2024 federal budget fell short on the energy policies engaged women want

by | April 2024

The federal government tabled its 2024 budget on April 16, Fairness for Every Generation, emphasizing new measures that aim to make life more affordable for everyday Canadians. Despite including almost $40 billion in new spending, the budget was notably missing mentions of the link between our energy sector and a prosperous economy, again highlighting the importance of having Canadian women at the table during these types of conversations.

Our new omnibus research, which we conducted last month, shows that engaged women overwhelmingly understand the link between a thriving Canadian energy sector and a prosperous economy, yet they continue to remain absent from important decision-making tables — and their priorities in these sectors are missing from proposed policies.

One notable disconnect between the priorities of engaged women and energy policy is the continuation of the carbon tax, which makes life more expensive for the average Canadian. Our research reveals that 88 per cent of engaged women are keen to know how revenue from the carbon tax is actually being spent, emphasizing the level of concern about the policy.

As our CEO Tracey Bodnarchuk points out, “There’s still a lot more work to be done to enhance our prosperity through sound energy policy, despite the new budget commitments aimed at making life more affordable.”

Engaged women are telling us they want a new approach

A group representing 5.6 million women across Canada, engaged women are identified as those who are familiar with politics and the news, and who are interested in the future of Canada’s economy and energy sector.

They’re calling for a far more balanced approach to energy security and economic prosperity; they believe that Canada can reduce emissions while also encouraging responsible energy policy. And with real GDP per capita down more than two percent from a year ago, the government should be exploring homegrown ways to generate revenue, starting with our energy sector.

Our research supports this viewpoint, and desires for the federal government to recognize the significant role energy security plays in this equation. If engaged women can see the clear links between a robust Canadian energy sector and a resilient economy, why can’t our government connect the same dots?

Our energy sector needs to be incentivized

We also know that Canada’s energy sector is committed to innovation. To properly fund this innovation, the sector needs incentives to support the technological investments that will advance the energy system Canadians need and to keep the sector competitive.

This year’s budget made no mention of incentives. To fund all the new financial commitments in the 2024 budget — which would cost billions of dollars — the government will need a robust energy industry. That’s why it is a missed opportunity the budget did not do more to support the necessary development of Canadian energy.

We will continue to put forward our research highlighting what engaged women want to see from government energy policies and how homegrown solutions can tackle the country’s affordability crisis.

This budget provided an opportunity to do that but unfortunately missed the mark; we continue to call on our federal government to connect the dots in the same way engaged women do and introduce policy that meets their needs.

We’d like the government to take the concerns of engaged women seriously and commit to an approach that enables a resilient economy through sound energy policy.

Do you like hearing what engaged women have to say about issues Canada is facing? In the next few months, remember to keep an eye out for our forthcoming spring research, where we will spotlight the latest opinions of the growing group of engaged women across Canada about current and pending energy policy, our prosperity, energy security and emissions reduction.

Research methodology

Survey data is from Leger’s Omnibus Study, conducted from March 22 – March 24, 2024, among 1,605 Canadians, randomly recruited from Leger’s LEO’s online panel.

The women who were classified as Engaged Women identified as someone who reads/listens to the news, is informed on politics, believe to be somewhat left/in the middle/on the right, and is neutral or in agreement with the many statements related to having an interest in: influencing government, learning about the future, learning more about topics that could impact Canadians future wealth and prosperity, understanding what I can do to support important issues facing Canadians, and having a voice about the future of oil and gas and energy.