On 19 November 2020, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change (Minister) introduced Bill C-12 An Act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada’s efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050 (Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act), in the House of Commons and it was given first reading.  Bill C-12 requires that national targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada be set, with the objective of attaining net-zero emissions by 2050. The targets are to be set by the Minister of the Environment for 2030, 2035, 2040 and 2045.

Each yearly target will be based on the scientific information and target for the year to which the plan relates as well as a description of the key emissions-reduction measures the Government of Canada intends to take to achieve its greenhouse-gas-emissions target; a description of any relevant sectoral strategies; and a description of emissions-reduction strategies for federal government operations.

In the event of a missed target, the Minister must table a report outlining the reasons why Canada failed to meet the target and describing the actions the Government will take or is taking to address the failure to achieve the target. Beyond tabling reports in Parliament, the Act calls on the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development to examine and report on the Government’s implementation of climate-change mitigation measures at least once every five years.

The legislation also establishes an independent Net-Zero Advisory Body to provide the Government of Canada with expert advice to grow the economy and achieve net-zero emissions including on measures to catalyze long-term, low-carbon economic growth across the Canadian economy, as well as policy measures to incentivize economically and environmentally beneficial investments in step-change infrastructure and clean technology.

The Advisory Body is required to consider a range of factors:

  • Economic costs and opportunities. For example, impacts on job creation and competitiveness, trade and export opportunities, regional economic impacts, opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises, and domestic and international supply chain considerations.
  • Environmental benefits. For example, greenhouse-gas-reduction potential, improved resilience and adaptation to climate change, decreases to other pollutants, and nature conservation and other co-benefits.
  • Contributions to inclusivity and well-being. For example, opportunities to further reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples; analysis of the impacts on marginalized or vulnerable people; degree of public engagement, awareness, and support for the proposed actions; and improvements to Canada’s education and skills development agenda.
  • Technological readiness and requirements. For example, available and emerging clean technologies, role of net-negative technologies, and technology needs and investments required.

Please see: https://parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/43-2/bill/C-12/first-reading

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