to meet Canada’s ambitious climate goals. Zero-emission buses (ZEBs) will benefit Canadians by creating manufacturing and energy jobs in the low-carbon economy, while also transporting Canadians in a way that is safe, green, healthy and sustainable. Transit agencies and municipalities in Canada are ready for electrification, and the funds announced today will empower them to move forward towards the goal of 5000 ZEBs.”

Dr. Josipa Petrunic, President and CEO, Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium

Quick facts

  • Since 2015, the Government of Canada has approved $13.6 billion in funding towards more than 1,300 public transit projects across Canada . These investments have helped build more than 240 km of new public transit subway and light rail line, create over 380 km of active transportation trails, bike and pedestrian lanes, and already supported the purchase of over 300 zero emission buses.
  • The Canada Infrastructure Bank has a long-term target to invest $5 billion in public transit, including $1.5 billion over the next three years specifically for zero emission buses and associated infrastructure as part of its Growth Plan.
  • On February 10, the Prime Minister announced $14.9 billion in new public transit funding over eight years. Of this, the $2.75 billion investment in zero-emission buses announced today will be allocated over the next 5 years starting in 2021.
  • In the Fall Economic Statement, the Government of Canada proposed to support the economy’s clean and competitive transition by providing grants to help Canadians make their homes greener and more energy efficient. It will provide additional funds for the installation of new charging and refueling stations for zero-emission vehicles and provide more support for large-scale clean power transmission projects.
  • The Strategic Innovation Fund – Net Zero Accelerator will drive essential, near-term greenhouse gas reductions to ensure Canada exceeds its 2030 target. It will create and maintain immediate, good-paying, middle class jobs to support Canada’s economic recovery; bolster innovation and encourage the development of disruptive technologies in all industrial sectors, including the automotive manufacturing sector, to ensure Canadian businesses stay competitive in a global economy that increasingly demands low-carbon products.


Featured Image Courtesy of Electrify Canada

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *