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e-3184 (Environment)

Initiated by Andrea Noble from Nanaimo, British Columbia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • Bill C-12 is a first-of-its-kind climate accountability legislation in Canada;
  • As it currently stands, the bill is not strong enough to help Canada meet its climate targets, and does not legally bind our government to targets; and
  • It does not hold our government accountable to creating jobs for workers transitioning out of the fossil fuel industry, and does not indicate its commitment to work with Indigenous nations on actions to combat climate change.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to take urgent action based on science and independent expertise to make Bill C-12 a world-class climate law by adopting three amendments to the bill before it passes:
1. Set the first emissions target for 2025, strengthen the role of the advisory body and the role of the Environment Commissioner, and ban fossil fuel executives from the advisory panel;
2. Bill C-12 should be aligned with Canada’s commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, putting workers and communities first, with no exceptions, and set targets for sustainable job creation to ensure a just transition for all workers; and
3. Create true legal accountability for the government by setting clear, unconditional obligations on the Minister of Environment to actually meet targets, not just plan to meet them.

Response by the Minister of Natural Resources

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Mr. Marc G. Serré

The Government of Canada is committed to putting Canadian workers and communities first during the global transition to a low-carbon economy and delivering on Canada’s strengthened climate plan, announced in December 2020. This includes helping Canadians prepare so they can be in a position to find new opportunities for sustainable employment in a low-carbon future while setting Canada on the path to net-zero emissions by 2050 as outlined in Bill C-12.

COVID-19 and the economic downturn that followed have fundamentally altered the speed and trajectory of the measures required to support Canadian workers. The pandemic has changed the world, but not the Government of Canada’s resolve to help workers navigate economic disruptions while also fighting climate change.

The strengthened climate plan supports Canada’s environmental and economic goals, which include creating well-paid job opportunities for Canadian workers. The plan will play a central role in helping the government fulfill the commitment to create over one million jobs, which will restore employment to pre-pandemic levels. All while ensuring the country realizes its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

The plan’s new investments and measures set clear objectives for sustainable job creation to meet the climate targets set out by Bill C-12 and include:

  • Creating thousands of jobs by offering incentives to Canadians to retrofit their homes and buildings. This will also help consumers and business-owners cut energy costs and save on monthly heating costs.
  • Growing the electricity sector to provide a wide range of jobs, from wind turbine and rooftop solar installers to software engineers developing new ways to improve Canada’s grids.
  • Introducing a Hydrogen Strategy for Canada. This initiative will strengthen Canada’s economic competitiveness and is expected to generate more than 350,000 high-paying jobs by 2050.
  • Investing an additional $300 million over five years to advance the government’s commitment to make sure rural, remote and Indigenous communities have the opportunity to be powered by clean, reliable energy by 2030. Projects under this plan will aim to be community-owned and will provide long-term, revenue-generating assets to Indigenous communities across Canada.
  • Collaboration between the Government of Canada and Atlantic provinces to complete the Atlantic Loop that will connect surplus clean power to regions moving away from coal. This project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve the resiliency of the grid provide clean and affordable power, and create jobs.
  • Leveraging Canada’s competitive advantage in mining through the government’s “mines-to-mobility” approach. This initiative will help build Canadian battery and critical mineral supply chains. It will also help create a labour force of skilled workers needed to supply the electric vehicle industry, for the aerospace sector, and for other components of the clean energy economy.

Through these investments, the government is taking strong action to achieve net-zero emissions by the year 2050, while creating jobs and helping workers through the clean energy transformation.

The Government of Canada is also working to ensure workers and communities are not left behind in the electricity sector’s transformation. Following the December 2018 announcement to phase out coal-fired electricity generation by 2030, the government established Canada’s Task Force on Just Transition. Task Force members consulted with impacted workers and communities, and provided recommendations to the government. Based on the Task Force’s findings, the government is investing:

  • $35 million towards the Canada Coal Transition Initiative for skills development and economic diversification in Canada’s coal regions.
  • $150 million to support priority infrastructure projects in affected communities.

Since October 2020, the Government of Canada has announced investments of over $32 billion to create sustainable jobs, build a clean energy economy, and fight and protect against climate change. These recent investments are in addition to the roughly $60 billion the government had already invested in climate action and clean growth since 2015. These demonstrably strong investments and measures highlighted by the strengthened climate plan will help Canadians achieve ambitious emissions objectives for 2050 set out by Bill C-12, as well as ensure that workers and communities come first in the clean energy future.

Response by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson

Thank you for your petition in regards to improving Bill C-12, the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act.

Bill C-12 codifies the Government’s commitment for Canada to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and creates a detailed accountability regime to ensure that we methodically plan, report and course correct on our way to net zero. The Bill requires the Government to set national emissions reduction targets at five-year intervals for 2030, 2035, 2040 and 2045. It also requires the Government to develop emission reduction plans that must be designed to achieve each target, and that explain how they will contribute to reaching net-zero in 2050.

In December 2020, the Government published a Strengthened Climate Plan, A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy, designed to ensure that Canada exceeds the previous 2030 target of 30% reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 2005 levels. The plan is one of the most detailed GHG emissions reduction plans in the world.

Recognizing the scientific imperative for early and ambitious action to meet the 2050 net zero goal, at the April Leaders Climate Summit the Government announced a new 2030 target of 40-45% reduction in GHG emissions from 2005 levels. Budget 2021 then supported that new target by providing additional support for short- and long-term decarbonization actions.

As required under the Paris Agreement, Canada plans to provide an updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in the coming months. That updated NDC will reflect this new target and will provide an overview of the numerous interconnected measures being taken to achieve it and the projected trajectory of emissions reductions out to 2030. In turn, these steps will be consistent with the obligation in the Act to publish a plan to achieve the new target within 6 months of the Bill coming into force.

Bill C-12 imposes numerous obligations over the next decade to keep governments on track. In addition to setting targets and developing plans with measures to achieve them, the Bill requires the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change to prepare two types of reports: progress reports and assessment reports.

Progress reports will provide updates on Canada’s progress towards achieving the target for the next milestone year. The first progress report will be prepared at least two years before 2030. Assessment reports will explain whether the most recent target was achieved. They will also describe the effectiveness and adequacy of the measures taken, and will course correct, as needed. If Canada fails to achieve a target, the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change must include in the assessment report for that period an explanation of why Canada failed to meet the target and a description of any actions the Government will take to address the failed target.

The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development also has a key role under C-12 in holding the Government to account. The Bill requires the Commissioner to examine and report at least once every five years on the implementation of GHG mitigation measures, and in particular on the measures to achieve each interim target.

The Bill also establishes an advisory body of up to 15 members who will serve part-time for renewable terms of up to three years. Their role is to provide advice to the Minister and conduct engagement on optimal pathways to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The Bill will require the Minister to give the Advisory Body an opportunity to comment on the setting or amending of targets or establishing or amending of a plan. The Advisory Body must submit an annual report on its advice and activities to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change who must then publicly respond to the advice.

The members of the first Net-Zero Advisory Body were announced in February 2021. The Advisory Body brings together 14 individuals with a range of expertise in science, business, labour, policy-making, rural economic development, and Indigenous governance and different experiences including from the transportation, clean technology, forestry, electricity, finance, and not-for-profit sectors. The members were selected to represent the diversity of the Canadian population including members from British Columbia, the Prairies, Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic Canada, and the North. The Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act proposes to establish the Net-Zero Advisory Body in legislation. The Advisory Body already started its critical work but once established by the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, members would be subject to the Governor in Council’s open, transparent, and merit-based appointment process.

A number of suggestions have been made about how to improve the Bill. The Government is open and committed to strengthening this bill as it moves through Parliament. Proposed amendments will be discussed by parliamentarians as the Bill is debated in the House of Commons and the Senate.

The Government of Canada will continue to work for the health and well-being of Canadians, and for a cleaner, more resilient and prosperous world for this and future generations.

Open for signature
February 18, 2021, at 6:05 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
March 20, 2021, at 6:05 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Paul Manly (Nanaimo—Ladysmith)
April 22, 2021 (Petition No. 432-00856)
Government response tabled
June 7, 2021
Photo - Paul Manly
Green Party Caucus
British Columbia