Madam Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking the member for Sydney—Victoria for introducing this motion and for his consistent advocacy on this topic. If adopted, this motion would launch a committee study on the creation of an environmentally conscious labelling regime on all products available to Canadians.
Before I begin discussing why I support this motion, I would like to speak on a topic that is of utmost important to me, many of my constituents in Richmond Hill and many Canadians.
Climate change is a serious concern that presents a great threat to our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren. The rise of greenhouse gas emissions from humans into the earth's atmosphere has led to an increased concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, ultimately affecting the earth's climate and the way we live as humans.
The effects of climate change are already being seen today. Global surface temperatures have been on the rise since the 1990s, leading to extreme weather conditions such as droughts, floods and high temperatures, affecting our agriculture industry, forests, glaciers and wildlife.
As a father of two, I constantly think about the impacts of climate change and hope I personally can reduce my carbon footprint as well as my family's carbon footprint to create a better environment for my future grandchildren. I am looking forward to having grandchildren at some point.
Many Canadians, especially in my riding of Richmond Hill, feel the same way I do. The main question for us is, what can we do to ensure that the future is safe, not only for our children but our grandchildren? This motion makes it a lot easier for parents like me to be able to answer questions like that.
The heart of this motion is designed to support the Canadian consumer who wants and deserves to know the environmental impact of the product they are purchasing, allowing them to make informed decisions that impact their families.
We also know that many Canadian industries and businesses have already started selling sustainably produced and locally grown products, and have seen the benefits to the environment and to their bottom lines. Our government can work to bring consumer interests and the specific needs of Canadian businesses together by creating a clear metric that assesses the environmental impact of the products we are buying.
Two weeks ago, I held the first meeting of my community environmental council. This council is a space where constituents from Richmond Hill are able to have a forum to discuss their priorities and feedback for our government that are related specifically to the environment. These individuals are diverse in their ages, backgrounds and life experiences, but they all have one thing in common: their passion for the environment and the future we are leaving to the next generation.
In this meeting, I realized how universal my own values are. Canadians are concerned about climate change and saving our environment. We are introducing clear environmental labelling with an accessible grading system. Consumers will have the power to know the effects on the environment of the products they consume and can make the conscious decision to shop sustainably.
Canadians would be informed on the waste created and the greenhouse gas emitted from the products they use and would be able to clearly identify the products that are more sustainable. Industries will then have the opportunity to reflect on these practices and make sustainable changes to their products as well. A standardized system across Canada will ensure that the information is accurate, science-based and transparent.
Currently, large corporations have the means and resources to be able to invest in PR that advertises their sustainable practices. This often hurts our small local producers, who are not able to invest in such advertising. A consistent metric on all product labels will ensure that companies with large budgets will not have the advantage and that consumers can judge products accurately. This will drive a green shift in the market, and businesses will be inclined to adhere to more sustainable practices.
We know that Canadians are concerned about the future, and I know that given the choice, Canadians will make the right decision. Informative labelling on Canadian products is not new, and statistically there are positive effects. Nutritional labelling has been mandatory in Canada since 2017, giving Canadians the power to base their decisions to buy food on the food's nutritional values.
It is a simple and effective way of informing consumers of the ingredients of the products they consume. Researchers from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine have found that the standardized nutritional information on products reduces consumer purchases of unhealthy choices by about 13%. This system could be very similar to how products are graded based on several indicators of sustainability, including but not limited to, greenhouse gas emissions, water and energy usage, waste creation, chemicals in the products, recyclability and durability. We can safely assume that when the grade is clearly outlined on the front, a consumer will be more likely to make the sustainable choice.
The Canada Environmental Protection Act already requires authorities to label products, for example, for containing mercury. We have also seen labelling requirements under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, the Pest Control Products Act, and the Food and Drugs Act. Canadians are already comfortable with reading labels on products.
I imagine a scenario where a conscious consumer is deciding between two different brands of the same product. They want to make a decision that will result in a lower carbon footprint, and with this they would have an accessible way of easily knowing which is less impactful on our environment. I also imagine that this would help our local Canadian producers and manufacturers. Lower emissions of greenhouse gases from a faster and more sustainable transportation method would make for a higher grade and help promote our local businesses.
By passing this motion, sending it to the committee and engaging in this study, we will have already established Canada as committed to climate action and providing a better future for our next generation. By investing in equal labelling regimes, it would be a step in Canada's transition into a circular economy that would encourage businesses to take responsibility for the products they sell to Canadians, including for their recycling potential.
In closing, we have already begun this transition through the Canada-wide strategy on zero plastic waste, which endorses a shift toward extended producer responsibility for the recycling of plastic products. I imagine that we will be much closer to a green-tech economy through this initiative as well. I hope that this motion passes and that we continue on our path to saving our environment and ensuring a sustainable future for the next generation. I support this motion moving to the committee for study. I am part of the industry committee, and I look forward to receiving this motion at the committee to be able to study it.