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441-01068 (Environment)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change


  • The Qualicum Institute submitted an environmental petition to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development and to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change on May 27, 2017 (No. 408) and the Minister's response was unsatisfactory;
  • We continue to be deeply concerned that the Canadian government is ignoring the overwhelming scientific evidence on the principal drivers of climate change and biodiversity loss, economic and population growth;
  • The IPCC has stated in at least two recent reports that "Globally, economic and population growth continue to be the most important drivers of increases in CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion. The contribution of population growth between 2000 and 2010 remained roughly identical to that of the previous three decades, while the contribution of economic growth has risen sharply (high confidence)"; and
  • With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting our health, economy, and environment, we cannot return to what was normal; continuous economic growth cannot be reconciled with a healthy environment; this crisis presents an opportunity to implement true science-based policies to address the current climate and biodiversity crises.

We, the undersigned scientists, concerned citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to:

1. Recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic presents a unique opportunity to address the errors resulting from policy decisions of the past, specifically those related to the climate and biodiversity crises;

2. Ensure that all future federal government economic initiatives are founded on a scientific understanding of the limits of economic and population growth;

3. Align the national economy with Canadians' well-being and within the carrying capacity of the environment-not wealth generation or economic growth;

4. Ensure the health and welfare of all Canadians by moving to a low-carbon-emission, steady state economy with a stable population and a stable level of resource consumption kept within ecological limits; and

5. Prevent further biodiversity loss, restore our degraded life-supporting ecosystems, and protect at least 50% of all regional ecosystems.

Response by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable STEVEN GUILBEAULT

Regarding points 1, 4 and 5, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) fully agrees on the urgency of addressing the dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. Since the Honourable member’s 2021 petition on this same issue (432-01242), the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which took place in Egypt in November 2022, and the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which took place in Montreal in December 2022, have demonstrated the increasing global focus on these issues.

Canada took a strong international leadership role in the development of the ambitious new Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, which was adopted by the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity on December 19, 2022, to guide global efforts to 2030 to halt and reverse biodiversity loss. The Framework addresses the direct drivers of global biodiversity loss: land- and sea-use change; direct overexploitation; pollution; invasive species; as well as climate change given that we cannot solve the climate crisis without nature, nor can we solve the nature crisis without stabilizing the climate.

Canada has committed to conserve 25% of our lands and waters by 2025 and 30% of each by 2030, working to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 in Canada, achieve a full recovery for nature by 2050 and champion this goal internationally.

This is an ambitious goal.  Since 2015, Canada has increased its conserved terrestrial areas by more than 2%, roughly the size of Italy. As of December 2021, 13.5% of lands and inland waters have been conserved. On the marine side, Canada has conserved 14% of our marine and coastal areas, up from less than 1% in 2015. Budget 2021 investments are setting the stage to support efforts to conserve 30% of land and waters by 2030.

Regarding points 2 and 3, ECCC would like to draw your attention to three targets within the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. Target 14 speaks to the integration of biodiversity and its multiple values into policies, regulations, planning and development processes within and across all levels of government and across all sectors. Target 16 relates to ensuring that people are encouraged and enabled to make sustainable consumption choices and by 2030, reducing the global footprint of consumption in an equitable manner. Finally, Target 18 relates to identifying and eliminating, phasing out or reforming incentives, including subsidies, which are harmful for biodiversity and scaling up positive incentives for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

With the successful conclusion of the Conference of the Parties (COP) 15, the focus in the coming months will be on the development of Canada’s national biodiversity strategy and action plan to 2030, which will go beyond protected areas to address all aspects of nature conservation and sustainable use. This will include, among other actions, furthering efforts to restore degraded ecosystems and accelerate action for species recovery; continue promoting and using nature-based solutions to better value and conserve Canada’s biodiversity, carbon-rich ecosystems; and, advance work to realign subsidies harmful to biodiversity toward nature-positive outcomes.

Canada is committed to the full implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. As such, the Government has significantly scaled up investments in nature. Beginning in 2023–24, the department of Environment will provide up to $800 million over seven years to support up to four Indigenous-led conservation initiatives. Once completed, these projects could protect up to an additional one million square kilometres.

In Budget 2021, the department of Environment invested $2.3 billion over five years to enable Canada to reach its goal of conserving 25% of our lands and oceans by 2025, and to work towards conserving 30% of each by 2030. Taken together with funding provided for the Nature Legacy Initiative announced in 2018, this represents the largest investment in nature conservation in Canada’s history.

Additionally, between 2020 and 2022, the department of Environment invested over $5 billion to establish the Natural Climate Solutions Fund. This Fund is being used to plant two billion trees across Canada, and to restore and improve the management of forests, grasslands, wetlands and agricultural lands. These actions will help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increase carbon sequestration, while providing a host of biodiversity, climate change adaptation and human well-being co-benefits.

Canada is one of many countries demonstrating strong economic performance while decreasing the GHG intensity of their economies. For instance, while GHG emissions have held relatively constant since 2005 in Canada, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown substantially indicating progress on decoupling growth from emissions. In fact, the emissions intensity for the entire economy has declined by 39% since 1990 and by 26% since 2005.

While GDP remains an important metric, there is growing recognition of the shortcomings of GDP and other traditional economic indicators as stand-alone measures of the overall well-being of societies. That is why the government is working on a Quality of Life Framework that would put a more holistic and comprehensive evidence base at the centre of government decision-making, both now and over the longer term. (Measuring What Matters: Toward a Quality of Life Strategy for Canada -




Presented to the House of Commons
Rachel Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
December 14, 2022 (Petition No. 441-01068)
Government response tabled
January 30, 2023
Photo - Rachel Blaney
North Island—Powell River
New Democratic Party Caucus
British Columbia

64 signatures

Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.