2019-2020 Departmental plan - plans at a glance


This information from the Minister’s transition binder was current as of November 2019. We don’t update this page as it is part of the historical record.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is the lead federal department for strategic action on a wide range of environmental matters, including action on clean growth and climate change, preventing and managing pollution, conserving nature, and predicting weather and environmental conditions. The Department’s program focus reflects the interdependence between environmental sustainability and economic well-being.

Operating context

Protecting and conserving the environment requires ECCC’s commitment and action, as well as that of federal government partners, provinces and territories, Indigenous peoples, business and industry, and individual Canadians. International partners are also vital to addressing Canadian and global environmental challenges. Effective engagement with partners and stakeholders helps ECCC to advance innovative and effective policies, regulations and services, facilitates a coordinated approach to achieve results that represent the interests of all partners, and allows ECCC to be more responsive to evolving environmental challenges and circumstances, such as is often observed when addressing global climate change and protecting species at risk.

ECCC will remain focused on commitments set out in the Prime Minister’s mandate letter to Minister McKenna, many of which are outlined in the priorities and related actions described below.

In pursuit of its commitments, the Department will continue to experiment to reflect the federal culture of measurement, evaluation and innovation in delivering its mandate, and will integrate Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) principles into its analysis to ensure that the Department is better positioned to serve Canadians equitably.

Taking action on clean growth and climate change

Addressing climate change is one of the Government of Canada’s top priorities. The impacts of climate change are being felt across the country, from floods, droughts, forest fires, and heat waves to a thawing Arctic. The costs associated with disaster response and recovery are also increasing. Between 1983 and 2008, insurance claims from extreme weather averaged $400 million a year. Between 2009 and 2017, those costs quadrupled to an average of $1.8 billion a year.

In 2016, the Government of Canada worked with provinces and territories, and engaged with Indigenous peoples and Canadians to develop the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, Canada’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. This plan contains over 50 concrete measures to drive down emissions, build resilience to a changing climate, and create a clean economy. Governments have made tremendous progress in realizing this plan, but more needs to be done to ensure Canada remains on a path to meet its Paris Agreement target. As such, the implementation of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change will continue to be a key priority for the Department.

In 2019–20, ECCC will:

Continue to champion and demonstrate global leadership on climate action by encouraging the implementation of the Paris “rulebook” to guide pledges, action and accountability of all signatories to the Paris Agreement. ECCC will also continue to help to deliver on Canada’s pledge of $2.65 billion by 2020-21 to help developing countries transition to low-carbon, climate-resilient economies through investments in clean technology, climate-smart agriculture, and other initiatives

Preventing and managing pollution

Building on the progressive work undertaken with provinces and territories under Canada’s Air Quality Management System, ECCC will continue to reduce emissions from a range of sources and protect Canadians from harmful pollutants by developing more stringent ambient standards for air quality.

To contribute to global commitments and efforts to reduce marine litter, including plastic waste, ECCC will work with provinces, territories, and other partners to achieve targets under the Ocean Plastics Charter, including those under the Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste to achieve 100% reusable, recyclable or recoverable plastics by 2030, and to increase the recycled content of plastic products by at least 50% by 2030. The Government of Canada will also invest $100 million to prevent plastic waste from entering the oceans, address plastic waste on shorelines, and better manage existing plastic resources in developing countries including $65 million through the World Bank for an international fund to address plastic waste in developing countries, $6 million to strengthen public-private partnerships to support global action in plastic pollution hot spots, and $20 million in support for the G7 Innovation Challenge to Address Marine Plastic Litter. Canada is also taking direct actions at home through the Canadian Plastic Innovation challenge, which will provide funding of up to $12.85 million to Canadian innovators and businesses to develop innovation technologies to reduce plastic waste.

ECCC will continue its work with Canadian and U.S. partners to protect and improve Canada’s freshwater resources, including the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River and Lake Winnipeg watersheds, through its science-based research and monitoring, and by investing in actions that reduce nutrient pollution in these waters that support tens of millions of Canadians.

The Department will apply its scientific expertise and advice to Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan, including support for a state-of-the-art safety system to preserve and restore Canada’s marine ecosystems. For example, the Department’s data and modelling contributions will support environmental sensitivity assessments to help protect marine birds on British Columbia’s north coast.

Conserving nature

ECCC will continue to collaborate with partners to conserve 17% of Canada’s lands and inland waters (10.55% as of December 2018), and 10% of coastal and marine areas (7.9% as of December 2018) by 2020. With significant federal funding ($1.35 billion between 2018-19 and 2022-23) to support its efforts, the Department will continue to:

ECCC will transform the way species at risk are conserved through a new ecosystem-based, multispecies approach. The Department will partner with and support provinces and territories in their leadership role to recover and protect species at risk on their lands, and will also partner with Indigenous peoples to establish plans to recover and protect Canada’s Boreal and Southern Mountain Caribou herds.

Under the proposed Impact Assessment Act, ECCC will continue to provide scientific expertise and advice related to climate change, air quality, water quality, environmental preparedness and emergencies, and biodiversity. This will include: developing guidance for project proponents on standard methodologies to address common issues such as species at risk, migratory birds and wetlands issues; contributing advice on strengthening a federal offsets framework that encompasses biodiversity and developing datasets and science products to inform decisions on the assessment of impacts.  

Predicting weather and environmental conditions

ECCC will continue to bring leading-edge technology and science together to provide timely and accurate forecasts on which Canadians, businesses, communities and others rely to make health and safety decisions. The Department will upgrade its vital infrastructure, including 12 radars in 2019 -20, to contribute to more reliable weather information for businesses, communities and individuals.

Canadians will continue to have access to the WeatherCAN application and use ECCC’s forecasts to plan ahead. The application provides current conditions and push notifications for weather alerts issued by the department for locations anywhere in Canada. It also provides quick access to ECCC's dynamic radar image.

For more information on Environment and Climate Change Canada’s plans, priorities and the planned results, see the “Planned Results” section of this report.

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