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e-2712 (Environment)

Initiated by Karri Munn-Venn from Ottawa, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • We are called as people of faith to love and care for creation;
  • Canadian churches and faith-based organizations have united under the banner "For the Love of Creation";
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives and exacerbated existing vulnerabilities;
  • Respecting the interconnectedness of creation is critical for climate action, ecological and economic integrity, right relations with Indigenous Peoples, and for holistic recovery;
  • The shift in human behaviour resulted in modest, but unsustainable, emissions reductions and demonstrated the scientific imperative of systems change to limit warming; and
  • We can build back better.
We, the undersigned, residents of Canada and members of Canadian faith communities,, call upon the Government of Canada to:
1. Commit to reducing Canadian GHG emissions by 60 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, while investing in a just transition to a fair, inclusive, green economy that creates good secure jobs, and promotes the well-being of everyone in Canada;
2. Honour the rights of Indigenous peoples by animating the principle of free, prior and informed consent, particularly in the context of climate policy, energy policy, and infrastructure development, key to a robust and functioning right of free prior and informed consent is legislative implementation of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
3. Commit equal support for climate change adaptation and mitigation measures in the Global South through international climate financing mechanisms, with additional funding for loss and damage, scaling up to a fair share contribution of at least $4 billion USD per year;
4. Respond to the pandemic in the Global South through multilateral debt cancellation and increased grant-based support for Canadian international NGOs.

Response by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable David Lametti

On December 3, 2020, the Government introduced Bill C-15, An Act respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This is an important step along our collective journey of reconciliation. The key purpose of this initiative is to create a legislated framework for advancing self-determination, self-government, inclusion, economic participation, and equality for Indigenous peoples through the alignment of federal laws and policies with the UN Declaration over time. Over the last few months, the Government has used former Private Member’s Bill C-262, An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as the basis for discussion with Indigenous Peoples through distinctions-based virtual engagement sessions across Canada. The Government has also had dialogue with provincial and territorial governments and industry sectors on what the proposed legislation would and would not do.

If passed, the proposed UN Declaration legislation would require the federal government to collaborate on the development of an action plan with Indigenous peoples, and begin work to align federal laws and policies with the UN Declaration in a manner that more fully respects, protects, promotes and implements their rights, through collaborative processes, approaches and mechanisms, including free prior and informed consent. The approach proposed in the legislation commits the federal government to look for opportunities, together with Indigenous peoples, to uphold the rights included in the UN Declaration. As the Principles Respecting the Government of Canada’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples note, free prior and informed consent builds on and goes beyond the legal duty to consult. To this end, the Government of Canada will continue to look for opportunities to build processes and approaches aimed at securing consent, as well as creative and innovative mechanisms that will help build deeper collaboration, consensus and new ways of working with Indigenous peoples when making decisions that impact their rights and interests.


Response by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable JONATHAN WILKINSON

In pursuit of efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, the Government of Canada is committed to exceed Canada’s Paris Agreement 2030 emissions reduction goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels, and achieving net-zero emissionsby 2050.

To ensure Canada has a solid foundation to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, the Government has announced a plan to exceed Canada’s 2030 climate goal. A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy is Canada’s strengthened climate plan of federal policies, programs and investments to build a stronger, cleaner, more resilient and inclusive economy. This plan builds on the important accomplishments of and work underway with provinces, territories and Indigenous partners under the 2016 Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

The Pan Canadian Framework has done more to cut pollution in a practical and affordable way than any other climate plan in Canada’s history. Canada’s 2019 greenhouse gas emissions projections show a widespread decline in projected emissions across the economy, reflecting the breadth and depth of the Pan-Canadian Framework. In fact, the policies and measures now in place, including those introduced in 2019, are projected to reduce emissions by 227 million tonnes in 2030. Taken together with A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy, Canada will exceed its 2030 greenhouse-gas-reduction target—making it the first time ever this country has set a climate target and outlined a path to not only meet it but exceed it.

A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy outlines 64 new and strengthened federal climate measures and $15 billion in new investments. While some of these investments will begin immediately, other measures require engagement with provinces and territories, Indigenous partners, stakeholders, and with Canadians. Over the next few months, the Government of Canada will work with partners to ensure a strong, workable plan that can be delivered together.

As part of its plan, the Government of Canada will:

  • Continue to put a price on pollution through to 2030, rising at $15 per tonne after 2022, while returning the proceeds back to households such that the majority receive more money back than they pay in provinces where the federal system applies;
  • Create thousands of jobs retrofitting homes and buildings, including an investment of $2.6 billion over seven years to help homeowners make their homes more energy efficient, cutting energy costs for Canadian families and businesses;
  • Invest $1.5 billion over three years for green and inclusive community buildings, and require that at least 10 percent of this funding be allocated to projects serving First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, including Indigenous populations in urban centres;
  • Build on historic investments in public transit in the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to develop next steps on public transit, including the government’s plan to help electrify public transit systems, and provide permanent public transit funding;
  • Develop a national active transportation strategy, and explore ways to deliver more active transportation options;
  • Continue to make zero-emissions vehicles more affordable by extending the Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles (iZEV) program until March 2022, while investing an additional $150 million over three years in more charging stations across the country;
  • Support investments in renewable energy and next-generation clean energy and technology solutions;
  • Work with businesses to make Canada the best place to start and grow clean technology companies; and,
  • Plant 2 billion incremental trees over the next 10 years, as part of a broader commitment to nature-based solutions that also encompasses wetlands and urban forests.

In addition, the Government of Canada also recently tabled the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, which delivers on the government’s commitment to legislate Canada’s target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Once the bill becomes law, it will establish a legally binding process for the Government to set five-year emissions reduction targets based on the advice of experts and Canadians to ensure transparency and accountability as Canada charts a path to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. The Act also requires emissions reduction plans for each target and the publication of interim and final reports on implementation of the plans and the emissions reductions they achieve, as well as periodic examination and reporting by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development on the implementation of these mitigation measures. The Act will also establish a Net-Zero Advisory Body to provide independent advice to the Government on the best pathways to reach its targets, and also enshrine greater accountability and public transparency into Canada’s plan for meeting net-zero emissions by 2050.

The Government of Canada recognizes that Indigenous peoples are among the most vulnerable populations to a rapidly changing environment and is committed to renewing the relationship between the Government of Canada and First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation on a nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown, and government-to-government basis. This includes collaborating with Indigenous partners on climate change action through structured, collaborative approaches, based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership, consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including free, prior and informed consent.

In taking action on climate change and in moving forward on the implementation of Canada’s climate plan, in 2016 the Prime Minister issued joint statements with each of the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, the President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the President of the Métis National Council. These joint statements committed to establishing three senior bilateral distinctions-based tables between the Government of Canada and First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation. These partnerships seek to ensure that Indigenous Peoples are full and effective partners in advancing clean growth and achieving climate change goals to mitigate and reduce emissions as a necessary precursor to the mitigation of climate impacts.

The economic impacts of COVID-19 have been unprecedented with millions of jobs lost at the height of the lockdown in spring 2020, continued hardships throughout the year, and an unequal distribution of who feels these impacts more deeply. The Government of Canada is committed to helping Canada build back a better and more resilient economy including by creating over 1 million jobs to bring employment back to pre-pandemic levels with climate action and clean growth serving as a cornerstone for these efforts. This includes a variety of measures in our strengthened climate plan that will help create jobs from retrofitting homes and buildings, to building the infrastructure needed for clean transportation across the country, to helping clean technology firms grow.

At the same time we know that achieving Canada’s climate goals will require nothing short of a transformation of the Canadian economy with corresponding impacts on and opportunities for Canadian workers. Climate action and clean growth is a cornerstone of this commitment, and that Canadians must be at the center of our climate policies, which is why we need to support workers and communities affected by the transition to a low carbon economy. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, we established a Just Transition Task Force in 2018 to provide advice on how to make the transition away from traditional coal-fired electricity fair to those affected. In response to the Task Force’s recommendations, Budget 2019 proposed that we:

  • Create worker transition centres that will offer skills development initiatives and diversification activities in western and eastern Canada.
  • Work with those affected to explore new ways to protect wages and pensions.
  • Establish a $150 million infrastructure fund to support priority projects and economic diversification in impacted communities.

Adding to these efforts, the Government of Canada is working to prepare the workforce for a decarbonized economy by identifying skills that are in demand now and in the future, developing new approaches to skills development, and providing new opportunities for Canadian workers. The Future Skills program (led by Employment and Social Development Canada) provides an opportunity to support the deep transformations that will be required across a range of economic sectors in order to meet our climate change targets, and provide new opportunities for Canadian workers. Learn more about Future Skills at the following link:




Response by the Minister of International Development

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Karina Gould

3. Commit equal support for climate change adaptation and mitigation measures in the Global South through international climate financing mechanisms, with additional funding for loss and damage, scaling up to a fair share contribution of at least $4 billion USD per year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created tremendous loss and uncertainty around the world, but among the hardships and challenges there is also a key lesson. The pandemic has reminded us of what we can accomplish when we all work together toward a common goal. This is a lesson that can be applied to the fight against climate change, which remains one of the greatest challenges of our time.

The global pandemic has created an opportunity -- an opportunity to build back better. That means creating an economy and a society that is stronger, more sustainable, and more resilient than before.

Canada is committed to increasing ambition on climate action – at home and abroad.

Canada is fully committed to the goal of exceeding its Paris Agreement target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. Canada is also committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

At the global level, the Government of Canada recognizes that many cannot implement the measures required to face the global climate crisis without help. That is why Canada remains firmly committed to the collective goal of mobilizing US$100 billion in climate finance annually in 2020 and beyond.

In 2015, Canada announced that it would deliver $2.65 billion over five years in climate finance to help developing countries—particularly the poorest and most vulnerable—transition to low-carbon, sustainable and resilient economies. This commitment has not wavered in face of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, it has become even more critical in the face of the social, economic, and environmental impacts that are being felt on a global scale.

Looking ahead, and in recovering from the pandemic, there are far-reaching opportunities to build back better by accelerating the transition to clean, affordable, and secure energy and reorienting business and finance toward sustainable, nature-positive development.

As it develops its international climate finance commitment for post-2020, the Government of Canada consulted widely with stakeholders in Canada and abroad, including those in the Global South. In virtually every consultation event, stakeholders made the connection between international climate finance and the COVID-19 recovery, which risk reversing development gains and increasing inequality. This acutely affects specific sectors and segments of societies, challenging sustainable livelihoods for those in the Global South and elsewhere.

Furthermore, COVID-19 is placing pressure on developing countries, threatening to derail their progress in achieving their Nationally Determined Contributions (target greenhouse gas reductions) and national climate action priorities.

For these reasons, Canada’s next phase on international climate finance will reflect the role that climate finance should play in a green and equitable recovery. The parameters that the government sets for international climate finance, including its loan/grant mix, funding ambition, and mitigation/adaptation mix, will drive Canada’s leadership on international climate finance.

Canada remains steadfast in its commitment to be a global leader in addressing climate change with ambitious domestic and international action. Canada will continue to play a leadership role in supporting developing countries to address climate change, delivering on its commitments under the Paris Agreement, and encouraging innovative approaches to financing sustainable development to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in developing countries.

4. Respond to the pandemic in the Global South through multilateral debt cancellation and increased grant-based support for Canadian international NGOs. 

Canada’s approach and response to the pandemic

Canada knows that this global crisis will likely exacerbate inequalities and reverse development gains, in particular for women and children who already experience poverty, exclusion and marginalization more acutely. In line with Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, Canada’s response includes a particular focus on the world’s poorest and most marginalized, and considers the differentiated needs of women and girls.

Since February 11, 2020, the Government of Canada has announced commitments of approximately $1.1 billion in direct support to the global response to COVID-19. Canada has also made an additional $1 billion available for IMF loans related to COVID-19.

Canada recognizes that COVID-19 poses a unique and truly global challenge, and that it is in our common interest to work together to defeat it. This means bringing together the world’s best minds to find the vaccines, treatments and therapies we need to make our world healthy again, while strengthening the health systems that will make them available for all.

The international response and Canada’s efforts must also reinforce ongoing essential life-saving global health and humanitarian programs addressing other key crises and situations, and in particular programs aimed at women, children, adolescents and vulnerable populations, which too often are the first to be de-prioritized in light of other pressures.

Canada is working to ensure that international partners can maintain their services for vulnerable populations where possible, including support for sexual and reproductive health and rights, maternal and child health, food security and nutrition, education, the provision of humanitarian assistance, and programs aimed at combating gender-based violence.

Canada will continue to look for opportunities to leverage innovation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by encouraging traditional partners to use creative solutions, and by working with new partners to drive innovative approaches. This is particularly the case regarding medical counter-measures, where significant new developments in diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines are providing hope about containing and then ending the pandemic.

Debt Cancellation

Canada is implementing the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) with G20 members and the Paris Club. To date, the DSSI has provided nearly USD $6 billion in debt service relief to the poorest countries. This relief has been extended through June 2021.

Canada was also pleased to endorse the G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatment Beyond the DSSI (Common Framework) to address unsustainable debt challenges faced by some of the poorest countries. This marks the first time the G20 has committed to coordinated debt relief with the Paris Club and other willing creditors. The Common Framework is a significant step forward in creditor coordination and is expected to provide meaningful debt relief for the poorest countries.

Response by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Chrystia Freeland

4. Respond to the pandemic in the Global South through multilateral debt cancellation and increased grant-based support for Canadian international NGOs.

The pandemic has caused social and economic distress throughout the globe but it has acutely affected low- and middle-income countries. Canada is leading international coordination and cooperative efforts to provide equitable access to vaccinations, support global economic stability and help foster an inclusive recovery, including through Canada’s participation to the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI).

Canada has been advocating for international financial institutions to use all their instruments to the fullest extent possible as part of a coordinated global response. As part of the G20 Action Plan Progress Report, multilateral development banks have committed to provide net positive financial flows to the poorest countries over the suspension period of the DSSI. G20 and Paris Club countries have provided an estimated US$5.7 billion in temporary debt payment relief to some of the world’s poorest countries through the DSSI. Of this, Canada has provided over $40 million in debt payment relief. Given the scale of the COVID-19 crisis, the G20 and Paris Club countries have also recognized that debt treatments beyond the DSSI may be required on a case-by-case basis. In this context, Canada welcomed and endorsed the G20 "Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the DSSI", as an important opportunity to bring non-traditional bilateral and private sector lenders into debt restructuring Club processes.

Open for signature
July 8, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
October 6, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Nathaniel Erskine-Smith (Beaches—East York)
November 5, 2020 (Petition No. 432-00219)
Government response tabled
January 25, 2021
Photo - Nathaniel Erskine-Smith
Beaches—East York
Liberal Caucus