Remarks by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance at the AQPER 2024 Symposium


Good afternoon everyone.

I would like to begin by acknowledging that we are gathered on the traditional territories of several First Nations, including the Huron-Wendat Nation.

I would also like to thank Luis Calzado and the Association québécoise de la production d’énergie renouvelable  for the incredible work they are doing.

It makes perfect sense to be here for this discussion in “la Vieille Capitale.” Because Quebec—and Quebeckers, like Lesage, Lévesque and so many pioneers like them—is a world leader in clean electricity and clean energy. And Canada is relying on your expertise in these crucial years ahead.

The race to build the global clean economy is the most significant economic transformation in the whole world since the Industrial Revolution—and here in Canada, and here in Quebec, this represents an incredible economic opportunity.

That’s because today, the world’s major economies are moving at an unprecedented pace to fight climate change and retool their economies to build the net-zero industries of today and tomorrow.

Canada has to keep up. And we not only have to keep up—we need to lead the way and win the race.

And that is exactly what we are doing.

Our economic plan is making historic investments to build Canada’s economy and create new opportunities for Canadian workers and Canadian businesses.

And a cornerstone of our economic plan is our five major investment tax credits.

First, there is the investment tax credit for carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS). This is for investments in CCUS technologies to support the decarbonization of hard-to-abate sectors, like steel, aluminum and cement.

Second, there is the Clean Technology Investment Tax Credit. It would cover 30 per cent of the capital cost of eligible investments in clean technology property, in order to incentivize the adoption of technologies such as wind, solar, hydro, and nuclear. We also are proposing to expand its eligibility to include geothermal energy systems.

Third, we are proposing a tax credit for investments in clean hydrogen production. The levels of support will vary between 15 and 40 per cent of eligible project costs, with the projects that produce the cleanest hydrogen receiving the highest levels of support.

Fourth, there is the Clean Technology Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit. This will cover 30 per cent of the cost of eligible machinery and equipment used to manufacture or process key clean technologies and extract, process, or recycle key critical minerals. This includes, for example, solar panels, wind turbines, and energy storage equipment.

And fifth, we announced the Clean Electricity Investment Tax Credit—because we want the rest of Canada to follow Quebec’s lead. It is about investing in technologies that are required to produce, store, or transport clean electricity between provinces. Uniquely, it will be available to a number of non-taxable entities including corporations owned by Indigenous communities and publicly owned utilities.

By the end of this year, all of these tax credits will have been implemented or the legislative process to implement them will have started. I know that stability is important to you and that’s why this timeline was outlined in the 2023 Fall Economic Statement. And even more importantly, these tax credits will be retroactive.

Our government created these investment tax credits to give businesses the certainty they need to invest here in Canada—and they already are.

Just last November, Dow announced a historic, $11.5 billion investment in Canada—creating hundreds of new jobs in the process.

In Quebec alone, we have Invenergy and Boralex building major wind energy projects that will power homes for Quebeckers. TES Canada is building a green hydrogen plant, creating 1,000 jobs during the construction period. And all of these projects are expected to benefit from our investment tax credits.

And the labour requirements attached to four of these tax credits will ensure that Canadian workers directly benefit, by requiring businesses who take advantage of these credits to pay a prevailing union wage and to create apprenticeship opportunities if they want to receive the maximum level of benefit from these tax credits.

This is the first time in Canadian history that this has been done—and it is further proof of our commitment to ensure that our economic plan is focused on workers, on people.

I would also like to highlight the role of the Canada Growth Fund, which is based in Montréal and run by world-class, Canadian investment professionals.

The Fund is a key pillar of our economic plan that will create jobs, boost investor confidence, and drive economic growth, all while it is fighting climate change.

Last October, I was proud to announce the Canada Growth Fund’s first-ever investment in a company called Eavor Technologies. And last December, the Fund announced its second investment and a carbon contract for difference with a company called Entropy.

These investments mean that tens of thousands of Canadians have great careers today and great careers tomorrow.

It means we’re unlocking the promise of Canada for the 21st century. And it is further proof that our economic plan, built on the foundation of our investment tax credits, is working—making Canada a leading—I would say the leading—destination for foreign and Canadian investment.

In fact, in the first half of 2023, Canada received more foreign direct investment per capita than any other country in the G7.

And again this morning, we saw the concrete results of an economic plan that’s working—our plan. Inflation fell to 2.9 per cent in January, down from 3.4 per cent in December, and down from its peak of 8.1 per cent in 2022—a marked slowdown and a return to the Bank of Canada’s target range. This is great news for Canadians and for Quebeckers!

Before I close, I want to say this: We know that great things are happening in Quebec. Quebec is already a leader in renewable energy, and the opportunities for green companies in Quebec are enormous.

Our government really believes in Quebeckers and in the work Quebeckers are doing—the work that you are doing. And I am looking forward—our government is looking forward—to continuing to build a clean economy that creates great careers for Quebeckers and for all Canadians.

Thanks to all of you for your work and thank you for listening.

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