Canada Releases Array of New Emissions Reduction Policies

Climate Progress in the First Half of 2023

B Rating

Canada’s progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GGEs) over the first six months of 2023 is demonstrated partially by any changes to energy use, as GGEs data is only available on a yearly basis. Canada reporting has shown limited progress in meeting its Paris Agreement goal of reducing GGEs by 40-45% below 2005 levels (732 Mt CO2 eq) by 2030 (upgraded 2021) but more recently shows reductions surrounding Canada’s  2030 Emissions Reduction Plan (April 2022). In 2020, GGEs dropped to 659 Mt CO2 eq. during pandemic lockdowns from approximately 724 Mt CO2 eq in 2019. In 2021, emissions were 670 Mt CO2 eq, a 1.8% increase from 2020, given some post-pandemic recovery. Numbers are slightly adjusted from earlier federal reports and as presented in earlier Scorecard posts. Visit

Statistics Canada reports to Parliament through the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Industry. Their consolidated Energy Statistics provide national-level monthly estimates of supply and demand by fuel type (in terajoules). Several agencies routinely monitor this data. Consolidated energy data includes primary (coal, crude oil, natural gas, natural gas liquids, primary electricity, and renewable fuels) and secondary (coke, refined petroleum products, secondary electricity, and thermal) energy sources by fuel type.



March 2022 2,029,460 437,430 2,466,890 June 2023
March 2023 2,069,704 453,939 2,523,643   “  “

Statistics Canada, Table: 25-10-0079-01, Consolidated Energy Statistics

Statistics Canada’s above report shows the first quarter of 2023 with year-over-year increases in both primary (led by natural gas) and secondary (led by refined petroleum products) energy production. Crude oil and equivalent products grew 1.6% to 24.5 million cubic metres in 2023, as oil sand producers operated near full capacity before annual maintenance at various energy facilities for April. In March 2022, market instability due to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia contributed to a significant spike in energy prices.

Even with production consistent since January 2023, various policies below are replicable and expected to impact Canada’s emission reductions toward a 40-45% target below 2005 levels:

  • From 2022 (April), the release of the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan includes $9.1 billion in new investments (over eight years) to boost incentives for zero-emission vehicles, give tax breaks on carbon capture, utilization, and storage technology, and make Canada’s electricity grid cleaner. A progress report is expected before the end of 2023.
  • From 2022 (December), proposed regulations published require at least 20% of new vehicles sold are zero emissions by 2026, at least 60% by 2030, and 100% by 2035. Also published were amended passenger automobile and light truck GGE regulations and amended energy efficiency regulations for 2023.
  • 2023, Clean Electricity Regulations are under development toward electrical generation to be net zero by 2035, with conventional coal phase-out by 2030 (January).
  • 2023, Canada’s first Adaptation Action Plan draft gathering public input (January).
  • 2023, as the fossil fuel sector moves to decline production, a “just transition” plan for displaced workers was released to support a further low-carbon economy (February).
  • 2023, commitments to cap oil and gas emissions were recommended through the House of Commons standing committee to account for environmental impacts and costs (March).
  • 2023, carbon pricing charge moves from $50 to $65/tonne of GGE yearly (April) – the cornerstone of Canada’s approach to climate action.
  • 2023, phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies in development, expected by the end of 2023 (April).
  • 2023, commitment to plant two billion trees over the next decade has finalized six agreements with provinces/territories and 50 other partner agreements (April).
  • 2023, a commitment to phase out unabated coal by 2030 is underway (April).
  • 2023, shelving of Canada’s first deepwater oil project for three years by oil giant Equinor (May). Estimated 979 million barrelsof recoverable oil may be eventually rejected.
  • 2023, Canada Energy Regulator (June) report predicts new electricity demand from iron and steel production and manufacturing, green hydrogen, and the introduction of direct air capture technologies. Overall energy use will decrease 22% by 2050 because “in many instances, using electricity is much more efficient than using fossil fuels.”

Based on the above and predicted changes in emissions levels from policies enacted in the first half of 2023, Canada’s progress in emissions reduction rating appears as a B – Moderate Progress. More work is needed to meet 2030 and 2050 targets, as reductions in intensity are still partially offset by increased oil and gas production.


This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Canada Country Manager Diane Szoller.


Climate Scorecard depends on support from people like you.

We are a team of researchers providing information on efforts to reduce global emissions. We help make you better informed and able to advocate for improved climate change efforts. Donations of any amount are welcome.