2023 was a devastating year for so many people across Canada. Communities burnt down, livelihoods were destroyed and lives were lost. In addition to coping with climate disasters, families across the country were faced with the impossible choice of paying their energy bills or paying rent.

Governments should be doing everything in their power to tackle both the climate and affordability crisis that is hitting so many of us. 

And while the Government of Canada is taking some important steps, they’re also continuing to funnel billions of taxpayer dollars towards the very companies most responsible for the climate crisis: oil and gas companies. 

In fact, new analysis we released today finds that in 2023, the federal government provided the fossil fuel Industry with at least $18.6 billion. 

Take Action: Tell Canada to Stop Funding Fossil Fuels

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Fossil Fuel Funding in 2023

The largest sources of federal support in 2023 were: 

  • $8 billion in loan guarantees for the TransMountain expansion pipeline (bringing the total cost to the public to over $34 billion – and counting). 
  • $7.3 billion in public financing for fossil fuel and petrochemical companies through crown corporation Export Development Canada
  • Over $1.3 billion for carbon capture and storage projects. (Unfortunately, subsidies for carbon capture are set to rise significantly in 2024. Learn more about this false climate solution here.) 

We’re also starting to see more subsidies for petrochemicals (chemicals made from oil and gas, which are then used to make other derivatives such as plastics). The uptake of EVs and renewable energy is set to decrease the consumption of fossil fuels this decade. Recognizing this shift, oil and gas companies are increasingly turning to petrochemicals as a means to sustain their business and safeguard their profits. As a result, there are more and more petrochemical projects in Canada seeking subsidies. For example, NOVA Chemicals Corporation, a Canadian petrochemical company, secured a $300 million loan from Export Development Canada, one of the crown corporation’s largest single transactions.  

Funding what we need 

Taxpayer handouts to Canada’s wealthiest companies mean that less money is available for the types of investments that could actually help people across the country who are struggling to choose between buying food and paying energy bills.

Instead of spending billions on fossil fuels, the government could have provided energy efficiency retrofits for homes in Indigenous communities across Canada or training thousands of new firefighters to help communities deal with the coming wildfires. 

Over the last four years, the federal government’s total financial support to the oil and gas industry was at least $65 billion. 

  • That level of support could have fully funded every major wind and solar project in Canada from 2019-2021 twelve times over. 
  • It is ten times what the government has invested in helping communities adapt to the impacts of the climate crisis since 2015. 
  • Around half of that, $35 billion, is enough to double transit ridership across the country over the next 12 years.

Fossil fuels are costing us so much

The climate pollution created by oil and gas companies has massive costs, including health costs, property damage from extreme weather events, and decreased agricultural productivity due to changing weather patterns. 

In 2023, the cost to society of the pollution from oil and gas companies operating in Canada was an estimated $52 billion.

Taxing Windfall Profits

Rather than subsidizing the oil and gas industry, the Government of Canada should be taxing its excessive profits. 

Oil and gas extraction companies in Canada made $270 billion in total revenue and $63 billion in profits in 2022 (the most recent year available). These outsized profits are driving the inflation crisis that is making life unaffordable for people across this country.

Putting in place a tax on the massive profits of oil and gas companies could bring in billions of dollars.

What progress has the Government made?

Although the Government of Canada has taken some steps to limit the financial support it provides to the oil and gas industry, more action is clearly needed.

Minister Freeland must include in Budget 2024 the immediate steps the government is taking to eliminate all of its financing to the oil and gas industry, as was promised back in 2021.

Fossil fuels are causing the climate crisis. We can’t solve the climate crisis while continuing to subsidize its very cause.

Take Action: Tell Canada to Stop Funding Fossil Fuels

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