Canada Emissions Reduction Policy

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Canada:  Bill C-30: The Clean Air and Climate Change Act

Canada’s Clean Air and Climate Change Act has been used to support initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GGEs) and improve air quality; bring innovation to clean energy and transportation (two of Canada’s largest emission sources), improve indoor air quality, and build adaptation and international engagement strategies. Research funds for climate change regulatory actions, emissions reporting, policy development, and enforcement come from the Clean Air agenda. In 2012, stringent regulations were published to address coal-fired electricity generation GGE including the phase out of coal use.

The genesis of the Clean Air and Climate Change Act goes back to 2006 when Bill C-30 was brought forward to provide greater coherence in emissions reporting, by the Conservatives in power. Under the first-reading, no mention was made of reporting on the Kyoto Protocol.  The Notice of Intent read firm limits would not be set on greenhouse gas emissions (GGE) until 2020 or 2025 and regulations on large final emitters would not take effect until 2010. The bill was rejected by all opposition parties, thus it was not approved by House of Commons.  By agreement, it was then referred to the Legislative Committee before a second-reading stage. This allowed greater latitude in amending the bill than would otherwise been the case. As amended, it was reoriented to emphasize action to fulfill Canada’s international obligations to reduce GGEs. Bill C-30 also incorporated 3 earlier federal Acts: Canadian Environmental Protection Act (1999), Energy Efficiency Act, and Motor Vehicle Fuel Consumption Standards Act.

Recent Policy Related Efforts

On October 5, more than 200 federal MPs voted for a Paris Accord ratification motion in the House of Commons, 81, mostly Conservative, opposed it as there was no data” that $50 a tonne by 2022 will reduce demand for high-emissions products and they say the scheme will stifle economic growth. On October 3, Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna announced a national carbon pricing plan starting in 2018 will require provinces and territories to adopt a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system with a minimum price per tonne of $10, rising to $50 per tonne by 2022, otherwise the federal government will come up with one for them. The NDP criticized that indigenous plans were not listed and that Liberals were adopting the previous government’s targets but they supported the vote. The March Vancouver Declaration, in which Canada’s premiers agreed to look at market mechanisms for carbon pricing within their own jurisdictions was acknowledged. Two amendments from opposing parties were defeated as “dif-ferences” in how carbon pricing happens, but it is felt the majority agreed carbon pricing needed to happen. This will be the next big target to monitor. Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission stated in 2015, most provinces and the country as a whole were not on target yet to achieve the Paris commitment without provincial carbon pricing

Learn More

See Ecofiscal and Pembina reports on policies needed for meaningful reductions through strategies such as carbon pricing, regulated standards, subsidies, infrastructure spending, research and development, and voluntary initiatives,
See Canada’s commitments to the UN on climate change,
For more details on Canada’s Clean Air Agenda, and regulatory process,   clean Air act
Canada’s original signing of Paris agreement this spring when a plan was yet to be developed to meet Canada’s international target of 30% reduction in GGEs by 2030, and what the targets mean, besides a reduction of 208 million tons of GGE
See Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Officer’s interpretation of carbon tax impacts on the future of Canadian families, ‘Canada’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Developments, Prospects and Reductions’, April 2016
Visit Canada’s September18 announcement pledging to enact a nationwide carbon price
See The Conference Board’s remarks on Canada’s impact in reducing emissions since the 1990’s


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