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e-3919 (Environment)

Initiated by Victor Brice from Nanaimo, British Columbia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • Thermal coal, the kind burned to make electricity, is the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel;
  • Thermal coal creates half of the world’s carbon emissions and the pollution it creates kills more than 800,000 people every year;
  • The government has a plan to phase out thermal coal exports, but it is outdated and insufficient;
  • The world needs to move rapidly away from thermal coal to have any chance of limiting global warming to the Paris target of 1.5 degrees Celsius;
  • The physical effects of climate change pose serious risks for Canadians, Canada’s wildlife and the Canadian economy including permafrost melt, droughts, heatwaves, wildfires, floods, sea level rise, increased vector-borne diseases, disruptions to supply chains, destruction of infrastructure and damage to key industries including agriculture and forestry; and
  • Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions have increased since the Paris Agreement was signed, making it the worst performing of all G7 nations since the 2015 Conference of the Parties in Paris, France.
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:
1. Add thermal coal to the Priority Substances List of the Canadian Environment Protection Act (CEPA), and, as soon thereafter as possible, to the Toxic Substances List of CEPA; and
2. Regulate the mining, use, export, and import of thermal coal in Canada in accordance with our international commitments to reduce carbon emissions at home and abroad.

Response by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

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

Phasing out coal use in our electricity sector is another critical component of Canadian and global efforts to tackle climate change. The clean energy transition will not only cut greenhouse gas emissions, it will also protect our air, our water and our health.

In December 2018, Canada published regulations to phase out conventional coal-fired electricity by 2030. This is expected to result in cumulative GHG reductions of 94 million tonnes over the 2019 to 2055 period, including 12.8 million tonnes in 2030.

At the 26th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Climate Change Conference of the Parties, Prime Minister Trudeau stated Canada’s goal of establishing a net-zero emissions electricity grid by 2035. This commitment was reflected in the mandate letter for the Minister of the Environment in December 2021. Achieving that goal will be transformational, and will require multiple measures and all levels of government working together. At the federal level, the new Clean Electricity Standard is being complemented by numerous investment programs for the electricity sector administered by Natural Resources Canada, ISED and Infrastructure Canada, including those announced in Budget 2022. These measures are intended to help ensure that Canada achieves a clean, reliable and affordable electricity system. For further information regarding the development of the CES, please see A clean electricity standard in support of a net-zero electricity sector.

The Government of Canada is also addressing GHG emissions from electricity generation globally. Burning thermal coal is the single largest contributor to climate change globally and a major source of toxic pollution that harms human health. In 2019, Export Development Canada committed to no new financing for international coal-fired power plants, thermal coal mines or dedicated thermal coal-related infrastructure. In May 2021, all G7 countries, following Canada’s leadership, also agreed to take concrete steps to take steps to end government investment for unabated thermal coal power generation projects. In the aforementioned mandate letter of December 2021, the Minister of Environment was also mandated to Work with the Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development to continue Canada’s leadership on the global effort to phase out coal-powered electricity and the mining of thermal coal and ban thermal coal exports from and through Canada as swiftly as possible, and no later than 2030.


Open for signature
March 11, 2022, at 2:50 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
May 10, 2022, at 2:50 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
June 13, 2022 (Petition No. 441-00563)
Government response tabled
September 20, 2022
Photo - Elizabeth May
Saanich—Gulf Islands
Green Party Caucus
British Columbia