Canada’s Nationally Determined Contribution

Spotlight Activity: Canada’s Nationally Determined Contribution

Canada signed and ratified the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement with a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. As a result, the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change plan was adopted by Canada’s First Ministers and the Prime Minster on December 9, 2016. Pricing carbon pollution is central to Canada’s plan. In 2016, the federal government tabled a national price on carbon, expected to start with a $10 per tonne fee in 2018, with increases to $50 a tonne by 2022.

Provinces and territories were given flexibility to develop their own programs by last September to have reviewed that they reach the federal target. If not, Ottawa would top up or put into force their own plan held to a federal standard. On January 15, 2018, with four provincial strategies underway (British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec), Ottawa did just that with a draft policy, the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, and the regulatory framework to implement it. Provinces and territories planning to adopt the federal system were to confirm their use by March 30, 2018. After reviewing each system submitted, Ottawa will implement this legislation on January 1, 2019, where no carbon pricing system meets the federal benchmark.

To read more, visit Canada’s 2017 contribution submission to the United Nations –

Status: Right Direction

Climate Action Tracker’s assessment of Canada’s targets are that they will not hold warming to below 2 degrees C unless it includes carbon sinks and experiences low economic growth, and that Canada must significantly enhance both its NDC and its proposed level of climate action to get onto an emissions pathway compatible with the Paris Agreement.

Climate Scorecard perceptions to achieve the NDC are as follows:

  1. The Office of the Auditor General of Canada by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development (March 2018) report emphasized climate change actions taken across the country have fallen short of Canada’s commitments: more than half the governments didn’t have overall targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and of those that did, only two are on track to meet their targets; most had not fully assessed climate change risks with adaptation plans; there is limited coordination of climate change action within most governments; some aren’t reporting progress in a regular and timely manner. Thus, the importance of keeping to Ottawa’s January 2019 deadline.
  2. Policies must be quantified for emissions outcomes the same as they are for budgets.
  3. Strong investment is needed, particularly for Adaptation, demonstrating the long-term consequence of climate change already.
  4. Shift the target date for eliminating fossil fuel subsidies from 2025 to 2020 or sooner, a total of $3.3 billion annually.

Take Action

To help ensure the success of Canada’s Paris Agreement commitment, please contact Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change with the following message:

As a global leader, it is important that Canada reach its Paris Agreement targets. We recognize Canada did not take action for a decade and your government has moved this agenda forward significantly. Countries can strengthen their pledge before the Agreement goes into effect in 2020. We ask that Canada increase its pledge to ensure, we as a nation, limit warming to 1.5°C.


The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Mail: 200 Sacré-Coeur Boulevard, Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0H3
Tel: 819-938-3860

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