Departmental Plan 2018 to 2019 report, Environment and Climate Change Canada, chapter 2

Plans at a glance

Taking action on clean growth and climate change

The Department remains committed to implementing the Pan-Canadian Framework (PCF) on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

Partnerships and evidence-based decision-making are key to the successful and ongoing implementation of the PCF: engaging all partners, including Indigenous peoples (see sidebar) and external experts on clean growth and climate change will remain a focus.

ECCC will work with all provinces and territories to put a price on carbon across the country, finance clean growth innovation and initiatives that reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and create jobs through the Low Carbon Economy Fund.

The Department will also establish the new Canadian Centre for Climate Services, which will provide a central access point for environmental data, information, tools and climate models to support a wide range of needs and users.

Canada will continue to drive action on climate change, oceans and clean energy. Canada will host the G7 Leaders’ Summit in June of 2018 and will advance the implementation of the Paris Agreement at the Conference of the Parties 24 (CoP 24) in December 2018 so that climate action can be assured for generations to come.

Canada will continue to strengthen international relationships and will ensure that bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements reflect Canada’s environmental priorities.

The Department will continue to advance regulatory initiatives aimed at reducing GHG emissions. The regulatory work to reduce short-lived climate pollutants such as black carbon, methane, ground-level ozone and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) continues also to be a priority. As such, ECCC will finalize regulations to limit GHG emissions from heavy-duty vehicles and continue administration of regulations to limit GHG emissions from light-duty vehicles, establish a clean fuel standard, and reduce methane from the oil and gas sector, oil and gas sector, as well as updating regulations to accelerate the phase out of traditional coal-fired electricity.

Preventing and managing pollution

ECCC will continue to protect Canadians and the environment from harmful substances through scientific assessments of substances and by developing and implementing control measures, such as regulations. In 2018–19, the Department will implement the regulations to ban asbestos in Canada, limit toxic emissions from refineries and petrochemical plants, and reduce contaminants in effluent from mining.

As one of the country’s great natural resources, Canada’s freshwater lakes and rivers serve economic and recreational needs, provide drinking water to millions of Canadians and support diverse wildlife species. The Department will collaborate with communities, provincial and Indigenous partners to improve water quality.

Engaging Indigenous peoples in clean growth and climate change

As part of the government’s commitment to renew its relationship with Indigenous peoples and in our steps on the journey of reconciliation, ECCC will engage Indigenous peoples in clean growth and climate change initiatives and decisions. ECCC will collaborate with First Nations (Assembly of First Nations), the Métis (Métis National Council) and the Inuit (Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami). These partners will bring their perspectives and knowledge to discussions and decisions and strengthen their involvement in issues that have unique and disproportionate impacts of climate change on Indigenous peoples, particularly those in coastal, northern and remote areas. 

Commitment to experimentation: Sentencing panel work

ECCC is continuing the work it began on the initiative to standardize sentencing recommendations with the view to increasing penalties. Appropriately significant penalties have a deterrence effect, reducing the amount of violations of federal environmental legislation, which in turn reduces the amount of damage caused to the environment. Fines imposed by the courts for violations of federal environmental legislation are directed to the Environmental Damages Fund, which provides funding for projects that benefit the environment.

Protecting Canada’s coastal communities and species is a federal priority. As such, the Department will contribute its scientific expertise and strengthen its capacity to respond to marine environmental emergencies. Moreover, ECCC will conduct inspections and administer programs such as Disposal at Sea, which contribute to the protection of whales and other species from ocean pollution.

ECCC will also continue to work to improve Canada’s air quality to further protect the health and environment of Canadians, including by continuing to collaborate with Health Canada and provincial, territorial and Indigenous partners to implement the Air Quality Management System.

Conserving nature

To protect biodiversity and critical habitat for species at risk, the Department will implement Canada’s Natural Legacy, which represents one of the largest investments in nature conservation in Canadian history. ECCC will collaborate with partners at home to make contributions towards Canada’s ambitious goal of conserving 17% of the country’s terrestrial areas and inland water, and 10 percent of coastal and marine areas, by 2020.

ECCC will also continue to protect migratory birds and species at risk through, for instance, the establishment of protected areas. In 2018 the department will continue to advance the designation of the Scott Islands marine National Wildlife Area as an important habitat for migratory birds.

In addition, ECCC will focus efforts on protecting the populations and habitats of a number of priority species, such as Caribou. In support of the protection of caribou habitat, Edéhzhíe National Wildlife Area will be designed and managed together with the Dehcho First Nations. Finally, work will begin on the Nature Fund with corporate, not-for-profit, provincial, territorial and other partners to make it possible to secure private land, support provincial and territorial species protection efforts, and help indigenous capacity to conserve land and species.

Under the proposed new system of impact assessment, ECCC will continue to provide expert advice and knowledge in support of impact assessments for subjects within its mandate. In addition, it will support the development of a new approach to cumulative effects, to help address broad issues associated with development.

Predicting weather and environmental conditions

As climate change contributes to more severe weather events, ECCC will place greater emphasis on collecting and communicating severe weather information. New radar and supercomputing will contribute to the Department’s increased ability to provide accurate and timely warnings of weather events, such as storms, tornados and flooding. Communities, economic sectors, and targeted users will continue to benefit from ECCC’s 24/7 weather and environmental information.

New investments, through Budget 2018, will enable ECCC to improve the weather and water services Canadians receive by strengthening the science underpinning these services and enhancing our ability to deliver earlier and more accurate information about environmental conditions and extremes such as severe weather and flooding. ECCC will improve the physical infrastructure as well as the technical and engineering capacity supporting the water quantity-monitoring program.  It will investigate innovative new technologies for water measurement and further develop ECCC’s capacity to produce water forecasts.

Commitment to experimentation: Implementation of user experience research and design for the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) Progress Report

ECCC will implement the results of a User Centred Design approach aimed at identifying, understanding and meeting the FSDS Progress Report user needs. The approach was based on an iterative design process and usability testing focused on observing real users completing real tasks related to the FSDS.

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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