While some people may dislike the carbon tax, the federal government is directing money from the program to various organizations, including school divisions, to help them make energy-efficient upgrades to buildings.
The Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIF) is a new Environment and Climate Change Canada program funded from the proceeds of the federal carbon pollution pricing system. Programming is available in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick since these provinces have not committed to their carbon pollution pricing systems, according to an outline of the initiative.
Under the carbon pollution pricing system, the federal government is returning most of the proceeds from the fuel charge to residents of these provinces through Climate Action Incentive payments. The government is returning the remainder of the money through CAIF, which will support small- and medium-sized businesses, municipalities, universities, schools, hospitals, and not-for-profit organizations in these jurisdictions where proceeds are collected.
Aside from businesses, the other organizations receiving funding through the CAIF’s retrofit stream can use the money to make energy-efficient improvements and retrofits to reduce energy use, costs, and carbon pollution.
The federal government has allocated $12 million in funding to Saskatchewan school divisions, with 25 per cent divided into equal parts for divisions and the remaining 75 per cent allocated to address enrolment.
School boards have to identify and prioritize projects, submit the proposed project list to the Ministry of Education, and then have the province submit the list to the federal government for consideration.
Trustees with the Holy Trinity Roman Catholic School Division board of education discussed the CAIF fund during their recent board meeting. Through the fund, Holy Trinity will receive $226,626. The buildings team has recommended seven projects for consideration, including replacing rooftop heating units replacing lighting with energy-efficient models.
The projects in Moose Jaw include:
- Vanier Collegiate: replacement of three rooftop units with three new units for $31,800, and replacement and/or upgrade of existing light fixtures in the gym, hallways and building exterior with LED lights for $45,000
- St. Margaret School: replacement of two inefficient rooftop units for $35,000, and replacement and/or upgrade of existing light fixtures in the gym, hallways and building exterior for $30,000
- St. Agnes School: replacement and/or upgrade of existing light fixtures in the gym, hallways and building exterior with LED lights for $27,413
- St. Michael School: replacement and/or upgrade of existing light fixtures in the gym, hallways and building exterior with LED lights for $30,000
“From a school division’s point … it was nice for us to see (that funding), so we’re in a position to move forward with some of those projects that we’re really looking to advance,” said education director Sean Chase.
Some of the initiatives, such as replacing rooftop units, can be expensive to fit into the division’s yearly preventative maintenance and renewal (PMR) plan that the division has to submit to the ministry, he continued. Holy Trinity is anxious to take advantage of the savings it will see in utility costs with the replacement of its equipment.
“We have every reason to believe that the studies that are out there in terms of the cost savings down the road will be realized for us,” Chase added, “and that’s a good news story.”
The next Holy Trinity board meeting is in August.