Progress on mandate letter commitments: appearance before the Standing Committee (March 10, 2021)

Note: Wherever possible, the January 15, 2021 supplementary mandate letter commitments (SL) have been combined with those included in the initial mandate letter (ML), dated December 2019, which remain in effect.

Mandate letter commitment Key accomplishments to February 2021

Clean Technology

Work with the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry and the Minister of Natural Resources to position Canada as a global leader in clean technology. (ML)
  • As part of free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) seeks to negotiate comprehensive and ambitious environmental provisions, including the elimination of tariffs on Canadian environmental good and services.
  • As part of the implementation of FTA environment provisions, ECCC is organizing events with trading partners to promote and showcase Canadian clean technologies.
  • Working in tandem with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED), ECCC is actively engaged in the Clean Growth Hub, helping Canadian clean technology companies navigate federal funding programs and regulations.
  • In its unique role as an environmental regulator, by notably developing codes, standards, and regulations, ECCC creates incentives for businesses and consumers to adopt clean technology solutions.
  • In leading the development of the Strengthened Climate Plan, ECCC has worked closely with ISED and NRCan to ensure clean technology is a key aspect of climate mitigation action (e.g, the Fall Economic Statement decision to recapitalize Sustainable Development Technology Canada).

Climate Adaptation

As part of Canada’s climate plan, work with the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and the Minister of Natural Resources, and with the support of the Special Representative for the Prairies, to develop a national climate change adaptation strategy and invest in reducing the impact of climate-related disasters, like floods and wildfires, to make communities safer and more resilient. (SL)
  • Officials from ECCC, in collaboration with NRCan, have initiated engagement with provinces, territories, National Indigenous Organizations (NIOs), and other key partners, to discuss the process to develop a National Adaptation Strategy and linkages to ongoing work.
  • In the coming months, ECCC will be holding a virtual forum with a broad and inclusive set of partners and stakeholders to develop a vision for the National Adaptation Strategy, identify its key components, and put in place a process to develop the strategy’s framework.
  • The Parks Canada Agency (PCA) undertakes wildfire risk reduction across the many sites and parks under its jurisdiction.  This work is an important activity for reducing the risks and impacts of potential climate-related wildfire disasters and making communities safer and more resilient.  Since December 2019, the Agency’s National Fire Information Management System shows an investment of $698,208.53 in 19 wildfire risk reduction initiatives across the country.
Work with the Minister of Natural Resources and provinces and territories to complete all flood maps in Canada. (ML)
  • ECCC is working with NRCan and Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (PSEPC) to strengthen both the policy and science related to flood mapping.
  • ECCC is also engaging provinces and territories, through existing governance structures, to inform flood mapping engineering methods and approaches to assess flood maps, supporting NRCan in advancing a national flood-mapping standard.

Climate Mitigation

In close collaboration with all colleagues, implement the government-wide climate plan to exceed Canada’s 2030 climate goal, A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy. Work with provinces and territories, Indigenous peoples and stakeholders on advancing climate action. (SL/ML)
  • On December 11, 2020, the Government of Canada (GoC) released "A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy - Canada's Strengthened Climate Plan" (SCP), announcing federal policies, programs and $15 billion in investments to accelerate the fight against climate change, create good new jobs, make life more affordable for households, and build a more resilient and sustainable future.  The SCP builds on the important achievements and work underway to implement the 2016 Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change (PCF), in collaboration with provinces, territories, and Indigenous peoples.  ECCC is working to quickly implement measures in the SCP to put in place the building blocks for a robust and resilient recovery and a prosperous net-zero emissions future.
  • Work has been initiated on each of the regulatory measures announced in the SCP.
  • Outreach and background work has been initiated to inform the design of the Net-Zero Challenge.
  • Work has begun across government to implement the SCP measures funded in the Fall Economic Statement (and to advance the other measures for Budget 2021).
Legislate Canada’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. (SL/ML)
  • The Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act (Bill C-12) was introduced in the House of Commons on November 19, 2020.  This proposed legislation would support the development of Canada’s plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, including by establishing an Advisory Body to engage with Canadians and provide expert advice. In particular, the Advisory Body would provide advice respecting measures and sectoral strategies that the GoC could implement to achieve a greenhouse gas (GHG) target and to conduct engagement activities related to achieving net-zero emissions.
Continue putting a price on pollution while putting that money back in the pockets of Canadians. (SL)
  • Carbon pollution pricing systems aligned with the federal standard (benchmark) are in place in all jurisdictions.
  • The studies and reviews of carbon pricing committed to in the PCF have all been initiated, and will be completed by late winter 2021.
  • In 2020’s SCP, the GoC proposed to increase the carbon price by $15/year starting in 2023, out to $170 in 2030, and to strengthen the federal standards for all systems, to ensure that all carbon pollution-pricing systems are fair and effective.  ECCC officials are engaging provinces and territories and NIOs on the federal proposal for strengthened carbon pricing made in the SCP.
  • The GoC is developing a Federal GHG Offset System to incent reductions in sectors such as agriculture and forestry. Draft regulations are expected to be published in Canada Gazette Part 1 this winter; final regulations are targeted for fall 2021.
  • ECCC posted the list of priority project types for which offset protocols will be developed first in January 2021.
  • The review of the federal Output-based Pricing System was initiated, with a scoping paper, on February 12, 2021.
Support the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food in their efforts to support farmers, foresters and ranchers in reducing emissions and building resilience as key partners in the fight against climate change. (SL)
  • ECCC is working with the agricultural and forestry sectors on opportunities created by the Clean Fuel Standard (CFS) and federal offsets.
  • In coordination with NRCan and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), ECCC continues to prepare for the launch of the Natural Climate Solutions Fund to ensure that the program will be a success.
Work with the Minister of Natural Resources, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry and the Minister of Transport, and with the support of the Special Representative for the Prairies, to implement the Net-Zero Accelerator Fund in continuing to support Canada’s manufacturing, transportation, natural resource and energy sectors as they work to transform to meet a net-zero future, creating good-paying and long-lasting jobs. (SL)
  • ECCC is providing support to ISED in designing the Net-Zero Accelerator (NZA), including advice on the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF)-NZA Governance Structure and industry outreach approach.
Work with the President of the Treasury Board to apply a climate lens to all government decision-making. (SL)
  • ECCC is working closely with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) on developing a Climate Lens that aims to ensure that decision-makers have the information needed to understand the effects of their decisions on the GoC’s climate goals in a robust and coherent manner.
Work with the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Natural Resources to advance toward our zero-emission vehicles targets of 10 per cent of light-duty vehicles sales per year by 2025, 30 per cent by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2040. (ML)
  • ECCC is continuing work to develop, implement and administer legislation, regulations and tools related to the transportation sector (e.g. Light Duty and Heavy Duty Vehicles, Off-Road Vehicles and Engines, Renewable Fuels). This commitment is a measure in the SCP.


Work with the Minister of Canadian Heritage to provide clearer direction on how national heritage places should be designated and preserved, and to develop comprehensive legislation on federally owned heritage places. (ML)
  • The PCA has conducted engagement with federal departments and stakeholders to explore the development of legislation to strengthen the protection of federally-owned historic places for present and future generations.


With the support of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, work with the Minister of Natural Resources to operationalize our plan to use nature-based solutions to fight climate change and stop biodiversity loss, including by planting two billion trees. (SL/ML)
  • In coordination with NRCan and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), ECCC continues to prepare for the launch of the Natural Climate Solutions Fund to ensure that the program will be a success, which was announced in the Fall Economic Statement.
  • ECCC has successfully developed a detailed, evidence-based program design in collaboration with AAFC and NRCan to deliver on these commitments, supported by Cabinet and reflected in the 2020 Fall Economic Update.
  • In January 2021, ECCC and AAFC hosted an engagement session on the Climate-Smart Ecosystems (CSE) Initiative, which was used to gather input from key stakeholders and to validate the current thinking on program design.
  • ECCC continues to discuss program options for the CSE Initiative with experts in nature-based climate solutions, and with potential program delivery partners.  A call for Expressions of Interest for projects that can be started during the 2021-2022 Fiscal Year will soon be issued.
Work with the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and with municipalities, provinces and territories and Indigenous peoples, to expand urban parks to increase Canadians’ access to green spaces. (SL/ML)
  • As the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted, access to nature is vitally important for Canadians’ health and wellbeing. In a survey by Park People focused on urban parks, 70% of respondents said they appreciate parks more since physical distancing began. Urban parks was one of the five key themes of the 2020 Minister’s Round Table on Parks Canada.  The Agency is finalizing its review of the input received and will share the outcomes of this consultation in a What We Heard report, which will be available online.
  • There has been high interest in this mandate commitment, with several interested proponents reaching out to the PCA to discuss potential opportunities.  The Agency is evaluating possible elements of an urban parks program, including options for providing support to municipalities and their partners.
  • As this analysis continues, proponents are being encouraged to share views on the types of policies and programming that would be effective in responding to feedback received and delivering on this new aspect of this mandate commitment.
Expand the Learn-to-Camp program to meet the target that 400,000 kids each year learn basic camping skills. (ML)
  • Every year, PCA’s Learn-to Camp program introduces thousands of children and families to the safe enjoyment of nature and the outdoors.  The program delivers outdoor skills development activities in cities across the country as well as in Parks Canada places and offers experiences of short, medium, and long durations, including overnight camping experiences.  In 2019, the PCA held over 600 Learn-to Camp events and served over 100,000 participants. In 2020, as the country rose to the challenge of flattening the curve of COVID-19, millions of Canadians chose national historic sites and national parks as outlets for health and wellness and as destinations for recreation and vacations.  The program was adapted to delivering knowledge, skills, and information to the countless Canadians who were trying camping and recreating in wild and natural settings for the first time in 2020.  Learn-to Camp programming was delivered on digital platforms and through program partners to reach Canadians in their homes and their backyards as they prepared for their excursions or vacations.  These adaptations continue for 2021 and will be complemented by innovations in the program’s delivery throughout the spring, summer and fall.
Provide a bursary for children and their families who live in poverty or underprivileged circumstances that create significant barriers to visiting national or provincial parks. (ML)
  • Canada’s national historic sites, national parks, and national marine conservation areas have been established for the benefit of all Canadians and the PCA is committed to ensuring that these places are accessible to everyone.  PCA admission fees are maintained at affordable levels and the Agency works collaboratively with a wide variety of community partners to facilitate transportation, access and enjoyment of these places from the cities and towns near Parks Canada destinations.  Also, PCA’s outreach and Learn-to Camp programming is delivered in collaboration with community partners, such as service organizations, with the goal of reaching individuals and families who might not otherwise have opportunities to visit and enjoy natural and cultural heritage places.  Combined, these programs reached an estimated 160,000 Canadians in 2019. In 2020, outreach programming was adapted to digital delivery and physically-distanced experiences.  These adaptations will continue in 2021, but with ongoing innovations applied throughout the spring, summer, and fall.  While the government has not implemented a specific bursary for low-income families to visit national and provincial parks, the PCA has adapted its programming to achieve similar objectives and reach this audience with opportunities to learn about and enjoy natural and cultural heritage places.
Advance Parks Canada’s efforts to play a leadership role in natural and cultural heritage conservation and promotion, and work to ensure that Canada’s national parks and national historic sites are a source of national pride and enjoyment today and for future generations. (ML)
  • Promoting Parks Canada places and programs helps to improve Canadians’ awareness of their nation’s greatest treasures and further helps to strengthen their connection to nature and understanding of the importance of science and conservation.  Visiting a Parks Canada place is one of the most effective ways of connecting Canadians to their culture and heritage and ensuring support for PCA’s mandate.  In 2019–20, the PCA met its visitation target to maintain or increase visitation to Parks Canada places, with 24.9 million visitors.
  • On September 25, 2020, the PCA signed an agreement with the Yellowknives Dene First Nation to confirm their role in a regional management body and provide funding for them to promote and protect their culture and heritage through the development of a tourism strategy related to the recently established Thaidene Nene National Park Reserve.
Work with the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard to introduce a new ambitious plan to conserve 25 per cent of Canada’s land and 25 per cent of Canada’s oceans by 2025, working toward 30 per cent of each by 2030. This plan should be grounded in science, Indigenous knowledge and local perspectives. Advocate at international gatherings that countries around the world set a 30 per cent conservation goal for 2030 as well. (ML)
  • In the development of the plan to conserve 25% of Canada’s land and oceans by 2025, consultations have been undertaken with provinces and territories, NIOs and Indigenous leaders, environmental non-governmental organization (ENGOs), industry sectors and conservation leaders.
  • Canada has joined the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People and the Global Ocean Alliance to advocate internationally for conserving 30% of the world’s lands and oceans by 2030 and the conservation of biodiversity for now and for future generations.
  • The PCA currently contributes 2.12% of Canada’s total of 13.81% protected marine and coastal areas and is a key partner working on the final protection for the High Arctic (Tuvaijuittuq Marine Protected Area). On the terrestrial side, the Agency contributes 3.4% of the total of 12.1% protected lands and freshwater areas.
  • The PCA is leading Canada’s input to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress motions process, including making interventions during the online debate on motions that support adoption of a 30% conservation goal.  As a lead partner in the IUCN One Nature One Future virtual Global Youth Summit (April 5-16, 2021), the Agency is creating a space for Canadian and international youth to share their ambitious visions for action on climate and conservation.
  • The Nature Legacy investment has supported and enhanced conservation actions that have led to concrete conservation gains in places administered by the PCA.  The Agency has strengthened national science capacity, has implemented on-the-ground conservation and restoration projects, and has initiated new work to support collaborative, integrated planning with partners aimed at improving conservation outcomes within parks and at the landscape scale.
  • As of 2020, ecological integrity has been maintained or improved in 86% of National Parks; a 4% improvement since 2019.
Continue to work to protect biodiversity and species at risk, while engaging with provinces, territories, Indigenous communities, scientists, industry and other stakeholders to evaluate the effectiveness of the existing Species at Risk Act and assess the need for modernization. (ML)
  • The GoC is committed to advancing new policy and program approaches, and using them as the basis for evaluating the effectiveness of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) and the need for its modernization.
  • The overarching goal is to continue to advance collaborative outcomes for protecting and recovering species at risk (SAR) through advancing the delivery of the Pan-Canadian Approach to SAR and building support for and implementing further improvements to the SAR program by engaging provinces, territories, NIOs, stakeholders and the general public.
  • This new strategic direction is supported by the Canada Nature Fund for terrestrial species at risk, which provides directed and application-based grants and contributions (Gs&Cs) currently targeting 11 federal/provincial/territorial priority places, 15 community-nominated priority places, six priority species, three priority sectors and threats, and a broad suite of Indigenous partnerships.  ECCC has issued tens of millions of dollars in grants Gs&Cs to support this work; changing the way we work together and support conservation.
  • Policy and program improvements to advance transformation are being explored, including seeking feedback from provincial and territorial partners.   
  • The PCA also contributes to advancing the Pan-Canadian Approach to SAR, which was approved by federal, provincial and territorial ministers, through national parks in or adjacent to six priority places, where the Agency has existing relationships and partnerships for conservation.
  • The PCA has been an early leader in implementing multi-species action plans.  The Agency has developed 22 multi-species action plans (one since December 2019) and is implementing on-the-ground conservation actions using multi-species, ecosystem-based, and threat-based approaches.  Since 2019, the PCA has also completed a single-species recovery strategy and action plan for the Sable Island Sweat Bee.  The Agency engages with Indigenous peoples, partners and stakeholders in this work.
Support the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard in implementing the Oceans Protection Plan. (ML)
  • The five-year Ocean Protection Plan announced in 2016 is sun-setting (after having been extended by a year) and the Environmental Protection Branch will coordinate ECCC's efforts for the renewal of the initiative, led by Transport Canada.


Implement our plan to ban harmful single-use plastic products and take steps toward eliminating plastic pollution in Canada. This includes working with provinces and territories to develop national targets, standards and regulations that will make companies that manufacture plastic products or sell items with plastic packaging responsible for collecting and recycling them. (ML)

Work is on-going to eliminate plastic pollution.

  • Canada’s Proposal to add Plastics Manufactured Items on Schedule 1 of CEPA was released for public consultation
  • Consultations have been undertaken with stakeholders and provinces and territories  on the Integrated Management Approach to Plastic Products: discussion document
  • Canada continues to administer grants and contributions to community-based projects that address plastic waste
  • Significant collaborative work is ongoing through the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, including in areas such as Extended Producer Responsibility. Progress continues despite the pandemic context, and new work has been added to look at plastic waste from some key pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Work with the Minister of Health to better protect people and the environment from toxins and other pollution, including by strengthening the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. (ML)

Work is on-going in support of this MLC, including:

  • *Redacted*
  • Drafting an initial set of amendments and preparing supportive explanatory and other materials;
  • Working with all affected programs to prepare for implementation.


With the support of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Minister of Natural Resources and the Special Representative for the Prairies, continue work to create a new Canada Water Agency to keep our water safe, clean and well-managed. (SL/ML)
  • Established interdepartmental committees to support the development of a Canada Water Agency (CWA).
  • Have undertaken extensive freshwater issue analysis and initial engagement of provinces and territories, NIOs, and key stakeholder organizations.
  • Issued a Freshwater Discussion Document, “Toward the Creation of a Canada Water Agency”, on December 17, 2020 to support consultations on potential roles for a CWA, which will continue through to March 1, 2021.
  • Have completed a National Freshwater Policy Forum on January 27 and 28, 2021, attended by over 900 participants, and are in the process of completing six Regional Freshwater Policy Forums (February 2 to 23,  2021) with total registration in the Regional Forums exceeding 1,000.
Develop further protections and take active steps to clean up the Great Lakes, Lake Winnipeg, Lake Simcoe and other large lakes. (ML)
  • Completed Phase 1 analysis of federal roles and responsibilities in relation to large lakes and other water bodies in Canada.
  • Completed draft Phase 2 diagnostiques for large lakes and other water bodies in Canada where there are significant federal roles and responsibilities.
  • Completed draft Phase 3 analysis of potential actions to advance freshwater protection in the Great Lakes, Lake Winnipeg and Lake Simcoe.

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