Arts & Life
Canstar Community News
OTTAWA — Manitoba school boards are spending $5 million of the province’s carbon tax revenue on retrofitting classrooms, a year after a spat between the Trudeau and Pallister governments put the cash in limbo.
The funding for 134 projects comes from part of Manitoba’s carbon levy revenues for the last fiscal year, estimated to be around $200 million.
Some 90 per cent of those funds are being remitted directly to households, while the rest is funding green projects, such as the school retrofits announced in a Thursday videoconference.
"These projects will not only help our schools save money, but they will also enable them to take part directly in Canada's plan to fight climate change and reduce pollution," said Winnipeg South MP Terry Duguid, who is the parliamentary secretary for Environment Canada.
The Liberal MP listed examples, such as roughly $400,000 for Grant Park High School to install LED lighting, and $14,000 for better insulated windows and walls for Wawanesa High School.
Ottawa tasked the Manitoba School Boards Association with dishing out the funds in June 2019. Association head Alan Campbell said about half the funding has now been spent.
"Many of these projects have been on school boards' wish lists, if you will, for a long time," he said. "The projects are well underway, if not, in many cases, completed."
Campbell said Manitoba school buildings are on average more than 50 years old, and that many of the retrofits underwent construction over the summer.
A federal release listed school divisions receiving funding, which included every board in the province except for Frontier, Pine Falls and Whiteshell. Those boards serve rural areas, which tend to pay more in carbon tax.
Campbell insisted funding requests are under consideration for those areas. He also said some new airducts might also help filter out particles during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ottawa originally wanted all four provinces who reluctantly had the carbon tax imposed in their jurisdictions to allocate retrofit dollars themselves. But facing pushback, the Trudeau government transferred the money to school boards in June 2019.
The Winnipeg Free Press invites you to share your opinion on this story in a letter to the editor. A selection of letters to the editor are published daily.
Letters must include the writer’s full name, address, and a daytime phone number. Letters are edited for length and clarity.