Backgrounders: appearance before the Standing Committee
Canada Water Act
- M-34 was introduced in the House of Commons by Liberal Member of Parliament Francis Scarpaleggia (Lac-Saint-Louis) on February 20, 2020.
- M-34 has been placed in the Order of Precedence. The Motion could receive up to two, non-consecutive hours of debate in the House before it is voted on.
- Motion M-34 instructs the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development to undertake a comprehensive study of federal freshwater policies and legislation.
- This study would include an examination of legislative instruments; key components of federal freshwater policy; the relationship between the federal government and the provinces, territories, Indigenous peoples, and local groups; various international treaties governing Canada's freshwater interests and obligations; present and future research needs relating to freshwater management and protection; the pressures on Canada's freshwater resources; and the creation of a Canada Water Agency.
- The Motion calls for the committee to begin its study no later than 30 days after adoption of the motion, and to report its findings and recommendations to the House within one year.
- Recommendations arising from the study could propose changes to current federal freshwater policy and legislation, which may have implications for all orders of government, Indigenous people, and other stakeholders across Canada.
- Officials have begun work, including engaging with interested stakeholders.
Canada Water Agency
- The Mandate Letter received by the Minister on December 13, 2019, identifies the following commitment specific to the creation of a Canada Water Agency:
- With the support of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, create a new Canada Water Agency to work together with the provinces, territories, Indigenous communities, local authorities, scientists and others to find the best ways to keep our water safe, clean and well-managed.
- The mandate and structure of the Canada Water Agency has not yet been defined.
- The Honorable Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, is responsible for advancing the commitment to create a new Canada Water Agency.
- Environment and Climate Change Canada is collaborating with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to discuss the launch of foundational work, interdepartmental engagement, and collaboration with partners, to inform creation of the Canada Water Agency.
- Given that water governance in Canada is complex, with freshwater management being a shared responsibility across more than 20 federal departments and agencies, and between federal, provincial and territorial governments, and Indigenous peoples by virtue of their Aboriginal and treaty rights, consultations will be an important element in creating a Canada Water Agency.
- Some water-related organizations have started to share their views with the Government, which will inform the creation of the Canada Water Agency.
- The department is currently working to confirm the timing and path forward for consulting with provinces, territories, Indigenous communities, local authorities, scientists and others on freshwater issues in Canada and options for the role of a Canada Water Agency.
Carbon Pricing Litigation
The provinces of Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba have challenged the constitutionality of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (GGPPA). Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta filed reference cases with their respective Courts of Appeal. Manitoba filed a judicial review application in the Federal Court.
On February 24, 2020, the Alberta Court of Appeal released its opinion on the constitutionality of the GGPPA, with a majority (4 to 1) opining that the Act is unconstitutional.
This opinion does not affect the application of the federal fuel charge in Alberta, which took effect January 1, 2020. Alberta implements its own carbon pollution pricing system for high-emitting industry—the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction system (TIER).
In previous Ontario and Saskatchewan Courts of Appeal opinions, in each case the majority found that the Act is constitutional.
On June 28, 2019, a majority of the Ontario Court of Appeal concluded that the Act is constitutional and that it falls within Parliament’s power to legislate on matters of national concern for the peace, order, and good government of Canada. The Ontario Court of Appeal found that greenhouse gas emissions are a distinct form of pollution that have no concern for provincial or national boundaries.
On May 3, 2019, a majority on the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal found the Act to be constitutional, agreeing that a price on carbon pollution is an essential part of the global effort to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
The Supreme Court of Canada is scheduled to hear Ontario and Saskatchewan’s Appeals of these decisions on March 24 and 25th, 2020. The decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal will be considered in this context.
The federal government's position is that the GGPPA is constitutional. Parliament has authority to pass the Act for the peace, order, and good government of Canada under s. 91 of the Constitution Act, 1867 to establish minimum national standards integral to reducing nationwide greenhouse gas emissions.
Clean Fuel Standard
The Government of Canada is developing a Clean Fuel Standard to make fuels used in our buildings, vehicles, and industries cleaner. This reduces air pollution, fights climate change, and drives clean growth.
The Clean Fuel Standard will encourage the production of clean fuels, drive efficiency in the oil and gas sector, and create an incentive to use less-polluting fuels. Similar standards are in place in British Columbia, California, Oregon, and the European Union. These jurisdictions have experienced growth in their clean fuel sectors and in uptake of electric vehicles since adopting standards for cleaner fuels.
The Clean Fuel Standard will make an important contribution toward achieving Canada’s 2030 GHG emission reduction target.
The Clean Fuel Standard regulations will cover all fossil fuels used in Canada, but will set separate requirements for liquid, gaseous and solid fossil fuels. It is being developed in a phased approach, with liquid fuel class regulations being developed first, followed by gaseous and solid fuel class regulations.
The Clean Fuel Standard complements other climate policies and investments being made under the Pan Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, including carbon pollution pricing. These policies work in concert to reduce emissions across the economy, and create incentives for innovation and clean growth.
On June 28, 2019, Environment and Climate Change Canada released the Proposed Regulatory Approach for the Clean Fuel Standard. This document presents the full regulatory design for the liquid fossil fuel regulations of the Clean Fuel Standard, developed with extensive engagement and consultations with stakeholders.
Proposed regulations for the Clean Fuel Standard are targeted for publication in Canada Gazette, Part 1, in spring 2020. A public consultation period will follow. Final regulations are targeted for publication in spring 2021, with the regulation taking effect in 2022.
- Clean technology development and adoption is an important element in supporting Canada’s transition to a low-carbon future and a circular economy, achieving net zero by 2050, and growing Canada’s economy.
- Clean technology refers to any process, product or service that reduces environmental impacts (Statistics Canada).
- On February 28, 2020, Statistics Canada issued the third release of the Environmental and Clean Technology Products Economic Account (ECTPEA).
- In 2018, clean technology activity contributed $26.5B to Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), down 1 percent from 2017. Increases in clean technology imports contributed to this drop.
- There were approximately 194,900 jobs in clean technology in 2018, a 1.2 percent increase compared to 2017.
- Clean technology 2018 exports totaled $6.2B, and imports totaled $12.6B. Compared to 2017, growth rates are respectively 6.5 percent and 26 percent. Clean technologies contribute to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. For example, Sustainable Development Technology Canada estimates that the projects it supported in fiscal year 2018-2019 have reduced annual GHG emissions by 18.1 megatons of CO2 equivalent.
ECCC role in support of clean technology
- ECCC contributes to federal programming and policy-making on clean technology, including through:
- designing environmental regulations in a way that drives demand for clean technologies while maintaining the competitiveness of traditional Canadian industries;
- supporting the adoption of clean technologies to reduce GHG emissions through the Low Carbon Economy Fund and the Climate Action Incentive Fund;
- providing new market opportunities for Canadian clean technology exports by leveraging cooperation under the environment chapter of Canada’s free trade agreements;
- promoting Canadian clean technologies abroad;
- incentivizing clean technology development by providing funds through innovation challenges, notably with a $6.5 million commitment for plastic waste reduction along with other departments; and,
- negotiating a robust set of rules for the use of international carbon markets under the Paris Agreement.
Climate Change Adaptation
- The 2019 Canada’s Changing Climate Report confirms that Canada is warming at twice the global rate, and three times faster in the North.
- In the past three years alone, Canada has experienced record-breaking floods and wildfires and this trend is expected to continue.
- Climate change is having profound impacts on human health and wellbeing, the environment, and all sectors of the economy. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, insured losses from natural disasters averaged $1.8 billion per year between 2008 and 2017, quadruple that of the previous decade.
Key Actions on Adaptation
- Climate change adaptation and resilience is one of the four pillars of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change (PCF).
- Under the PCF process, there was strong consensus among all jurisdictions on the importance of climate resilience and priority areas for collaborative action were identified—translating information into action; building climate-resilient infrastructure; protecting human health and well-being; supporting vulnerable regions; and reducing climate-related hazards and disaster risks.
- Since 2017, action to advance the PCF commitment to translate scientific information into action includes the launch of a new climate data and resource portal (climatedata.ca) by the Canadian Centre for Climate Services, which is administered by ECCC.
- The Government is financing adaptation projects through a variety of programs, including infrastructure funding programs. This includes the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, a 10-year national program launched in 2018 and investing $2 billion in public infrastructure to mitigate the potential economic, environmental and social impacts of climate change, and to strengthen resilience to disasters triggered by natural hazards.
- Internationally, through the Global Commission on Adaptation, Canada is also playing a leadership role to raise the profile of climate adaptation and advance global adaptation solutions, including nature-based climate solutions.
Climate Action Fund (CAF)
The Climate Action Fund (CAF) provides funding towards initiatives that raise awareness of climate change and help to build capacity to increase climate actions that contribute to the Pan Canadian Framework
Funding: Up to $3M annually based on applications
Recipients: students, youth, indigenous peoples and organizations, small and medium sized businesses (with less than 500 employees), Canadian research, academic and education institutions, not for profit and non-governmental organizations
Status: Not currently accepting applications; however, there is a yearly intake process that is significantly oversubscribed (e.g. over $60 M requested for the 2019-20 intake), program design is under review for 2020-21
|Program||Active projects||Funding envelope||Funds committed||Uncommitted funding|
Breakdown by province – Aggregated 2018-19 and 2019-20 Intakes
|Province/territory||Number of approved projects||Amount committed (dollars)|
|British Columbia||5||409 K|
|New Brunswick||3||229 K|
|Nova Scotia||2||136 K|
|Prince Edward Island||0||0|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||1||3 K|
Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIF)
Support initiatives that will reduce energy usage, energy- related costs and/or greenhouse gas emissions with the return of a majority of the proceeds of the federal fuel charge that are not delivered through Climate Action Incentive Payments to residents in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Ontario.
The fuel charge began to be collected in Alberta in 2020. Decisions related to programming to return revenues are pending. Additionally, New Brunswick will no longer have the fuel charge starting in April 2020 and discussions related to previously collected revenues are ongoing.
SME projects stream
Deadline: November 22, 2019
Funding: Up to $106.7M in 2019 – 2020 based on applications
Recipients: Small and medium sized enterprises (with less than 500 employees)
Status: Determinations sent February 6, 2020; in process of finalizing funding agreements; preparations are underway for a second intake
Announced May 2019
Funding: Up to $51.3M in 2019 – 2020 based on applications
Recipients: Small and medium sized enterprises (1 to 500 employees) and not for profit organizations
Status: Design under review
MUSH retrofit stream
Deadline: August 2019 to confirm participation
Funding: Saskatchewan - $12M; Manitoba (Manitoba School Board Association) - $5.4M; Ontario - $40.9M; New Brunswick - $2M in 2019 – 2020 allocated in 2019-20 based on the number of school boards and students
Recipients: In 2019-20 funds will be provided to schools (K-12) through funding agreements with provinces. In future years funds would be provided to municipalities, universities and hospitals
Status: Canada has entered into funding agreements with the Manitoba School Board Association, and is close to finalizing the other agreements with Saskatchewan, Ontario, and New Brunswick. Treasury Board of Canada review of projects under each agreement is expected in spring 2020.
CAIF funding breakdown by stream
|Program||Active projects||Funding envelope||Committed/uncommitted|
|SME Project Stream||727||$106.7M||Partly committed* (about $42.7M remaining)|
|MUSH Retrofit Stream||4||$60.3M||Fully committed|
CAIF funding breakdown by province, all streams combined
|Available 2019-20 CAIF Funding||$148.1M||$43.6M||$19.1M||$7.4M||$218.3M|
CAIF funding breakdown by province, all streams combined
|Saskatchewan||$9.46 M||13.5 KT|
|Manitoba||$1.83 M||3.8 KT|
|Ontario||$52.28 M||27.7 KT|
|New Brunswick||$0.46 M||0.2 KT|
Climate Change and Clean Growth Mandate Commitments (Dec. 2019)
|Implementing a whole of government plan for climate action, a cleaner environment and a sustainable economy. This includes exceeding current 2030 targets and developing a plan to achieve a net-zero emissions economy by 2050||ECCC||-||-|
|Implement the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, while strengthening existing and introducing new greenhouse gas reducing measures to exceed Canada’s 2030 emission reduction goal and beginning work so that Canada can achieve net-zero emissions by 2050||ECCC||Dep PM, NRCan (close collaboration)||Dep PM: This work must be done in close coordination with the Minister of NR to ensure that the country’s vibrant energy sector is a full partner in this transition to a cleaner economy and that we continue our work to get our natural resources to world markets.|
Government wide efforts to develop a plan to set Canada on a path to achieve a prosperous net-zero emissions future by 2050. This includes:
1) Legally binding five-year emission-reduction milestones based on the advice of experts and consultations with Canadians
|Working with ISED and NRCan to position Canada as a global leader in Clean Technology||ECCC||Work with ISI, NRCan||-|
|Cut tax rates by 50% for companies that develop and manufacture zero-emission technology. Eligible sectors include, but not limited to: manufacturing related to renewable energy, renewable fuel production, zero-emission vehicles, carbon sequestration and removal technology, batteries for use in electric vehicles, and grid storage and electric vehicle charging systems||FIN||-||-|
|Work with international partners to share best practices around the leveraging of infrastructure to contribute to innovation, resilience and a low-carbon future, supporting the creation of Canadian jobs and attracting infrastructure investment to Canada||INFC||-||-|
|Continue to drive mission-oriented research to address the great challenges of our age, including climate change, clean growth and a healthy society.||ISI||-||-|
|Adaptation and resilience||-||-||-|
|Complete all flood maps in Canada.||ECCC NRCan, Public Safety working together||-||Work with the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and with the provinces and territories and Indigenous Peoples|
|Launch a new call for proposals under DMAF to address the impacts of climate change, adjusting the program as required to ensure that the most impactful projects are supported, including those related to natural infrastructure, whether they are from small, rural and Indigenous communities or large urban centres||INFC||-||-|
|Create a new low-cost national flood insurance program to protect homeowners at high risk of flooding and without adequate insurance protection, as well as to develop a national action plan to assist homeowners with potential relocation for those at highest risk of repeat flooding||Public Safety working with Minister of Families, Children and Social Dev (responsible for CMHC)||-||-|
|Operationalize plan to plant two billion incremental trees over the next 10 years, as part of a broader commitment to nature-based climate solutions that also encompasses wetlands and urban forests||NRCan||ECCC support||-|
|Work with NRCan to help cities expand and diversify their urban forests. You will both also invest in protecting trees from infestations, and, when ecologically appropriate, help rebuild our forests after wildfire||ECCC and NRCan working together||-||-|
|Support research and provide funding so that municipalities have access to domestic sources of climate-resilient and genetically diverse trees that will increase the resilience of our urban forests.||NRCan||-||-|
|Energy and just transition||-||-||-|
|Finalize a report, which will include a list of federal fossil fuel subsidies including the description of the subsidies, annual costs and analysis of the subsidies. The report will be made public once a peer-review is finalized||FIN||-||-|
|Ensure that all proceeds the federal government receives from the Trans Mountain Expansion project, including incremental corporate income tax revenue, dividends, and capital gains on sale, are invested in nature-based climate solutions and clean energy projects||FIN||-||-|
|Finalize the creation of an additional infrastructure fund by 2020-21 to support priority projects and economic diversification for communities transitioning from fossil fuels||INFC||-||-|
|Continue to work with partners to implement, as appropriate, the recommendations of the Generation Energy Council Report, including wasting less energy, switching to clean power, using more renewable fuels, and producing cleaner oil and gas, including in the offshore. Work with partners to implement the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan and to develop strategies to help strengthen the competitiveness and overall health of Canada’s forest sector.||NRCan||-||-|
|Advance legislation to support the future and livelihood of workers and their communities in the transition to a low-carbon global economy.||NRCan||ESDC (not in mandate letter), Labour||-|
|Ensure the efficient and effective implementation of the Canadian Energy Regulator Act.||NRCan||-||-|
|With support from the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, continue supporting the creation of worker transition centres that will offer skills development initiatives and economic and community diversification activities in Western and Eastern Canada.||-||-||-|
|With the support of the Minister of Finance, continue the implementation of the new Canada Training Benefit, for launch in 2020.||ESDC||FIN||-|
|Support Canada’s traditionally strong industries – including, but not limited to, automotive, aerospace and agri-food – to increase productivity and innovation, especially as we transition to a low-carbon economy. The ongoing work of the Economic Strategy Tables can guide your work in this regard.||ISI||-||-|
|Advance the electrification of Canadian industries through new, zero-carbon clean electricity generation and transmission systems and grid modernization, making Canada home to the cleanest mills, mines and factories in the world.||INFC and NRCan working together||-||Work with the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities in partnering with provinces, territories, and Indigenous Peoples|
|Move forward with a Clean Power Fund, sourced through the Canada Infrastructure Bank, to help finance the development an linking of clean energy to transmission systems and to support the transition of northern, remote and Indigenous communities from reliance on diesel to clean, renewable, reliable power.||INFC||FIN||-|
|Transition of Indigenous communities from reliance on diesel-fueled power to clean, renewable and reliable energy by 2030.||NRCan, ISC, INFC and CIRNA (not in their ML) working together||-||Work with the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and the Minister of Indigenous Services. ISC ML refers to Min. of Northern Affairs.|
|Support INFC in ensuring that the Canada Infrastructure Bank has the support it needs for its core purpose of attracting private sector and institutional investment to expand the scope of public infrastructure investments in Canada||INFC||FIN||-|
|Continue to work with MPs to implement the Investing in Canada Plan. Your focus must be on the successful timely delivery of our growth-generating investments in public transit, green infrastructure and social infrastructure, as well as strategic infrastructure that will increase trade||INFC||-||-|
|Make the federal commitment to fund public transit permanent and rise with the cost of construction over time. Ensure that new federal investments in public transit are used to support zero-emission buses and rail systems in 2023 and work with municipalities to address any exceptional circumstances||INFC||-||-|
|Work with provinces and territories to introduce new funding to help school boards and municipalities purchase 5000 zero-emission school and transit buses over the next five years||INFC||-||-|
|Advance towards our zero-emission vehicle targets if 10% of LDV sales by 2025, 30% by 2030 and 100% by 2040||TC, ECCC, ICI and NRCan (in ECCC ML) working together||-||-|
|Install up to 5,000 additional charging stations along the Trans-Canada Highway and other major road networks and in Canada’s urban and rural areas.||NRCan||ISI||-|
|Expand the existing zero-emission vehicle incentive by providing a 10 per cent rebate on a used zero-emission vehicle up to a maximum value of $2,000.||ISI||-||-|
Work with partners to begin a process to design and introduce programs that support making Canada’s major ports among the most efficient and cleanest in the world. This work will require you to:
|Explore measures that support the conversion of Government fleets to zero-emission vehicles.||PSPC||-||-|
|Buildings and Energy Efficiency||-||-||-|
|Work with the FCM through the Green Municipal Fund, the Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program and the Municipal Asset Management Program to build climate resilience, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, make better decisions and monitor investments and ensure they reduce emissions from residential, commercial and multi-unit buildings||INFC||-||-|
|Operationalize a plan to help Canadians make their homes more energy efficient and climate resilient. This will include providing free energy audits to homeowners and landlords, up to $40,000 in interest-free lending for retrofits that will save Canadians money on their energy use, a cash incentive for borrowers to maximize their energy savings, and creating a Net Zero Homes Grant of up to $5,000 for newly built homes that are certified net zero-emissions.||NRCan, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, working together||-||-|
|Make Energy Star certification mandatory for all new home appliances starting in 2022.||NRCan||-||-|
|Launch a national competition to create four long-term funds to help attract private capital that can be used for deep retrofits of large buildings such as office towers.||NRCan||-||-|
|Invest in skills training to ensure that there are enough qualified workers to support energy audits, retrofits and net zero home construction.||ESDC||-||-|
|Working with the provinces and energy suppliers, develop a strategy to power federal buildings with 100 per cent clean electricity, where available, by 2022. Commit to being a first purchaser to help support the growth of new clean electricity/renewable power sources as they become available.||PSPC||-||-|
|Lead work across government to move forward with the new Food Policy for Canada introduced in Budget 2019. This policy has four areas of near-term action including: help Canadian communities access healthy food; make Canadian food the top choice at home and abroad; support food security in northern and indigenous communities; and reduce food waste.||AAFC||-||-|
|Continue Canadian leadership on international efforts to combat climate change||ECCC and GAC working together||-||-|
|Develop additional programming on the intersection between women’s rights and climate adaptation to better support sustainable and equitable resource management, agricultural production and access to markets||International Development||-||-|
|With the support of the President of the Treasury Board, continue the modernization of procurement practices so that they are simpler, less administratively burdensome, user friendly, deploy modern comptrollership, encourage greater competition and include practices that support our economic policy goals, including innovation, as well as green and social procurement. Your implementation of the e-Procurement Solution will be central to this priority.||PSPC||TBS (not in TBS ML)||Possible links with circular economy|
Climate Change and National Inventory Report
Canada’s Changing Climate Report
Climate change is affecting the frequency, duration and intensity of many climate-related hazards and disasters around the world, such as floods, wildfires, droughts and extreme weather events. Advancing our understanding of the issue for Canada requires a range of scientific expertise to assess the current state of knowledge on how and why Canada’s climate has changed and what changes are projected for the future.
For the first time, Canada’s Changing Climate Report details changes specific to Canada’s climate in a stand-alone national-level climate science assessment. The results of this report will help inform adaptation decision-making and help increase public awareness and understanding of Canada’s changing climate.
Released in April 2019, Canada’s Changing Climate Report was led by ECCC and developed in collaboration with experts from Fisheries and Ocean Canada, Natural Resources Canada, and Canadian universities. The development of the report also benefited from consultations with a broad range of assessment users, such as governments, Indigenous organizations and academia. It is a contribution to the Natural Resources Canada-led national assessment Canada in a Changing Climate: Advancing our Knowledge for Action.
The following headline statements tell a concise story about Canada’s changing climate based on the findings of this report, which are consistent with the broad international scientific understanding of climate change:
- Canada’s climate has warmed and will warm further in the future, driven by human influence.
- Both past and future warming in Canada is, on average, about double the magnitude of global warming.
- Oceans surrounding Canada have warmed, become more acidic, and less oxygenated, consistent with observed global ocean changes over the past century.
- The effects of widespread warming are evident in many parts of Canada and are projected to intensify in the future.
- Precipitation is projected to increase for most of Canada, on average, although summer rainfall may decrease in some areas.
- The seasonal availability of freshwater is changing with an increased risk of water supply shortages in summer.
- A warmer climate will intensify some weather extremes in the future.
- Canadian areas of the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans have experienced longer and more widespread sea-ice-free conditions.
- Coastal flooding is expected to increase in many areas of Canada due to local sea level rise.
- The rate and magnitude of climate change under high versus low emission scenarios project two very different futures for Canada.
National Inventory Report (NIR)
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international treaty established in 1992 to cooperatively address climate change issues. The ultimate objective of the UNFCCC is to stabilize atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations at a level that would prevent dangerous interference with the climate system. Canada ratified the UNFCCC in December 1992, and the Convention came into force in March 1994.
To achieve its objective and implement its provisions, the UNFCCC lays out several guiding principles and commitments. Specifically, Articles 4 and 12 commit all Parties to develop, periodically update, publish and make available to the Conference of the Parties (COP) their national inventories of anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of all GHGs not controlled by the Montreal Protocol.
Pursuant to this obligation, Canada prepares and submits a national greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) called the National Inventory Report (NIR). The NIR covers anthropogenic (human-caused) emissions by sources and removals by sinks, and annual emissions estimates dating back to 1990.
Canada’s most recent NIR, its 26th, was made to the UNFCCC on 15 April 2019. An executive summary of the latest NIR, titled “National Inventory Report 1990-2017: Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks in Canada”, is available online.
Canada’s GHG emissions in 2017 were 716 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2e). This is a net decrease of 15 megatonnes (Mt), or 2.0%, from 2005 emissions. Since 2005, annual emissions fluctuated between 2005 and 2008, dropped in 2009, then gradually increased until 2013.
Canada’s economy is growing more rapidly than its GHG emissions. The emissions intensity of the entire economy (GHG per Gross Domestic Product) has declined by 36% since 1990 and 20% since 2005. Emissions trends since 2005 remain consistent, with emission increases in the Oil and Gas and transportation sectors being more than offset by decreases in others sectors, such as Electricity and Heavy Industry.
Recent year fluctuations in emissions are due to the combined effect of the growing use of non-emitting sources of electricity; the impact of natural events on industrial operations such as the Fort McMurray wildfires in Alberta, economic factors impacting industrial production, as well as variability in winter weather and resulting heating demands.
Emissions and emission trends vary by province. Since 2005, emissions in Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Nunavut have increased. In contrast, since 2005, emissions in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, Northwest Territories and Yukon have decreased.
Canada’s upcoming NIR, its 27th, will be submitted to the UNFCCC on 15 April 2020.
Climate change programming
As of Winter 2020
Low Carbon Economy Fund (LCEF)
The Low Carbon Economy Fund (LCEF), through the Leadership Fund and Challenge, leverages investment in projects that generate clean growth and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, helping Canada to meet or exceed its commitments under the Paris Agreement
Leadership Fund: Allocation-Based
Status: Continuous Intake (June 2017 – March 2024)
Funding: Up to $1.4 billion
Recipients: Provinces and territories that have adopted the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change
Eligible proposals: Greenhouse Gas mitigation projects
LCEF - Ontario Energy Savings Rebate Program (ESR): Application-Based – First come, first served
Status: Funds committed (June 2019 – March 2021)
The Government of Canada is reinvesting up to $250M of the remaining Ontario Leadership Fund allocation ($420M) via a program for retailers to provide rebates on energy efficiency products
Funding: Up to $228M. Rebates up to 25% of the purchase price on select energy efficient products (to a max of $1,000 per product)
Funding Parameters: Minimum of $100K to a maximum of $25M contribution per project
Recipients: Small, medium, and large enterprises incorporated in Canada with a brick and mortar presence in at least one single or upper tier municipality
Champions Stream: Merit-Based
Status: Funds partly committed (March 2018 – March 2024)
Funding: Up to $450M
Funding Parameters: Minimum of $1M to a maximum of $50M contribution per project
Recipients: Provinces and territories, municipalities, Indigenous communities and organizations, businesses, not-for-profit organizations
Partnerships Stream – 1st Intake: Merit-Based
Status: Funds committed (December 2018 – March 2024)
Funding: up to $40 million
Funding Parameters: Minimum of $500K to a maximum of $10M contribution per project
Recipients: Small and medium-sized businesses, not-for-profit organizations, Indigenous communities and organizations, small municipalities
Partnerships Stream – 2nd Intake for Small Businesses only: Merit-Based
Status: Proposals received and under review (August 2019 – March 2024)
Funding: Up to $10M
Funding Parameters: Minimum of $20K to a maximum of $250K contribution per project
Recipients: Small business in Canada (less than 100 employees)
Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIF)
The Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIF) was developed to return a majority of the proceeds of the federal fuel charge that are not delivered through Climate Action Incentive Payments to residents in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario, and now Alberta. CAIF, through three streams of programming, will support eligible applicants undertake initiatives that will reduce energy usage, energy-related costs and/or greenhouse gas emissions
SME Project Stream: Application-Based - First come, first served
Status: Funds for first intake committed, second intake in 2020-21 (July 2019 – March 2021)
Funding: Up to $106.7M in 2019 – 2020*
Funding Parameters: Minimum of $20K to a maximum $250K contribution per project (up to 25% of eligible expenditures)
Recipients: Small and medium sized enterprises (with less than 500 employees) operating in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Ontario
Rebate Stream: Application-Based
Status: Design under review
Funding: Up to $51.3M in 2019 – 2020*
Funding Parameters: Design under review
Recipients: Design under review
MUSH Retrofit Stream: Allocation-Based
Status: Funds committed (July 2019 – March 2021)
Funding: Saskatchewan - $12M; Manitoba - $5.4M; Ontario - $40.9M; New Brunswick - $2M in 2019 – 2020*
Funding Parameters: Provinces will receive a base level of 25% for each school board plus an allocation on a per student basis
Recipients: In 2019-20 funds will be provided to schools through funding agreements with provinces. In future years funds would be provided to municipalities, universities and hospitals
*Funding does not include estimated revenues from Alberta (January – April 2020); estimated revenues for future years are unknown; the distribution of funding between streams is under review
Climate Action Fund (CAF): Application-Based
Status: 2019-2020 funds committed and 2020-21 design under review (yearly call for submissions)
The Climate Action Fund (CAF) provides funding towards initiatives that raise awareness of climate change and help to build capacity to increase climate actions that contribute to the Pan Canadian Framework
Funding: Up to $3M
Funding Parameters: Maximum of up to $250K contribution per project
Recipients: students, youth, indigenous peoples and organizations, small and medium sized businesses (with less than 500 employees), Canadian research, academic and education institutions, not for profit and non-governmental organizations.
As part of our international commitments, Canada is providing $2.65 billion in climate finance over five years to various initiatives through multilateral and bilateral implementing partners.
In 2009, developed countries committed, as part of the Copenhagen Accord under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), to jointly mobilize climate finance from a variety of sources, reaching US $100B annually in climate finance by 2020. This commitment is reaffirmed in the Paris Agreement, which also commits Parties to set a new collective quantifiable goal from a floor of US $100 billion per year by 2025. Developed countries are on track to reach the US $100B goal by 2020. A recent report from the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development shows that climate finance (from all sources) reached US $71.2 billion in 2017.
Current State of Play
In 2015, Canada announced that it will provide $2.65 billion (FY2016-17 to FY2020-21) to help developing countries transition to low-carbon, sustainable and resilient economies. This pledge is fulfilling Canada’s climate finance commitment under the Paris Agreement and is a key area of international leadership under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.
Canada’s funding is supporting a wide range of climate initiatives to help developing countries, in particular the poorest and most vulnerable, including Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and coastal communities. Canada’s support is delivered through a variety of multilateral and bilateral channels, including the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the centrepiece mechanism for climate finance under the UNFCCC. Canada’s support is targeting sectors such as clean technology and renewable energy, climate-smart agriculture and forest management, and risk insurance and capacity building. To date, over $1.7 billion has been announced to specific initiatives and programs.
Initiatives supported aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support adaptation action, particularly for the poorest and most vulnerable countries, and mobilize new private sector capital for global climate action.
Canada’s approach includes partnering with Multilateral Development Banks to mobilize private sector financing by removing barriers to private investment in developing countries. This includes using targeted amounts of concessional finance (i.e. below market rate) to demonstrate the commercial viability of projects and unlock future private investments in similar initiatives.
Canada’s climate finance commitment aligns with Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP), which guides Canada’ overall approach on international assistance. Environment and climate action is a core action area of the FIAP.
- The circular economy (CE) is an alternative economic model that seeks to maintain the value of materials, resources and products in the economy for as long as possible and minimize the generation of waste (EU definition).
- With its associated positive economic and environmental opportunities, an increasing number of governments and businesses are promoting and working towards a CE, including in Canada.
- Resource extraction and consumption have increased ten-fold since 1900, doubled since 1980 and are expected to double once again by 2060. Compounding the problem, only 9% of the world’s resources are estimated to be cycled back into the economy after their initial use (i.e. 91% are landfilled at end of life).
- Impacts of this increasing rate of resource consumption are significant, including possible resource shortages, rising and volatile prices, supply chain interruptions, and related, destructive environmental impacts (GHG emissions, pollution, ecosystem degradation).
- While definitions differ, CE models emphasize the following principles: design out waste and pollution; keep products and materials in use, and; regenerate natural systems. This model is a response to the current linear, take-make-waste economic model, which is unsustainable due to impending resource shortages and destructive environmental impacts and results in enormous lost value.
- The relative success of the CE model lies in the “win-win” proposition of economic and environmental benefits. For example, businesses could see cost-savings, avoided environmental costs, new market opportunities, and possible job creation. Environmental opportunities range from tackling waste, to reducing GHG emissions and other pollution, to addressing concerns related to resource security and conservation.
- Early adopters of CE, found primarily in Europe and Asia (Finland, Scotland, the Netherlands, EU, China etc.) have taken a road map approach – setting early objectives and targets in priority sectors and/or materials.
- The business community is propelling the transition to a CE, in addition to collaborative, network- or partnership-based initiatives that have been formed to stimulate circularity at the global and regional scale (e.g. Ellen MacArthur’s CE 100 network).
- In contrast to actions in many European and Asian countries, CE adoption has been much slower in Canada.
- Key partners at the federal level include government departments like Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), Statistics Canada, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada (AAFC), Global Affairs Canada (GAC), etc.
- To note, Canadian provincial governments have begun taking CE action, as have municipalities, Canadian companies and non-governmental organizations and research institutes. Many of these partners are being engaged in preparation for the World Circular Economy Forum 2020.
Current State of Play
- Building on the outcomes of the Ocean Plastics Charter, the Government of Canada has worked with provinces and territories to develop a Canada-wide approach to eliminate plastic waste and reduce marine litter. This work, led by ECCC, embraces a CE lens to address plastic waste throughout the value chain and represents Canada’s first step towards a broader CE.
- Canada will host the 2020 World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF). The Forum, which will take place in Toronto September 29-30, 2020, will be co-organized by ECCC and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra. Hosting the WCEF2020 offers the opportunity to promote Canadian businesses, showcase domestic innovation, and demonstrate leadership to a global audience.
- Work is also underway through the Council of Canadian Academies to undertake an assessment of the potential opportunities and challenges for advancing circular economy approaches in Canada. The project, formally announced in February 2020 is being led by ECCC with the support of ISED, NRCan and Statistics Canada. Work will formally begin in May 2020 and be completed likely by spring 2021.
- Other departments are also exploring CE approaches in policy areas such as green procurement (PSPC/TBS), food waste (AAFC), and forestry and mining (NRCan). Strategies that have been developed that discuss the CE include:
- The Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan envisions a CE where mine wastes are transformed into useful products [March 2019];
- The Greening Government Strategy seeks to establish Canada as a global leader in government operations that are low-carbon, resilient and green;
- The Forest Bioeconomy Framework for Canada seeks to establish Canada as a global leader in the use of forest biomass for advanced bio-products and innovative solutions.
Departmental Results Report
The Departmental Results Report is a retrospective document. It reports on the results of plans and commitments outlined in the Departmental Plan. It includes financial and human resources investments made in support of departmental programming.
Overall, the Departmental Results Report largely reflects a continuation of work underway in previous years and outlines that the department had put in place activities in line with the achievement of its desired results.
The 2018-19 Departmental Results Report was tabled in Parliament on February 26, 2020.
The Departmental Results Report for 2018-19 highlights the Department’s achievements against priorities that Canadians care about – addressing climate change, protecting our environment and growing the economy.
The report shows measurable progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conserving nature, preventing pollution and modernizing our weather warning and climate information services.
Environment and Climate Change Canada’s collaboration with a range of stakeholders, including provinces, territories, Indigenous peoples, the international community, industry and others to achieve results demonstrates the shared responsibility of Canadians for their environment.
Canada’s climate plan, the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, outlines over 50 concrete measures to reduce carbon pollution, help Canadians adapt and become more resilient to the impacts of a changing climate, and foster clean technology solutions.
Budget 2018 announced $1.35 billion over five years to protect Canada’s Nature Legacy. This funding includes the creation of a five-year, $500 million Canada Nature Fund to enhance capacity to protect and recover species at risk while leveraging the contributions of partners.
With extreme weather events on the rise, ECCC continued to improve its capacity to provide critical weather and air quality information to Canadians with ever-greater speed and accuracy.
Draft Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and Health Canada (HC) completed a Draft Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution to inform the development of measures being considered by the government, as highlighted during the Prime Minister’s June 2019 announcement of actions to tackle plastic pollution. The draft science assessment was published on February 1, 2020, for a 60-day public consultation period ending on April 1, 2020.
The Draft Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution reviewed existing scientific literature to summarize the current state of the science regarding the potential impacts of plastic pollution on human health and the environment, as well as to guide future research and inform decision-making on plastic pollution in Canada.
Based on the scientific evidence and in keeping with the precautionary principle, the report found that action is needed to reduce both macro and microplastics that end up in the environment.
The report looked at the body of evidence on macro and microplastics as broad categories and not at specific products. The report found that macroplastics cause physical harm to animals and their habitats. With respect to the impacts caused by microplastics on the environment and human health the information was less clear or limited.
To advance the understanding of the impacts of plastic pollution on the environment and human health, the report recommended additional research in several areas. Greater understanding of the effects of plastic pollution will better support targeted action and investments, for example in clean up and remediation or wastewater treatment.
As a first step, the Increasing Knowledge on Plastic Pollution initiative was announced by ECCC. This $2.2 million initiative will fund research projects over the next two fiscal years (2020-21 and 2021-22). The first year of funding is included in the 2020-21 Vote 10 Main Estimates. The Increasing Knowledge on Plastic Pollution initiative is an open call for research proposals—planned in collaboration with Health Canada—that will fund research on the potential impacts of plastic pollution on human health and the environment, as identified in the Draft Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution. This initiative is part of a larger whole-of-Government approach to address the issue of plastic waste.
As part of the increase in Vote 10 levels due to the National Zero Plastic Waste Strategy in the 2020-21 Main Estimates, ECCC would receive $1,487,000 to fund research projects under the Increasing Knowledge on Plastic Pollution initiative as well as under the Northern Contaminants Program in collaboration with Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. The remainder of the funds for the initiative will be part of the 2021-22 Main Estimates.
With the approval of these Main Estimates, ECCC would also receive $5,000,000 in Vote 10 funds to support accelerating plastics pollution science in partnership with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council through a targeted call for academic research proposals. Funded projects will address priority research gaps identified in the Draft Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution, and is a key part of the Government’s commitment to the National Zero Plastic Waste Strategy. This call for proposals has not been announced publicly, but is expected to open early this spring.
Extreme Weather Events
According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report for 2020, extreme weather events are the most likely global risk and among the most impactful. Natural disasters are costly, with fires and floods topping the list. Extreme weather events are likely to increase in frequency and intensity, which results in greater impacts to Canadians, their safety and wellbeing.
The Government of Canada has a responsibility to ensure its emergency management systems are in place and can prepare Canadians, inform decision makers, and respond to outcomes as quickly as possible, thereby mitigating the impacts of such events.
ECCC is dedicated to providing weather and environmental services to Canadians, 24 hours a day, to help them make informed decisions in the face of environmental extremes and to support Canada’s safety, enhanced resilience, economic prosperity and environmental sustainability. ECCC is the authoritative voice for alerting Canadians to severe weather.
Monitoring, prediction and warning services are critical to anticipate, manage and adapt to the risks and opportunities created by the increased intensity and frequency of rapid on-set hazards such as floods, tornadoes and wildfires, as well as slow on-set hazards such as droughts, coastal erosion and sea level rise.
ECCC’s mandate with respect to extreme weather relies on investments in satellite data reception infrastructure, high-speed supercomputing, Doppler weather radars and expert knowledge to support early detection, accurate forecasting, and dissemination of information on extreme weather. ECCC supplements in situ observations with data from Canadian and international satellites.
Continued investments in weather and environmental services enable:
- the replacement and modernization of monitoring networks for detecting and tracking severe weather, assessing current and past conditions, and feeding into prediction models
- high volumes of data processing and modelling using high performance computing. Canada’s global numerical weather prediction model performs among the top tier global forecasting model.
- maintaining highly qualified experts in science, technology and meteorology to complement MSC’s automated weather service by focusing on highly complex, high impact events and early notifications.
The MSC is exploring new ways to collect environmental information from Earth Observations and alternate technologies, and developing new prediction models that couple atmospheric, ocean, ice, and, within the next few years, hydrological data to support ECCC’s vision of enhancing early warnings of hazardous conditions.
Federal Contaminated Sites
The Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan (FCSAP) was established in 2005 as a 15-year program with funding of $4.54 billion from the Government of Canada.
The program was renewed for another 15 years (2020/21 to 2034/35) with $1.16 billion announced in Budget 2019 for the first five years (Phase IV, 2020/21 to 2024/25).
ECCC has several different roles within FCSAP:
- Together with the Treasury Board Secretariat, it is the lead program for the horizontal initiative,
- it houses the FCSAP program’s Secretariat ,
- it provides technical and scientific expert support, and
- it manages contaminated sites assessment and remediation activities at sites under ECCC custodianship.
As the program matures, contaminated sites are risk managed and remediated, needing less funding than previously required for active contaminated sites. As a whole, remediation activities took place at 2,200 sites and over 1,000 sites were fully remediated under the program. At ECCC sites, assessment took place at 691 sites and remediation at 309 sites since 2005. In the next phase of the program, assessment work is planned at two ECCC sites and remediation will occur at 11 sites.
The $21.8M reduction at ECCC for FCSAP is due to a reduction of contaminated sites management activity at sites under ECCC custodianship for 2020/21. This was planned to manage funding risk in response to it being a transition year between phases. This activity will ramp back up in 2021/22 with an added $27.4M in funding for assessments and remediation.
A large portion of the funding increase in 2021/22 ($26M) are for remediation activities at Pacific Environment Center (PEC) and Mould Bay contaminated sites.
Federal Sustainable Development Act
- An Act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act (the Act, as amended), received Royal Assent in February 2019 and will come into force December 1, 2020.
- The Act, as amended, will make decision-making related to sustainable development more transparent and subject to accountability to Parliament, and will promote coordinated action across government to advance sustainable development.
- The Act, as amended, includes new principles, including intergenerational equity, openness and transparency, involvement of Indigenous peoples, collaboration, results and delivery, as well as an emphasis on all aspects of sustainable development.
- The Act, as amended, expands the number of mandated federal organizations included in the Act from 27 to over 90, including a number of federal departments and agencies that have a significant environmental footprint.
- The Act, as amended, sets a higher bar for transparency. In addition to contributing to the federal strategy and preparing individual sustainable development strategies, departments and agencies will report annually to this Committee and to the appropriate committee of the Senate, on their actions and results through their Departmental Plan and Departmental Results Reports. Comments made during public consultation on the draft Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) will also have to be taken into account in these reports.
- The Act, as amended, specifies that targets in the FSDS must be measurable and include timeframes, and that the Act be reviewed every five years by a parliamentary committee.
- The mandate of the Sustainable Development Advisory Council (SDAC) will be broadened so that they can advise the Minister on any matter related to sustainable development referred to it by the Minister. SDAC’s membership will increase the number of Indigenous representatives from 3 to 6.
Protecting Canada’s freshwater basins from pollution and algae blooms
- The Department has, for many years, led efforts to address challenges to fresh water, including challenges such as pollution and algae blooms, in a number of key water basins across the country.
- In 2017, in response to mandate letter commitments related to stewardship of water resources and work to protect the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River Basin and the Lake Winnipeg Basin, the department developed a “Freshwater Action Plan”.
- The Plan enhanced activities in the Great Lakes, Lake Winnipeg, St. Lawrence River, Saint John River, Mackenzie River and Fraser River basins, with a focus on reducing pollution such as excess nutrients, enhancing federal-provincial-territorial collaboration and increasing engagement with Indigenous peoples.
- Through Budget 2017, the Government of Canada allocated a total of $70.6 million over five years to the Great Lakes ($44.84 million) and Lake Winnipeg basin ($25.76 million):
- In the Great Lakes, Budget 2017 investments supported Canada’s commitments under the Canada-U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement including: science and action to prevent toxic and nuisance algae; efforts to reduce releases of harmful chemicals; measures to enhance the resilience of Great Lakes coastal wetlands; the identification at-risk nearshore waters; support to engage Indigenous peoples in addressing Great Lakes issues; and, measures to increase engagement through citizen science.
- In Lake Winnipeg, Budget 2017 investments support three program priorities, including science and action to reduce nutrient loading to Lake Winnipeg, enhancing collaboration efforts and increasing capacity building throughout the basin and engaging Indigenous peoples in decision making and actions in the basin.
- Through the Freshwater Action Plan, ECCC also received policy cover to continue to support the development of the second phase of the Canada-Québec Agreement on the St. Lawrence (2016-2021) to advance priorities related to biodiversity conservation, sustainable use, and improved water quality. Federal investments in support of the Canada-Quebec Agreement are estimated at $35 million over 5 years (A-base resources).
- In addition, internal resources were reallocated to the Fraser, Mackenzie, and Saint John River basins to strengthen governance and promote information sharing.
- Funding provided in Budget 2017 will sunset in 2022, which could provide an opportunity to develop a proposal for renewed and expanded efforts, consistent with the Minister’s mandate letter commitment for greater protection of the Great Lakes, Lake Winnipeg, Lake Simcoe and other large lakes.
Freshwater Protection – Fisheries Act and its regulations
- Section 36 of the Fisheries Act prohibits the deposit of deleterious substances into waters frequented by fish unless authorized by a regulation.
- Water frequented by fish is defined as Canadian fisheries waters, including freshwater bodies such as rivers, lakes and creeks in Canada.
- The pollution prevention provisions are administered and enforced by Environment and Climate Change Canada for all subject matters with the exception of aquaculture and the control and eradication of aquatic invasive species and aquatic pests, which are the responsibility of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.
- A deleterious substance can be any substance that, if added to any water would degrade or alter the water quality such that it could directly or indirectly harm fish, fish habitat, or the use of fish by humans.
- Deposits can only be authorized through regulations.
- Currently ECCC administers regulations authorizing deposits from key sectors including:
- Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations (1992; modernization underway)
- Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations (2012)
- Metal and Diamond Mining Effluent Regulations (2018)
- ECCC is developing additional regulations for:
- coal mining effluent; and
- oil sands tailing ponds effluents
- Since 2017, there have been 21 convictions under s.36 of the Fisheries Act collecting over $22 million in fines.
Floods and droughts
The availability and distribution of freshwater is changing with increasing frequency and intensity of severe weather events such as floods and droughts. As a result, ECCC is experiencing an unprecedented demand for water quantity and flow information, and for information about how water management decisions are made.
ECCC is responsible for monitoring and understanding Canada’s water resources in collaboration with provinces and territories, and making water data and information available to Canadians. The National Hydrological Service (NHS) (under the Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC)), works in partnership with provinces and territories, and serves as the principal operator of the national water quantity-monitoring network in managing approximately 2200 of the 2800 water-monitoring stations on rivers and lakes across Canada. The NHS provides critical information on water quantity and flow to government partners, the private sector and to Canadians to help inform decisions about public safety, economic development and protection of the environment.
ECCC also works in collaboration with agencies from the United States, the International Joint Commission (IJC) and provincial and territorial partners, to provide water level and flow data, including real-time water level data to support international and domestic water management and flood response.
High water levels increase the risk of shoreline erosion and flooding in low-lying areas. ECCC’s primary responsibility with respect to flooding is to support flood prediction agencies and other jurisdictions by monitoring and predicting weather conditions that may influence flooding and by measuring and monitoring water levels and flows. The NHS provides water quantity data and hydrological engineering expertise to inform decision-making on flood mitigation and related emergency management activities. ECCC also works with provinces and territories to provide decision support in advance of, and during flood events, including expert interpretation and assessment of risks and uncertainty for various audiences.
During periods of extreme water levels, such as those experienced in the Spring, communication becomes a vital part of informing various jurisdictions and the public on the state of water level conditions, as well as the causes, risks, impacts and forecasts.
Communicating flooding to residents and communities around Lake Ontario
ECCC provides general information on Great Lakes water levels, climate, and hydrology including weekly briefings to practitioners (not public) and coordinates with U.S. counterparts on water levels and forecasts for input to DFO water level bulletins. ECCC also responds to media requests, and presents at public and stakeholder meetings on Great Lakes water levels and forecasts in support to IJC’s Great Lakes regulation Boards.
Fossil fuel subsidies
Review of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies
- In 2009, Canada and other G20 countries committed to phase out and rationalize inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. In 2016, the North American Leaders committed to do so by 2025.
- In 2015, both the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) were tasked in their respective mandate letters to fulfil the G20 commitment.
- In 2018, the Minister of Natural Resources along with Argentina’s Energy and Mining Minister announced that Canada and Argentina would be partnering to perform peer reviews to ensure both countries are on track to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.
- In 2019, the Minister of Finance Canada was tasked in his mandate letter with leading the process of assembling the self-review report as part of the peer review commitment with Argentina.
- To date, Canada’s efforts to reform fossil fuel subsidies have resulted in the phase-out or rationalization of eight tax expenditures and Finance Canada and ECCC continue to review measures.
ECCC’s work to date
- In 2017, ECCC began the review of non-tax measures that could support the fossil fuel sector. It established a working group of departments and agencies that agreed upon a framework in line with Finance Canada’s approach.
- The working group conducted a preliminary review of 36 measures by applying the framework consistently. Only four were found to be fossil fuel subsidies and none were considered inefficient.
- In Spring 2019, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development released an audit of ECCC and Finance Canada’s work on fossil fuel subsidy reform. In their opinion, ECCC used too narrow a scope in reviewing non-tax measures, lacked clarity in its definition of inefficiency, did not consider all relevant and reliable information, and based assessments on incomplete and inaccurate information.
- In March 2019, ECCC launched public and targeted consultations on the draft non-tax framework as well as preliminary results. The targeted consultations were led by Michael Horgan, former Deputy Minister of ECCC and Finance Canada. Feedback received from consultations, which concluded in June 2019, will be included in the self-review report.
- The self-review report will also provide an opportunity for Canada to outline future policy direction and highlight current efforts to transition Canada to a clean economy and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
- Work is continuing to identify any non-tax, inefficient fossil fuel subsidies informed by the CESD report, public consultation, and Michael Horgan’s work.
Genomics research and development initiative
- The Genomics Research and Development Initiative (GRDI) is a federal research funding program which provides $19.9 million in funding annually, since 1999, to support the mandates and priorities of the Government of Canada.
- The initiative includes eight science-based federal departments and agencies: National Research Council of Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Health Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
- The objective of GRDI research is to deliver solutions to issues of key importance to Canadians, including protecting and improving human health, protecting the environment and managing agricultural and natural resources in ways that are sustainable and benefit Canada’s economy.
- As part of its mandated research activities, ECCC receives $800,000 in annual funding under the Strategic Technology Applications of Genomics in the Environment (STAGE) program.
- ECCC’s STAGE program builds internal capacity to assist ECCC in meeting its obligations in areas such as compliance and enforcement, species at risk and wildlife conservation, environmental monitoring and risk assessment and risk management.
- The GRDI established a new way of doing research in 2011 for addressing issues of importance to Canadians through Shared Priority Projects. These projects enable scientists in different departments to combine their expertise to address issues beyond the mandates of single departments.
- The current shared priority research projects (2016-2021) are the EcoBiomics projects (led by ECCC and AAFC) and the Antimicrobial Resistance Project (led by AAFC). These new projects receive 20 percent of the GRDI funding given to participating departments and agencies. This amounts to approximately $9 million over five years for each new shared priority project.
Great Lakes flooding
- Lake Ontario water levels are likely to be higher than average in spring 2020 and could reach flood levels. High water levels on the lake in 2017 and 2019 resulted in flooding causing damage to shoreline properties and communities.
- The water level on Lake Ontario is managed by the International Joint Commission (IJC), an independent bilateral treaty organization.
- The IJC’s International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board (the Board) manages outflows of Lake Ontario at the Moses-Saunders Dam in accordance with a water level regulation plan known as “Plan 2014”. In anticipation of flooding in the spring, public interest has significantly increased and the IJC’s ability to manage water levels is being put into question by the public.
- In an effort to reduce the flood threat, the IJC has directed the Board to take all possible measures to remove as much water as possible from Lake Ontario before spring 2020. The IJC is also organizing public information sessions in the coming weeks, including an Open House for Members of Parliament on Parliament Hill, meetings with municipal officials around the basin and webinars for the public.
- Environment and Climate Change Canada is working with Global Affairs Canada, the IJC and other government departments to ensure that residents and communities are able to easily find information on predicted water levels, IJC decisions and federal disaster mitigation programs.
- Public Safety Canada administers the National Disaster Mitigation Program and the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA). In the event of a major natural disaster, assistance is paid through the DFAA to a province or territory – not directly to affected individuals, small businesses or communities.
- Infrastructure Canada administers the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF). The Government of Canada launched the DMAF as a national merit-based program that will invest $2 billion to support large-scale infrastructure projects to help communities better manage the risks of disasters triggered by natural hazards, including flooding.
- The Government of Ontario is responsible for shoreline hazard protection, shoreline management, and disaster assistance along the shores of the Great Lakes. The Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians program is managed through the province’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
Imperial Metals Corporation and Mount Polley Mining Corporation Investigation
- On Monday, August 4, 2014, there was a breach at a tailings storage facility at the Mount Polley Copper-Gold Mine, BC. The breach caused a release of approximately 17 million cubic meters of water and 8 million cubic meters of tailings and other materials into Polley Lake, Hazeltine Creek, and Quesnel Lake, BC.
- Since the breach, ECCC has been working with the British Columbia Conservation Officer Service (BC COS) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to investigate and collect evidence in relation to offences pursuant to the federal Fisheries Act.
- The file is unprecedented in terms of cooperation between various federal and provincial agencies, in areas such as cost sharing, IT shared access, staffing, and federal and provincial prosecutor cooperation.
Current status and next steps
- On April 2, 2019, a Report to Crown Counsel was delivered to the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) for the purpose of charge assessment.
- The PPSC has now begun the charge assessment process, with assistance and support by Crown Counsel from the British Columbia Prosecution Service.
- The time limit to lay summary conviction charges under the Fisheries Act was Aug. 4, 2019 for this investigation. There is no time limit for indictment.
- Media attention is expected when this file concludes. ECCC officials
will work with Communications and MINO to respond to requests.
- First Nations in and around Williams Lake have been informed on the progress of the investigation. Members of all three investigating agencies have agreed to keep local First Nations informed at key milestones in the investigation.
[*Redacted*] - Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes
There is increasing interest from PTs and industry in the use of Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes (ITMOs). ITMOs have the potential to assist Canada towards achieving its national climate targets.
The Government of Canada is still considering whether and how it will use ITMOs as a complement to domestic emission reduction efforts toward our national climate targets, including our 2030 target and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
Negotiations on detailed implementation rules for Article 6 are still ongoing and Canada will continue to push for the establishment of robust rules to ensure credible and transparent international carbon markets. However, nothing prevents countries from trading on the basis of the existing Article 6 principles.
Federal, provincial and territorial officials have been highly engaged with one another on Article 6 since the adoption of the Paris Agreement. They have worked together to develop, refine and advance Canada’s position on the international stage, including in official international negotiations at the annual Conference of the Parties.
Achieving the Government of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets will require a transformation of the Canadian economy, with corresponding impacts on, and opportunities for, Canadian workers. In 2018, the Task Force on Just Transition for Canadian Coal Power Workers and Communities was formed to identify how to make Canada’s transition away from coal-powered electricity fair for affected workers and communities.
On March 11, 2019, the Task Force released its final report, including a series of recommendations for the Government’s consideration. In response to the Task Force’s recommendations, the Government announced the following actions in Budget 2019:
- The creation the new Canada Coal Transition Initiative, a $35 million fund that supports skills development and economic diversification in Canada’s coal regions, including creating local transition centres. Between November 2018 to September 2019, Canada announced 15 local transition projects under the Initiative.
- A commitment to create a dedicated $150 million infrastructure fund, starting in 2020–21, to support priority projects and economic diversification in impacted communities.
- Creation of a new Canada Training Benefit to help Canadians gain new skills and seize the opportunities of the clean growth economy, accomplished via the Canada Training Credit to offset the costs of training fees, and the Training Support Benefit to provide income support to Canadians on training.
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.
The Minister of Natural Resources has been mandated to advance legislation to support the future and livelihood of workers and their communities in the transition to a low-carbon global economy.
Light-Duty Vehicle GHG Regulations
- The Passenger Automobile and Light-Truck Greenhouse Gas Emission Regulations were published in 2010. They establish progressively more stringent GHG emission standards for new light-duty vehicles, essentially in alignment with U.S. EPA standards.
- 2014 amendments established standards for the 2017-2025 model years, and incorporated U.S. standards by reference. These amendments also included a commitment to conduct a Midterm Evaluation of the appropriateness of the standards for 2022-2025 model years.
- Each company is subject to a fleet-average GHG emission standard. This allows each company to reduce emissions in the manner that best matches its fleet mix.
- The current standards increases in stringency by about 5% each year, and, as a result, new MY2025 vehicles are expected to burn 50% less fuel and emit 50% less emissions compared to MY2008 vehicles.
Current status of U.S. final rule
- On April 2, 2018, the U.S. EPA concluded that the existing GHG emission standards were not appropriate for 2022 to 2025, and began a new rulemaking process.
- EPA released Part 1 of a new Final Rule in September 2019. This revoked California’s right (via a waiver) to set its own GHG emissions and ZEV programs for light-duty vehicles.
- The U.S. is expected to release Part 2 of the Final Rule with new standards for model years 2021 through 2026 later this year. Current information suggests that these revised standards are expected to increase in stringency by about 1.5% per year, rather than the previous 5% per year.
Status of Canadian Midterm Evaluations
- ECCC published a discussion paper on the Canadian Midterm Evaluation in August 2018, and a summary of comments in March 2019.
- The paper outlined the various factors that could influence Canada’s mid-term evaluation, including environmental impacts, impacts on Canada’s automotive industry within an integrated North American market, consumer impacts, potential safety implications, and potential Canada-unique circumstances.
- Nearly all automakers requested that the Department not make any Canadian determination until after publication of the U.S. Final Rule, given the integrated nature of the North American vehicle market.
- If no action is taken, Canadian standards will automatically align with any new EPA standards, given Canada’s incorporation by reference.
Low Carbon Economy Fund
Leverages investment in projects that generate clean growth and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, helping Canada to meet or exceed its commitments under the Paris Agreement.
Continuous intake since June 2017
Funding envelope: Up to $1.4 billion
Recipients: Provinces and territories that have adopted the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change (PCF). Saskatchewan did not join the PCF. Its allocation ($62 million) was transferred to the Challenge. The agreement with Ontario was terminated in fall 2018 and Ontario was reimbursed for eligible expenditures ($169 million).
Projects: Energy efficiency; innovation/access to clean technologies; carbon storage in forests and soils Status: Funding Agreements signed, majority of funding allocated, projects underway
Projects: reducing consumption of natural gas, switch to the use of biofuels, increase energy efficiency in buildings, reduce methane emissions from waste, and reduce industrial process emissions
Deadline: September 28, 2018
Funding envelope: Up to $450 million Recipients: Provinces and territories, municipalities, Indigenous communities and organizations, businesses, not-for-profit organizations
Status: Majority of Funding Agreements signed, many projects underway
Partnerships Stream – 1st Intake
Deadline: March 8, 2019
Funding envelope: Up to $40 million
Recipients: Small and medium-sized businesses, not-for-profit organizations, Indigenous communities and organizations, small municipalities
Status: Finalizing Funding Agreements
Partnerships Stream – 2nd Intake (Small Business)
Deadline: November 15, 2019
Funding envelope: Up to $10 million
Recipients: Small business in Canada (less than 100 employees)
Status: Currently assessing proposals
Ontario Energy Savings Rebate Program (ESR)
Deadlines: July 24, 2019 and September 17, 2019
Funding envelope: Up to $228 million (sourced from the remaining Ontario Leadership Fund allocation) Recipients: Retail businesses incorporated in Canada with a brick and mortar presence in Ontario
Projects: Providing rebates on energy efficiency products
Status: 169 agreements with retailers currently providing rebates in Ontario. Envelope fully allocated.
Breakdown by program stream
|Program||Active projects||Estimated GHG reductions||Funding envelope||Committed/uncommitted|
|Leadership Fund||43||3.20 Mt||Up to $1.4 billion||Majority committed|
|Energy Savings Rebate||169||Not yet avail.||Up to $228 million||Fully committed|
|Challenge, Champions||66||2.70 Mt||Up to $450 million||Partly committed (about $81M remaining)|
|Challenge, Partnerships 1st intake||27||0.02 Mt||Up to $40 million||Majority committed|
|Challenge, Partnerships 2nd intake||-||Not yet avail.||Up to $10 million||Uncommitted|
|Total||305||(so far) 5.92 Mt||Up to $1.9 billion||-|
If pressed on Leadership $
- The Leadership envelope includes (overlaps with) the envelope for ESR, which was sourced from Ontario’s notional allocation as well as part of the Champions envelope, which was sourced from Saskatchewan’s notional allocation.
If pressed on Champions $
- The Champions envelope was partially funded from Saskatchewan’s notional allocation ($62,050,000)
- Approximately $81M unallocated
If pressed on Energy Savings Rebate $
- The ESR envelope does not include the amounts allocated to the City of Brampton’s Electric Bus Demonstration and Integration Trial ($8,000,000), and Forests Ontario’s 50 Million Trees program ($15,000,000).
If pressed on Partnerships $
- 27 approved projects under the first intake representing approximately $38 million (in the process of signing funding agreements)
- Projects currently under review for the second intake
Breakdown by province of LCEF committed investments, aggregating Leadership, Challenge and Energy Savings Rebate
|Province/territory||Amount committed (dollars)||GHG savings|
|British Columbia||250.54 M||1.48 MT|
|Alberta||211.68 M||1.40 MT|
|Saskatchewan||74.14 M||0.54 MT|
|Manitoba||12.62 M||0.05 MT|
|Ontario||483.49 M||0.68 MT|
|Quebec||295.70 M||1.10 MT|
|New Brunswick||58.11 M||0.05 MT|
|Nova Scotia||59.12 M||0.11 MT|
|Prince Edward Island||27.41 M||0.02 MT|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||19.91 M||0.10 MT|
|Yukon||33.33 M||6.7 KT|
|Northwest Territories||33.11 M||25.7 KT|
|Nunavut||31.03 M||0.01 MT|
Note: Financial figures on this map do not include investments sourced from Ontario’s LCEF Leadership notional allocation for the City of Brampton’s Electric Bus Demonstration and Integration Trial, and Forests Ontario’s 50 Million Trees program.
Environment and Climate Change Canada has the sole jurisdictional responsibility to conserve and protect approximately 380 migratory bird species under the Migratory Birds Convention; a treaty signed by Canada and the United States in 1916 and managed through the Migratory Birds Convention Act in 1917. Migratory birds are recognized as indicators of biodiversity and ecosystem health; thus landscapes that are managed for healthy migratory bird populations, provide broader conservation benefits.
Species facing the greatest risks/ Species of concern
Canadian bird populations are changing according to the State of Canada's Birds 2019. While some bird groups are doing well as a result of targeted conservation actions, many others are declining. Birds face many threats, including habitat loss, pollution, pesticides, collisions with human-built structures and climate change. The largest population declines observed since 1970 have occurred in aerial insectivores (59%), grassland birds (57%), and shorebirds (40%). Some species have already declined to the point that they are listed under the Species at Risk Act. If we do not take actions now, additional species will be at risk. Successful conservation requires committed action and international cooperation.
Overall decline in bird populations (over 3 billion in last 50 years)
Two scientists, and one retired scientist, from Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) coauthored a groundbreaking study published in the journal Science, entitled “The Decline of the North American Avifauna”. The paper outlines an alarming net loss of nearly three billion birds, a 29% decline, across North America since 1970. Driven by declines in our most common and widespread species, the paper indicates a shift in our ecosystems’ ability to support life
Actions needed to conserve migratory birds
International collaboration is the key to successful conservation for many species given that 78% of Canada’s birds spend over half the year outside of Canada. Therefore, protecting and improving habitat on the migration stopover areas and the wintering grounds is crucial. In addition, action is needed to reduce human-induced mortalities (i.e., incidental take), which primarily occur during migration. The public can take action to help reverse the decline of migratory birds. For example, making the windows in residential and commercial buildings more visible to birds and keeping cats indoors would save hundreds of millions of birds each year.
Modeling and analysis
- ECCC uses a suite of models to develop energy and emissions projections and conduct policy analysis. Different models are used for different projects, often used in complementary ways.
- The ECCC modeling suite supports the development of GHG and air pollutant emissions projections; analysis of carbon pricing and the clean fuel standard; and the development of Canada’s Mid-Century Strategy on Climate Change and pathways to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and the Paris temperature goals.
- ECCC’s economic modeling is done in collaboration with other federal departments, most notably Finance Canada, and has supported the analysis of climate change initiatives proposed by provincial and territorial governments (e.g., Yukon, Nunavut and Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia and Manitoba).
- In developing our modeling parameters, including our GHG emissions projections we consult with other federal departments (e.g., NRCan, Transport Canada and Agriculture and Agri-food Canada) and with provincial and territorial officials. We also consult with industrial associations, international modeling partners and other experts.
- All models are parameterized with inputs from credible sources such as Finance Canada, Statistics Canada and the Canadian Energy Regulator. The internationally-focused suite of models use data from sources such as the International Energy Agency, U.S. Informational Agency, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Global Trade Analysis Program.
- The suite of ECCC models undergo peer review either directly, as was the case with ENERGY 2020 or indirectly when research is published in academic journals. The GCAM model has been peer reviewed through the Intergovernmental Process on Climate Change.
Energy, Emissions and Economy Model for Canada (E3MC)
Questions related to progress in meeting Canada’s climate change targets and international commitments such as Canada’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) are addressed in the E3MC. The E3MC is a 10 province and 3-territory bottom-up energy technology simulation model dynamically integrated to a Keynesian macroeconomic model. Its granularity provides responses to questions such as, “what will be the impact of performance standards and regulations on specific electricity generation unit” and “how will energy users respond to specific energy efficiency policies or programs”. The E3MC model also provides answers to how policies and regulation will affect consumer prices and their behaviour. Canada’s energy and emissions reference case projections are developed using E3MC, which are calibrated to by the other ECCC models (EC-Pro, EC-MSMR, GCAM).
Questions related to how carbon pricing, the clean fuel standard and a combination of policies could affect national and provincial GDP, sector output, employment and consumer welfare are addressed through EC-Pro. EC-Pro is a 10 province and 3-territory multi-sector, multi-region computable general equilibrium model. The model has more than 25 sectors with focus on energy and energy-intensive industries. Its underlying economic structure, in combination with this level of detail, enables the model to produce robust results related to inter-provincial competitiveness and investment leakage that could arise from policies. It provides answers related to the competitiveness of Canada’s energy industry, as well as manufacturing, agriculture and forestry sectors when economic, energy and environment-related policies are introduced.
The EC-MSMR addresses questions that have an international dimension. EC-MSMR is an international multi-sector, multi-region computable general equilibrium model, with 16 regions and 20 basic commodity-producing sectors. The EC-MSMR model provides responses to questions such as “how does Canada’s National Determined Contribution compare with those of other countries” and “what are the competitiveness and investment leakage impacts of specific policies”. With its international dimension, the model provides answers to questions related to how Canada’s energy producers and manufacturing sector output will change in response to changes in commodity prices, environmental regulations and policies aimed at enhancing Canada’s energy infrastructure.
Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM)
GCAM is used to support longer-term policy issues such as the Mid-Century Strategy on Climate Change and to explore the implications of 1.5oC and 2oC emission pathways and technology issues related to the transition to a low carbon economy. The GCAM model provides answers to what are the investment requirements in the energy sector, as well as end-use sectors, associated with achieving the Paris temperature targets or the transition to a low carbon economy. It also addresses questions such as “will crude oil, and in particular Canadian oil sands, continue to play a role in post-2060 world oil markets”; “will natural gas continue as a bridge fuel or will there be a need to transition to low carbon, zero carbon or net-zero carbon fuels to achieve the Paris temperature targets”. Questions related to the economic factors (e.g., GDP, sector output, employment, exports/imports, costs to consumers and industry) are provided by running the GCAM model in tandem with EC-MSMR and EC-Pro.
Environment Canada’s Integrated Assessment Model (EC-IAM)
EC-IAM, an inter-temporal equilibrium model that captures the long-run interdependence of global economic, energy, and climate systems. EC-IAM is solved through a dynamic optimization of weighted regional utility of consumption over time subject to constraints—emissions or temperature. EC-IAM is a model for estimating the regional and global effects of greenhouse gas reductions. It quantifies alternative ways of thinking about climate change. The model contains submodels governing: i) the domestic and international economy; ii) energy-related emissions of greenhouse gases; iii) non-energy emissions of GHGs; and vi) global climate change — market and non-market damages.
Cash Flow Models
ECCC also has a set of industry-specific cash flow models to support domestic regulatory initiatives. These models provide answers to how rates of return on investment of a set of industries are affected by specific policies and measures.
The Informetrica Model
The Informetrica Model is a large-scale top-down macroeconomic model of Canada, provinces, and territories. The Infometrica Model is used to examine consumption, investment, production, and trade decisions in the whole economy. It captures the interaction among industries, as well as the implications for changes in producer prices, relative final prices, and income. It also factors in government fiscal balances, monetary flows, and interest and exchange rates. More specifically, TIM incorporates 133 industries at a provincial and territorial level. It also has an international component to account for exports and imports, covering about 100 commodities. The model projects the direct impacts on the economy's final demand, output, employment, price formation, and sectoral income that result from various policy choices. These, in turn, permit an estimation of the effect of climate change policy and related impacts on the national economy.
The Oxford Economic Model
ECCC is working with Oxford Economics to develop a customized bottom-up macroeconomic model of the provinces and territories. This model will replace the Informetrica Model as the “engine” for the ENERGY2020 model that is used to develop the energy and emissions projections.
Energy, Emissions and Economy Model for North America (E3NA)
Oxford Economics is developing a dynamic and integrated energy, emissions and economy model. The North America (E3NA) Energy, Emissions and Economy Model for North America (E3NA). The E3NA model will link the customized 10-province and 3-territory macroeconomic model which is dynamically integrated with ENERGY2020-Canada (E3MC) and the customized 10 region US macroeconomic model which is dynamically integrate with ENERGY2020-US (E3US).
Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP)
The Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP) component of the Canada Nature Fund is a national program, administered by a third-party, that will establish new protected and conserved areas by working with delivery partners across Canada to secure private lands and private interests in lands. These will be voluntary arrangements with willing landowners.
The Government of Canada is investing $100 million over four years for the NHCP.
Following an open call for proposals, the Minister of ECCC announced in April 2019 that the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) was selected to administer and deliver this program ($15 million per year) in partnership with Ducks Unlimited ($5 million per year) and land trusts ($5 million per year). Wildlife Habitat Canada administers the land trust portion of the program.
The NHCP will protect and conserve at least 200,000 hectares of habitat for species at risk.
The Selection Process for NHCP Projects
Projects are evaluated and selected by the NCC and partners. The NCC and Ducks Unlimited only secure properties from willing vendors.
Lands to be secured by NCC have been identified for their ecological value based on NCC’s and Ducks Unlimited conservation planning process. The vast majority of projects have to be located in a key conservation area as defined by a science-based plan (e.g. NCC’s Natural Areas Conservation Plan, targeted landscapes under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan) and all secured lands have to meet the definition of protected area or OECM under Pathway to Canada Target 1. If a property of interest is listed for sale, NCC competes on the open market against other interested buyers.
For the land trust portion, an open call for proposals is managed by Wildlife Habitat Canada and an external review panel evaluates and scores grant applications in the following areas: conservation and biodiversity significance; connectivity and/ or adjacency to other conservation lands; project resiliency; conservation co-benefits. The external review panel puts forth funding recommendations to Wildlife Habitat Canada.
For every dollar of federal funding, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and its delivery partners will match a minimum of two dollars of funding from non-federal sources, including in kind match such as donations of lands.
The Minister’s Mandate Letter included the following commitment: “Support the Minister of Natural Resources to operationalize the plan to plant two billion incremental trees over the next 10 years, as part of a broader commitment to nature-based climate solutions that also encompasses wetlands and urban forests.”
Forests, grasslands, croplands, and wetlands including peatlands provide a wide range of benefits to Canadians. Among Nature’s benefits to people, these ecosystems all help store and take carbon pollution out of the air.
“Nature based climate solutions” or “natural climate solutions” is an umbrella term that covers a variety of ecosystem-based approaches for climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, for example:
- Reforestation, avoiding forest and wetland conversion, improved management of forests, cropland nutrient management, tree-planting and restoring wetlands and grasslands to increase carbon sequestration and storage or avoid greenhouse gas emissions.
- Conserved, restored, or enhanced ecosystems such as coastal wetlands can prevent coastline erosion/damage from rising water levels
Natural climate solutions have the potential to make significant contributions to Canada’s 2030 and 2050 climate goals. In advancing the mandate commitment, an approach that includes wetlands, grasslands and other natural ecosystems will be important to ensure that gains are made early, as trees take time to reach their full mitigation potential.
Work is needed to better quantify and account for the contribution of natural ecosystems to Canada’s carbon budget and to ensure that the emission reductions associated with investments in natural climate solutions are captured in Canada’s reporting.
The tree planting component of the commitment can be designed in ways that also optimize co-benefits for biodiversity, including for example, restoring habitat for species (e.g. replanting seismic lines in caribou critical habitat).
New investments in nature-based climate solutions will complement existing programs that support natural infrastructure/nature based solutions including:
- The $2 billion Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF) supports natural infrastructure projects, enabling communities to better manage the risks associated with current and future natural hazards.
- Through the Habitat Joint Ventures partnerships under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP), partners have invested over $2.3 billion in wetland and waterfowl conservation in Canada, including the securement of 9 million ha and restoration of 1.5 million ha of wetlands and associated uplands.
Internationally, Canada is championing the nature-based solutions action track under the Global Commission on Adaptation.
Net-zero emissions by 2050
The Minister of Environment and Climate Change has been mandated to lead government-wide efforts to develop a plan to set Canada on a path to achieve a prosperous net-zero emissions future by 2050, based on the advice of experts and consultations with Canadians.
Canada’s plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 will include setting legally-binding, five-year emissions reduction milestones. The government will strengthen existing GHG reduction measures and introduce new measures to exceed Canada’s 2030 emissions target and provide a foundation for net-zero.
Net-zero emissions does not necessarily mean no greenhouse gas emissions at all. It means that all greenhouse gas emitted are offset through a combination of greenhouse gas removals and recognized international offsets or credits.
In 2019, Canada joined 77 other countries that have committed to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. A number of subnational jurisdictions and cities have set net-zero targets, including California, New York State, Nova Scotia, Barcelona, Melbourne, Toronto, and Halifax.
Achieving net-zero will require careful calibration to reflect Canada’s unique circumstances – including geography, the importance of traditional resource economy, and shared jurisdiction on environment.
Net zero is not just a plan for our climate. Net zero is a plan for our economic competitiveness. A plan to achieve net-zero emissions will focus on growing Canada’s prosperity by taking carbon pollution out of our environment and out of our economy.
Leading the clean energy transition means rethinking how we can harness Canada’s resources, not whether or not we harness them at all.
Transforming our economy for the future is not something one government can or should do alone. It will also take time. To get this right we have a lot of work to do with provinces and territories, industry leaders, civil society, Indigenous communities, and all Canadians.
In the coming year, the Government will seek the advice of experts and will consult with Canadians to identify pathways to net-zero that integrate its environmental, energy and economic objectives. We will seek input from Canadians on how Canada should innovate and transform our economy to keep good jobs here and create new ones.
Oceans Protection Plan
The Oceans Protection Plan (OPP) is a five-year initiative (2017-18 to 2021-22) designed to achieve a world-leading marine safety system that will increase the Government of Canada's capacity to prevent and improve response to marine pollution incidents. It has four pillars:
- Improve marine safety and responsible shipping
- Protect Canada’s marine environment
- Strengthen partnerships with Indigenous Communities
- Invest in science for evidence-based decision-making
Transport Canada is the lead for OPP. Other federal partners include Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard and Natural Resources Canada.
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) receives more than $75 million OPP investment for leading or directly participating in the following sub-initiatives:
- Marine Weather Information Services Demonstration Project – ECCC is improving marine weather services in high-risk areas by deploying five new buoys. New weather forecasts are developed using the information from these buoys and the most advanced numerical models.
- Alternative Response Measures (ARMs) – ECCC is supporting the development of a legislative and operational framework to permit the use of the most effective alternative response techniques. This project is currently delayed and is awaiting the Minister’s approval to start engagement efforts.
- Federal Oversight of Incident Management – Enhanced 24/7 Response Capacity – ECCC has enhanced its environmental emergency response capacity by hiring new environmental emergency officers as well as additional enforcement officers, communications officers, 24/7 meteorologists and technical experts and wildlife officers.
- Regional Response Planning (2017-18 to 2018-19) and Planning for Integrated Environmental Response (2019-20 to 2021-22) – ECCC is contributing to the planning efforts by collecting and coordinating scientific data and information on environmental sensitivities, which are used to evaluate the risks and impacts of ship-source oil spills, as well as support effective emergency planning.
- Baseline Environmental Data on the Northern British Columbia (B.C.) Coast – ECCC is collecting and collating baseline environmental data on B.C.’s North Coast, including data on marine birds and species at risk and coastal characterization, used for preparedness planning and emergency response.
Oil Sands Monitoring Program
- Since February 2012, the governments of Alberta and Canada have worked in partnership to implement an environmental monitoring program for the oil sands region of Alberta through the Oil Sands Monitoring Program.
- The two governments renewed their commitment respecting environmental monitoring in the oil sands region with the signing the Alberta-Canada Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in December 2017.
- The Memorandum of Understanding establishes the foundation for an adaptive and inclusive approach to program implementation ensuring that the program is responsive to emerging priorities, information, knowledge, and input from key stakeholders and Indigenous peoples in the region.
- The governance structure of the Oil Sands Monitoring Program includes, representatives from Indigenous communities, industry and both federal and provincial governments, representing an advancement with respect to the collaborative management of a major environmental monitoring program.
- The Oil Sands Monitoring Program funds and undertakes ambient environmental monitoring to improve the characterization of the condition of the environment, and enhance the understanding of cumulative effects related to oil sands development.
- Indigenous community issues are considered a monitoring priority for the Oil Sands Monitoring Program. It is recognized that the braiding of Indigenous Knowledge and western science will optimize the design and functionality of the monitoring program, and better inform regulatory and policy assurance.
- Key findings and results from the Oil Sands Monitoring Program inform regional resource management decisions and importantly, are considered as an objective source of scientific interpretation of credible environmental data.
- The oil sands industry provides funding support up to $50 million annually for the Program under the Oil Sands Environmental Regulation (Alberta Regulation 226/2013). Alberta and Canada both provide in-house support, with ECCC contributing approximately $6 million per year.
Overview of the Pan-Canadian Framework
The Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change was adopted by Canadian First MinistersFootnote 1 on December 9, 2016 and is the first climate change plan in Canada to include joint and individual commitments by federal, provincial and territorial governments and to have been developed with input from Indigenous Peoples, businesses, non-governmental organizations, and Canadians from across the country.
The plan is built on four pillars: pricing carbon pollution, complementary actions to reduce emissions across the economy, adaptation and climate resilience, and clean technology, innovation, and jobs. It includes more than fifty concrete actions that cover all sectors of the Canadian economy.
In 2016, the Government of Canada announced the Pan-Canadian Approach to Pricing Carbon Pollution, which gives provinces and territories the flexibility to implement their own carbon pricing systems, as long as they meet minimum federal stringency requirements. The federal government has also developed a federal carbon pricing system that applies in any jurisdiction that requests it or that does not implement its own systems that meets federal stringency requirements. Under the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, this system has two parts: a regulatory charge on fuel (Part 1) and a regulatory trading system for industry, known as the Output-Based Pricing System (Part 2).
The Pan-Canadian Framework also outlines extensive complementary actions to reduce emissions, including regulations on specific sources and investments to enable adoption of energy efficiency and low carbon measures and to support clean technology research and innovation. For example, the Government of Canada’s Low Carbon Economy Fund invests in projects that will generate clean growth, reduce GHG emissions, and help Canada meet its Paris Agreement commitments.
Complementary federal regulatory measures include: regulations that phase-out coal-fired electricity generation by 2030 and set GHG emissions limits for natural gas-fired electricity; regulatory requirements to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40-45%; emissions standards for light and heavy-duty vehicles; and regulations to reduce emissions of HFCs.
Adaptation action under the Framework focuses on five priority areas: translating science and traditional knowledge into action, building resilient infrastructure, addressing the health impacts of climate change, supporting particularly vulnerable regions, and reducing climate-related hazards and disaster risks.
The Pan-Canadian Framework also recognizes the potential of clean technology to accelerate clean growth in Canada. Governments have taken action to support the development, commercialization and adoption of clean technology in Canada, promote collaboration across jurisdictions, and establish a clean technology data strategy.
The Pan-Canadian Framework includes an annual oversight and reporting process to assess progress towards Canada’s 2030 GHG emissions reduction target. The Government of Canada continues work to further enhance ambition consistent with commitments under the Paris Agreement.
Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation
The federal government, in collaboration with the provinces and territories, has agreed to the implementation of the Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation in Canada in June 2018.Footnote 2
This new approach will shift from a single-species approach to conservation to one that focuses on multiple species and ecosystems. Conservation efforts will be concentrated on shared priority places, species (including caribou), and sectors and threats across Canada. This will enable conservation partners to work together to achieve better outcomes for species at risk.
Bilateral and multi-lateral engagement with Indigenous peoples, provinces and territories and stakeholders, as well as the implementation of early actions, are now underway.
Partnerships are supported by the Nature Legacy for Canada’s Canada Nature Fund, through which the federal government has committed up to $155 million over 5 years for conservation actions to protect and aid in the recovery of up to 200 terrestrial wildlife species focusing on priority places, species and sectors and threats identified under the Pan-Canadian Approach.
FPT Ministers agreed to apply the Pan-Canadian Approach to identify a national set of shared priorities:
- Priority Places: Nova Scotia – South West Nova Scotia, New Brunswick – St John River Valley, Prince Edward Island – Forested landscape, Quebec – St Lawrence Lowlands, Ontario – Long Point/Walsingham Forest, Manitoba – Mixed Grass Prairie, Saskatchewan – South of Divide, Alberta – Summit to Sage, British Columbia – Dry Interior, British Columbia – South West British Columbia, Yukon – South Beringia
- Priority Species: Boreal Caribou, Southern Mountain Caribou, Peary Caribou, Barren-Ground Caribou, Greater Sage Grouse, Wood Bison
- Priority Sectors: Agriculture, Forestry, Urban development
- Priority Threats: Invasive alien species, Wildlife disease, Illegal wildlife trade
Phoenix pay system
The 2018-19 TBS Departmental Result Report (DRR) was tabled in Parliament on February 26, 2020. For the first time, it publicly reports the government wide expenditures of the Phoenix pay system ($524.5M).
The TBS Departmental Results Report for 2018-19 breakdown the Phoenix system cost as follow:
- Public Service and Procurement Canada $371.6M
- Treasury board of Canada Secretariat $13.4M
- Canada Revenue Agency $2.1M
- All other government Departments compensation function combined ($137.4M).
- ECCC departmental cost is included in this amount ($4.9M) comparatively with Park Canada ($4.2M)* and CEAA ($471K)*
- ECCC HRB expenditures ($3.5M) supported affected employee through:
- expanding the ECCC Pay Liaison team;
- developing data and analytical capacity for reporting;
- creating dedicated data entry capacity;
- ensuring the ECCC Pay and Leave Guide is regularly promoted and updated.
- ECCC CSFB expenditures ($1.4M) supported employees by:
- timely recording of priority payment and emergency salary advances in both SAP and Phoenix;
- developing a data analytic analysis, reporting and reconciliation capacity supporting overpayment monitoring and recovery agreement;
6,850 employees are affected by Phoenix pay issues
- 4,533 employees affected by overpayment for a value of $15.1M
- 2,317 employees affected by underpayment for a value of $7.4M
- 251 employees requested Emergency Salary Advance and Priority Payments
*Note: Source from TBS briefing with DCFO Nov 26, 2019
Key Issue: Platform commitment to ban single-use plastics
- The federal government has a comprehensive agenda to move Canada toward its vision of zero plastic waste and is taking ambitious action to reduce plastic pollution, including, among other actions:
- banning harmful single-use plastics, where warranted and supported by science;
- through the Zero Plastic Waste Initiative, providing financial support to industry and community projects that use innovative approaches to reduce plastic waste and lead to positive impacts on our ability to return waste plastics in the Canadian economy.
- advancing Canada’s Plastics Science Agenda by supporting research to better understand the value chain and the impacts of plastic pollution on our environment;
- working with industry to prevent and retrieve lost fishing gear and to reduce plastic waste.
- leading by example and reducing plastic waste from federal operations.
- The Government of Canada is also working with provinces and territories to complement their actions as we implement together the Canada-wide Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste. This includes developing national standards and harmonizing approaches to extended producer responsibility to make companies that manufacture plastic products or sell items with plastic packaging responsible for collecting and recycling them.
- Environment and Climate Change Canada and Health Canada conducted a Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution to inform the federal government’s decisions on plastic pollution in Canada. It found that there are many sources that contribute to plastic pollution, that large plastics have shown to cause harm to animals and that according to the precautionary principle, action is needed to reduce plastics that end up in the environment.
- The publication of the draft science assessment is the first step in a process that will inform decision-making under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). We will be consulting stakeholders, including industry and the provinces and territories, on how to improve the management of single-use plastics through potential regulations or other measures that could involve restrictions in their use, require recycled content or make companies responsible for recycling them at the end of life.
- We will also continue to advance other aspects of our comprehensive agenda that support businesses, non-governmental organisations and communities develop and pilot new approaches to prevent plastic pollution and recovering the value of waste plastics into our economy.
Pricing Carbon Pollution
In October 2016, the Prime Minister announced the Pan-Canadian Approach to Pricing Carbon Pollution (the federal benchmark), which gave provinces and territories the flexibility to develop their own carbon pollution pricing systems and outlined criteria all systems must meet to ensure they are stringent, fair, and efficient.
The federal government has developed a federal carbon pollution pricing system for provinces and territories that request it or that do not have their own system that meets the federal benchmark. Under the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, the federal carbon pollution pricing system has two parts:
- a regulatory charge on fossil fuels (the fuel charge); and
- a performance-based pricing system for industrial facilities, known as the output-based pricing system (OBPS).
The federal fuel charge currently applies in Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Yukon, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Nunavut. The federal OBPS applies in Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, Yukon, Nunavut, and partially in Saskatchewan. Other provinces and territories are implementing their own carbon pollution pricing systems.
The OBPS is designed to maintain the competitiveness of Canadian industries while ensuring every sector does its fair share to help reduce emissions. The system creates a strong financial incentive for the least efficient facilities to reduce emissions per unit of output and for strong performers to continue to improve. Most carbon pollution pricing systems have a version of this approach to pricing industrial GHG emissions.
Wherever the federal carbon pollution pricing system applies, the Government of Canada returns all direct proceeds to the jurisdiction of origin. Proceeds will be returned to the provincial or territorial government in jurisdictions that have requested the federal system. In Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan, the Government of Canada is returning the bulk of fuel charge proceeds to individuals and families, through Climate Action Incentive payments. Canadians in these provinces can claim their Climate Action Incentive payments when they file their income tax and benefit returns. Most households will get more in Climate Action Incentive payments than they will pay in increased costs due to the federal carbon pollution pricing system.
The remaining proceeds from the federal fuel charge in these provinces will be used to support certain sectors, including small- and medium-sized enterprises, municipalities, universities, schools, colleges, hospitals, not-for-profit organizations, and Indigenous communities in these provinces, through programs like the Climate Action Incentive Fund. The objective is to encourage these sectors to adopt clean technologies to reduce energy use, cut climate pollution and save money. Proceeds from the OBPS will also be returned to the jurisdiction of origin to support further emission reductions.
Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework under the Convention on Biological Diversity
196 Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity are negotiating a new set of global biodiversity targets that will replace the Aichi Targets which end in 2020.
Current status and background
In 2010 the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) agreed on a 2011-2020 Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, including 20 global targets, called the Aichi Targets. The Aichi Targets will conclude in 2020. While some progress has been made towards meeting many of these targets, the global community is very far from meeting the 20 targets, and biodiversity loss continues at an alarming rate. As recent regional and global assessments have emphasized, concerted action is urgently needed.
At the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15), to be held in Kunming, China, in October 2020, the global community will adopt a new global biodiversity framework, with associated goals and targets, that will guide worldwide efforts on biodiversity conservation and sustainable use over the next 10 years.
Canada is supportive of developing an ambitious and practical post-2020 global biodiversity framework as a way of focusing the world’s collective efforts to stem the loss of biodiversity loss and degradation of nature. Basile van Havre, from Environment and Climate Change Canada, is one of the two co-chairs of the global UN process to develop this framework.
Canada is focusing its approach to the negotiations on the following priorities:
- focusing the new global biodiversity framework on the most important direct drivers of global biodiversity loss: land- and sea-use change; direct overexploitation; climate change; pollution; and invasive alien species;
- advocating that countries around the world set a 30% conservation goal for 2030;
- addressing all three objectives of Convention in a balanced way: conservation, sustainable use, and benefit sharing from the utilization of genetic resources;
- ensuring that the post-2020 biodiversity targets are straightforward and measurable, and include clear indicators; and
- strengthening country implementation of the CBD through systems that make countries more accountable to their commitments.
Since February 2018, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) officials have engaged extensively and on a regular basis with interested Canadian federal departments, provinces and territories, national Indigenous organizations, NGOs, youth, industry, and others, including other key countries, to gain insight and varied perspectives to inform eventual Canadian negotiating positions on the Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.
Projects funded by Canada Nature Fund
Part of the Canada Nature Fund, the Target 1 Challenge, is providing up to $175 million for the establishment of new Indigenous protected and conserved areas and provincial and municipal parks across Canada.
Interested organizations, provinces and territories, local or municipal governments, Indigenous Peoples, the private sector (i.e., small businesses, companies, corporations, and industry associations), not-for-profit organizations, such as philanthropic foundations and other non-governmental organizations were eligible to apply for Challenge funds through an open call for proposals that ended in March 2019.
Over 140 proposals worth over $800M were received.
Applications were then reviewed and evaluated by Canadian Wildlife Services staff according to pre-determined criteria with a view to making progress on the 17% target. Funding decisions were approved by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change last summer.
Recent Challenge announcements include:
- the establishment of the Central Purcells Indigenous Protected Area in BC to protect over 200,000 hectares ($16 million);
- the securement of 4,400 hectares of forest lands and wetlands by the Government of Prince Edward Island ($1.4 million); and
- the recognition of 2.2 million hectares of conservation lands near Great Slave Lake and Great Bear Lake by the Tlicho First Nation in the Northwest Territories ($2 million).
The Canada Nature Fund is also providing $100 million to help secure private lands in ecologically sensitive parts of the country under the Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP). $15 million was also allocated to the Quick Start initiative designed to help near-ready and strategically important protected areas move forward.
The Canada Nature Fund was also utilized to help support the recent negotiation of the conservation agreement involving ECCC, the BC Government as well as the West Moberley and Saulteaux First Nation to protect and recover Southern Mountain Caribou. Caribou agreements in other jurisdictions and the implementation of the Pan Canadian Framework for Priority Places for Protecting Species at Risk are also being supported by the Canada Nature Fund.
Protected areas on land and freshwater - key milestones and status
Significant progress on protected areas has been made in recent years. In 2017, Canada had protected 10.5% of its land and freshwater.
In January 2020, Canada reported that 12.1% of our land and freshwater is effectively protected or otherwise conserved. This progress is equivalent to protecting a land area the size of Ireland and Scotland combined.
Overall, Canada has protected a total area roughly double the size of Alberta.
[Note: The following sentence has not been communicated publicly]
The federal government will bring forward a plan to conserve 25 percent of Canada’s land and 25 percent of Canada’s oceans by 2025, and will work towards 30 percent of each by 2030. As per the mandate letter, the plan will take into account science, Indigenous knowledge and local perspectives.
Regional assessment/cumulative effects
As part of the impact assessment system, the Government introduced an approach to better understand cumulative effects. Cumulative effects are changes to the environment that are caused by an action in combination with other past, present and future human actions.
Assessing cumulative effects is complex. The Government’s approach to cumulative effects will enhance knowledge on the current state of the environment. We will develop this knowledge working with jurisdictions, partners, Indigenous peoples, industry, and other stakeholders.
The information generated will support impact assessments, decision-making, and regulatory processes.
Regional assessments are an inclusive term that captures a wide-range of initiatives undertaken by many departments and agencies and include those assessments conducted under the Impact Assessment Act.
Announced regional assessments:
- Final report for the first regional assessment - Offshore Oil and Gas Exploratory Drilling East of Newfoundland and Labrador - is expected in the coming weeks.
- February 10, 2020 announcement that a regional assessment of the Ring of Fire region in Northern Ontario will be conducted.
Open Science and Data Platform:
- The Government of Canada continues to develop the Open Science and Data Platform. Once launched later this year, it will enhance public access to science and data related to cumulative effects, impact assessments, and regulatory processes.
Species at Risk
- The implementation of SARA through the federal Species at Risk Program is a shared responsibility of Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and Parks Canada (PCA).
- SARA was designed to complement action by the provinces and territories, as well as incite actions by Indigenous peoples and other partners. Species at risk legislation and conservation actions in other jurisdictions has been uneven across the country.
- Canada is home to 80,000 wildlife species. There are 602 species at risk currently on Schedule 1 of SARA; of these, 482 are terrestrial species that fall under the responsibility of the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, and the other 120 are aquatic species for which the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is responsible. Of these listed species: 269 are endangered; 137 are threatened; 172 are special concern; and 24 are extirpated.
- In part due to the cumulative and escalating threats to biodiversity there has been limited improvement to the status of the listed species, and only 6% have been de-listed as no longer being at risk.
- Primary threats are habitat loss and fragmentation due to development, overexploitation. There are also indications of increasing risks due to climate change, pollution, invasive species and diseases.
- Once a species has been assessed as being at risk by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), it triggers a process under the Act consisting of the following steps: listing, recovery planning, protection, and monitoring and reporting. The Act also requires consultation and cooperation with provinces and territories, Indigenous peoples and a broad range of stakeholders throughout the cycle.
Species at Risk Litigation
Status of the Canada Nature Fund
The Canada Nature Fund is a $500 million federal investment to support the efforts of non-federal partners whose commitment is critical to achieving success in nature conservation.
The fund is helping to support the work of partners in creating new protected and conserved areas and recovering species at risk.
Canada Nature Fund contributions are matched by investments by philanthropic foundations, corporations, not-for-profits, provinces, territories and other partners. As a result, the Nature Fund will support at least $1 billion of investment in conservation.
Under the fund, roughly $300 million has been set aside for terrestrial protected areas and $200 million for recovery of both terrestrial and aquatic species at risk.
The vast majority of the protected areas funding is now committed, with roughly $10 million remaining for protected areas.
Strategic Assessment of Climate Change
The draft Strategic Assessment of Climate Change
The draft Strategic Assessment of Climate Change (SACC), published in August 2019 for public comment, provides guidance on how federal impact assessments should consider a project’s GHG emissions and its resilience to climate change. It outlines the information the proponent needs to provide and clarifies how the Government of Canada will review this information.
The draft SACC applies as interim guidance for project reviews under the Impact Assessment Act until the final SACC is published. It is expected that the final SACC will be published in 2020.
Linkages with the Net-Zero Emissions by 2050 goal
ECCC is currently assessing how the Net-Zero emissions by 2050 goal could be integrated into the SACC.
Short Engagement period
During the development of the draft SACC, ECCC engaged with P/Ts, ENGOs, Industry representatives, indigenous groups and federal departments. On July 19, 2018, ECCC published a discussion paper seeking views on the objectives and scope of the SACC. In March 2019, ECCC published the Terms of Reference for developing the SACC and the final SACC was published in August 2019 for a public comment period. However, many stakeholders argued that the formal comment period for the draft SACC was too short (22 days). The consultation period was curtailed due to federal election period.
The role of private U.S. and Canadian foundations in supporting the Nature Legacy
Private sector foundations, in addition to provincial, territorial and municipal governments, community groups, and Indigenous organizations are playing an important role in the success of the Nature Legacy.
In particular, the $500 million Canada Nature Fund is supporting the efforts of non-federal partners whose commitment is critical to achieving success in nature conservation. Canada Nature Fund contributions are matched by philanthropic foundations, corporations, not-for-profits, provinces, territories and other partners, raising a total of $1 billion for conservation action.
Philanthropic foundations have come together to form a ‘funders collective’ to coordinate foundations’ financial support to proponents who may need additional resources to meet the funding matching requirements.
Support from Foundations helps to diversify the funding base for these projects, and enables them to be less reliant on federal government funding
The support from Foundations are playing an important part in helping us leverage investments made by the Canada Nature Fund. A total of approximately $44M for 32 Canada Nature Fund projects has been leveraged to date.
Given their experience in providing funding to conservation efforts, representatives from the funders collective also provided external input into the evaluation process for the Target 1 Challenge.
The vast majority of organizations involved in the Funders Collective are Canadian.
Science on key biodiversity areas including grasslands and forests
Work is underway under the Pathway to Canada Target 1 process on identifying global and national Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) located in Canada.
Federal, provincial and territorial governments, national Indigenous organizations, and environmental non-governmental organizations are engaged in this work.
The work is science-based and guided by international standards. By design, site identification is transparent, objective and repeatable. The resulting sites will be ecologically relevant and practical for management.
Canada is similarly undertaking scientific work to identify indicators for determining how we might support the ‘connectivity’ of protected areas.
This important work will help inform decision making around the selection of protected and conserved areas in the future.
Transboundary movements of waste
- The federal government (ECCC) regulates transboundary movements of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials and other waste, and negotiates and implements international agreements related to transboundary movements of waste. It also tracks transboundary movements of controlled waste.
- Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Canadian Border Services Agency, and Global Affairs Canada undertake a range of activities to address illegal shipments of waste (e.g. enhanced compliance promotion; official-level committee to strengthen coordination of actions; enhanced interaction with foreign authorities; gathering of information locally).
- ECCC controls waste that is defined as “hazardous waste” and “hazardous recyclable material” under the Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations.
- An exporter wishing to export hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material must notify ECCC and obtain a permit before the export takes place. Before issuing a permit, ECCC seeks the consent from the transit and/or importing country.
- Even when the waste or recyclable material is not considered hazardous in Canada, if it is considered hazardous, or is prohibited by an importing country that is a Party to the Basel Convention, the waste is considered hazardous under the regulations. Therefore a permit issued by ECCC would be required before the shipment leaves Canada.
- When an importing country determines that a shipment from a country like Canada is not acceptable under their domestic regulations, the normal process is for that country to send the shipment back to Canada, and notify ECCC, that the shipment is being returned. Based on the specific facts of the case, ECCC (Enforcement Branch) may contact the Canadian exporter and take enforcement action if needed.
- In the event that an exporter contravenes CEPA by exporting hazardous waste or recyclable material without a permit, or; abandoning any shipment of waste or material, the two principle tools available to enforcement officers are: 1) administrative monetary penalties (AMPs) and 2) charges. Injunctions may be considered depending on the facts of the specific case.
- On September 22, 2015, Enforcement Branch (EB) launched an investigation into the activities of Volkswagen Group Canada Inc. regarding the alleged importation into Canada of approximately 130,000 diesel vehicles equipped with a prohibited “defeat device” in violations of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA).
- From September 2015 onwards, Enforcement Officers were actively investigating and collecting evidence. An investigation of this magnitude takes time to complete including gathering sufficient evidence to determine whether charges could be sustained. This included collecting information for assessing potential defences that an accused might raise, such as the defence of due diligence.
- The US and Canadian regulatory standards for vehicle emissions, while aligned, are implemented and enforced under different legislation and legal systems. The legal and regulatory environments in Canada and the US are very different.
- For this investigation, ECCC Enforcement Branch had to prepare a formal written request to the US Department of Justice under the Canada - US Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) in order to obtain the relevant information from US authorities.
- In 2018, EB’s lead officer submitted the Report to Crown Counsel to the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC).
- On December 13, 2019 ECCC charged Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft (Volkswagen AG), the German parent company, with 60 counts of contravening CEPA.
- The charges are supported by evidence indicating that between January 2008 and December 2015 the company unlawfully imported into Canada, nearly 128,000 vehicles that did not conform to Canada’s prescribed vehicle emissions regulations and provided misleading information to Environment and Climate Change Canada.
- On January 22, 2020, Volkswagen AG pleaded guilty to all 60 charges and was fined a historic $196.5M. This fine was a result of negotiations between Volkswagen AG and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada. The fine will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund.
- Volkswagen AG’s reported use of defeat devices in certain models of diesel vehicles received significant national and international attention.
Timelines and outcomes
- Volkswagen was ordered to pay $196.5 million after pleading guilty to 60 counts of contravening the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. The charges relate to unlawfully importing nearly 128,000 vehicles that were equipped with a defeat device in contravention of prescribed vehicle emission regulations, as well as providing misleading information to Environment and Climate Change Canada
- September 18, 2015 – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) serves a Notice of Violation (NOV) alleging that VW vehicles with 2.0-litre TDI engines, sold in the U.S. between 2009 and 2015, were equipped with a defeat device
- September 22, 2015 – ECCC’s Enforcement Branch (EB) launches an investigation against Volkswagen Group Canada Inc. (VGCA) for alleged violations of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA)
- November 2, 2015 – US EPA issues a second NOV to VW alleging that vehicles with 3.0-litre diesel engines are equipped with a defeat device
- October 25, 2016 – The final settlement for 2.0L TDI vehicles in the U.S. is approved, which includes $10B for buy back or emissions modification, $2.7B for environmental fund and $2.0B in ZEV investment
- January 11, 2017 – In the U.S., VW AG agrees to plead guilty and pay $4.3B in criminal and civil penalties ($2.8B criminal fine, $1.5B civil fine). The U.S. Department of Justice also announces the indictment of six former high-level VW executives
- April 5, 2017 - VGCA notifies ECCC of its plan to implement the US EPA-approved technical fixes to vehicles in Canada
- April 21, 2017 – ON and QC courts approve a nationwide class action settlement agreement with VGCA and Canadian consumers for the VWs with 2.0-litre TDI engines, valued at $2.1B. The Competition Bureau of Canada reaches an agreement with VGCA valued at $15M to address false or misleading environmental claims
- May 17, 2017 – U.S. approves the final settlement for 3.0L TDI vehicles, which includes $1.2B for buy back or emissions modification, $225M for environmental fund and $25M in ZEV investment
- April 2018 – QC and ON courts approve a nationwide class settlement agreement with VGCA and Canadian consumers for the VWs with 3.0-litre TDI engine, valued at $290.5M. The Competition Bureau also reaches an agreement with VGCA valued at $2.5M to address false or misleading environmental claims
Difference between U.S. and Canada settlements
The settlements in the U.S. resulted from claims made in a civil lawsuit brought by the U.S. government and private interests as well as a criminal investigation. In contrast to the U.S. EPA, ECCC has no mechanism under CEPA to pursue a similar civil case.
The civil class action settlements in Canada are in addition to ECCC’s criminal prosecution and amount to a total settlement in Canada of $2.6B.
Wastewater and the Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations
- All levels of government share responsibility for managing wastewater.
- The Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations came into force in 2012 after about a decade of consultations.
- The Regulations set effluent quality standards that require wastewater facilities to achieve a secondary level of treatment. These standards came into force in 2015.
- Recognizing that communities would need time to plan, finance and build or upgrade wastewater facilities, the Regulations provided a one-time opportunity to apply for a Transitional Authorization by June 30, 2014, if they did not have treatment in place that could meet the standards.
- The Transitional Authorizations require compliance with effluent standards by December 31 of 2020, 2030, or 2040, based on level of risk.
- The Regulations apply to approximately 1,500 wastewater systems that discharge water and collect 100 m3/day or more. These Regulations apply to the largest source of wastewater releases (about 1500 systems) three-quarters of which already meet the effluent quality standards.
- The regulations do not apply in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, northern Quebec or northern Newfoundland. They also do not apply where there are equivalency agreements in place (Quebec and Yukon).
- There are approximately 133 municipalities across Canada that did not apply for a transitional authorization and would likely have been eligible to receive one. The majority of these are in Newfoundland and Labrador.
- Environment and Climate Change Canada is assessing options to amend the regulations to allow these communities another opportunity to receive a Transitional Authorization. Consultations will be held throughout 2020.
Combined sewer overflows
- In some cities across Canada, the sewage collection system and stormwater systems are combined. This can create overflows of diluted untreated wastewater if volumes of rainfall or snowmelt exceed a wastewater treatment plants’ capacity.
- Combined sewer overflows are not authorized under the Regulations. Communities are required to report annual volume and frequency. This volume varies from year to year depending on climate conditions (i.e., rainfall and snow melt). For 2018, the reported volume was 190 million m3.
Planned releases for repair, maintenance and upgrade work
- Work is required from time to time to ensure the longevity and proper functioning of wastewater infrastructure. This work can sometimes result in unavoidable releases of untreated or undertreated wastewater.
- The regulations provide for a temporary authorization to exceed effluent standards while conducting work that may result in undertreated effluent releases from a wastewater treatment plants final discharge point.
- There is no authorization available for work that may result in untreated releases from an overflow point. These releases are estimated at 10-20 million m3/year.
Pan-Canadian Approach to Wildlife Health (PCAWH)
Wildlife Health is a shared responsibility between the federal government and the Provincial-Territorial governments. Wildlife health responsibilities span multiple federal departments, including ECCC, DFO, CFIA, AAFC, and others. The federal and provincial governments work with and fund the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative (CWHC), a network of veterinarians based within Canada’s veterinary schools and agencies that carry out much of the wildlife disease surveillance in Canada. ECCC supports the CWHC to carry out surveillance of diseases in a range of fauna; there is no stable funding for the CWHC beyond 2020/21. In 2018, FPT Ministers agreed to a new approach to the monitoring and management of wildlife diseases through the PCAWH. The PCAWH is designed to move Canada towards a more proactive position in relation to wildlife health benefiting conservation, trade and human health, but funding has not yet been secured to implement the approach.
West Nile Disease (WND)
WND is a vector-borne disease (most likely spread by mosquitos), and can lethally affect birds as well as humans. CFIA regular tests domestic animals, but testing in wildlife is done through opportunistic regional sampling. The CWHC was testing regularly for WND during the last outbreak (2014), but priorities shifted to other risks since that time and little testing is now done. There have been no significant outbreaks in wildlife in Canada since 2015.
African Swine Fever (ASF)
ASF is a disease currently on the rise globally, with many countries affected throughout Africa, Asia and Europe. To date, no ASF cases have been reported in the Americas. CFIA is the lead given its role with the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE). Wild pigs have been identified as the vector for the disease in some regions. ASF is primarily a threat to pork producers in Canada, and not wildlife conservation, given that wild pigs are considered invasive. However, to address this issue, there is a need for FPT Wildlife and Agriculture departments to work together. ECCC currently supports the CWHC to lead a National Invasive Pig working group.
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)
Issue known to be of interest [*Redacted*]
Chronic wasting disease is a fatal nervous system disease known to infect deer, moose, elk and caribou. In 2018 there was an outbreak of CWD in a deer farm in the Outaouais. Further testing by the province has not found wildlife to be affected. Testing for CWD is carried out by the PTs and in collaboration with the CWHC. Of larger conservation concern is the current overlap of CWD positive deer with the range of threatened boreal caribou populations. Caribou are vulnerable to the disease and there is widespread concern from wildlife veterinarians and Indigenous groups about caribou populations becoming infected. CWD transmission to caribou could lead to significant changes in their populations, and the ability of Indigenous harvesters to hunt this culturally important species.
Avian Influenza (AI)
Wild birds (particularly waterfowl) and AI (a virus) coexist naturally in the wild, but the incidence rate of the virus in the wild is low. Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreaks are most frequently associated with domestic poultry industry. Even though several wild bird populations in Canada have been identified as AI reservoirs, there is very few limited testing.
Wildlife and the novel Coronavirus
It has been hypothesised that all mammalian coronaviruses were derived from a virus that originally infected bats in Asia, although some may have more recently come from rodents. The current virus outbreak (COVID-19) has been linked to a cross-over between bat and mammalian strains of coronavirus. There is no current link between the current COVID-19 strain and birds. There is no surveillance of coronaviruses in wildlife in Canada currently.
Impacts of White Nose Syndrome on bats in Canada
Psuedogymnoascus destructans (Pd) is an invasive fungus that causes White Nose Syndrome (WNS) in bats. First documented in New York State in 2006, WNS has killed more than 6 million bats in eastern North America. As a result, hibernating bats in eastern North America have undergone the largest wildlife decline in recorded history, often with population declines of more than 94% and, in some cases, local extirpation. Three species of bats impacted by White Nose Syndrome are listed as endangered on the Species at Risk Act.
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