Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Mandate

Mandate and role: Who we are and what we do

Environment and Climate Change Canada is the lead federal department for a wide range of environmental issues. The department addresses these issues through various actions including the implementation of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change; engaging with our strategic partners including provinces, territories and Indigenous peoples; monitoring; science-based research; policy and regulatory development; and, through the enforcement of environmental laws. The department's programs focus on minimizing threats to Canadians and their environment from pollution; equipping Canadians to make informed decisions on weather, water and climate conditions; and conserving and restoring Canada's natural environment.

The department's program focus reflects the interdependence between environmental sustainability and economic well-being.

Under the Department of the Environment Act, the powers, duties and functions of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change extend to matters such as:

  • the preservation and enhancement of the quality of the natural environment, including water, air and soil quality, and the coordination of the relevant policies and programs of the Government of Canada
  • renewable resources, including migratory birds and other non-domestic flora and fauna
  • meteorology; and
  • the enforcement of rules and regulations

The department delivers its mandate through other acts and regulations, such as the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999), the pollution prevention provisions of the Fisheries Act, the Federal Sustainable Development Act, the Species at Risk Act, the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, the Canada Wildlife Act, and the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act.

The department works closely with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and Parks Canada – its ministerial portfolio partners – to achieve many common goals. In addition, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change has secondary or shared responsibility for delivering on other federal departments’ mandates, including the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act (Transport Canada, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, and Natural Resources Canada), the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act (Natural Resources Canada), and the Emergency Management Act (Public Safety Canada).

For more information on the department’s organizational mandate letter commitments, see the Minister’s mandate letter.

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