Plans at a glance

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 of environmental sustainability and economic well-being. ECCC works in partnership with provincial, territorial and municipal governments and Indigenous partners, communities and governments and aligns with the Government of Canada’s approach of openness, effectiveness and transparency in government.

Taking action on Clean Growth and Climate Change

In 2020 and beyond, the Department continues to lead a whole of government plan for climate change, focused on achieving a cleaner environment and a sustainable economy. This entails the implementation of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, while strengthening greenhouse gas reducing measures to meet and exceed Canada’s 2030 emissions reduction goal, and lead government-wide efforts to set Canada on a path to achieve a prosperous net-zero emissions future by 2050.

The Department will continue implementation of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, to set a price on carbon pollution that creates incentives for individuals, households and businesses to choose cleaner options, including green technology—with proceeds returned to the jurisdiction of origin.

The Department will also continue the implementation of the Climate Action Incentive Fund, the Low Carbon Economy Fund and the Climate Action Fund to encourage and facilitate action by industry and consumers to take action to reduce emissions and shift to cleaner technologies and practices.

The Department will lay the ground work for more ambitious climate actions by setting legally binding, five-year emissions-reduction milestones—based on the advice of experts and consultations with Canadians—and will also work with Innovation, Science and Industry Canada, Transport Canada and Natural Resources Canada to advance zero-emission vehicles targets of 10 per cent of light-duty vehicle sales per year by 2025, 30% by 2030, and 100% by 2040. It will also entail working with Innovation, Science and Industry Canada and Natural Resources Canada to position Canada as a global leader in clean technology.

This will be complemented by actions including a clean fuel standard and regulations, continued implementation of regulations to reduce methane emissions and certain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) from the oil and gas sector, amendments to coal-fired and natural gas-fired electricity generation regulations, and other regulatory measures to reduce emissions.   

Preventing and Managing Pollution

In 2020, ECCC will support its Minister in working with the Minister of Health to better protect people and the environment from toxic substances and other pollution, including working towards strengthening the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.

Following through on the Government of Canada’s leadership with The Ocean Plastics Charter—launched under Canada’s 2018 G7 Presidency—the Department will implement the plan to ban harmful single-use plastics, and take steps toward eliminating plastic pollution in Canada, as a cornerstone of its Zero Plastic Waste Initiative. ECCC will work 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.

The Department will also continue to protect the environment and Canadians from harmful substances by delivering Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan with Health Canada. Reducing harmful emissions will continue to be a priority for ECCC in 2020 and beyond, and the Department will continue working with provinces and territories to implement the Air Quality Management System and to pursue measures that improve air quality.

ECCC will develop further protections and take steps to clean up the Great Lakes, Lake Winnipeg and other large lakes and the St. Lawrence River watershed, and will work with Transport Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada to implement the Oceans Protection Plan. In collaboration with the Government of Alberta, the Department will monitor oil sands to ensure they are developed in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.

Conserving Nature

Building on the momentum of its recent nature conservation efforts under the $1.3 billion Canada’s Nature Legacy initiative, ECCC will work with the Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Parks Canada Agency to introduce an ambitious new plan to conserve 25% of Canada’s land and 25% of Canada’s oceans by 2025, and work toward 30% of each by 2030. The plan will be grounded in science, Indigenous knowledge and local perspectives, and will be complemented by ECCC’s advocacy at international gatherings that countries around the world also set a 30% conservation goal for 2030.

The Department will promote and support actions to protect and conserve areas of high ecological and biodiversity value, including National Wildlife Areas, Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas, provincial, territorial and municipal parks, and conservation actions by non-government organizations and foundations. ECCC will also continue to implement the Pan-Canadian Approach to Transforming Species at Risk Conservation in Canada, with a focus on multi-species and ecosystem-based approaches, and more targeted planning and action on priority places, species and sectors. Partnerships with Indigenous peoples will feature prominently in this work.

The Department will 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.

Predicting Weather and Environmental Conditions

ECCC will continue to implement its leading-edge approach to weather data management, analysis and innovative information techniques to provide Canadians with accurate and timely information to make health, safety and business decisions. The Canadian Weather Radar Replacement Program will see seven new radars replace outdated technology, as the primary tools used by meteorologists to forecast short-term severe weather events associated with thunderstorms, tornadoes, ice storms and blizzards. ECCC’s National Hydrologic Service will modernize and strengthen its engineering and technical capacity, modernize its water stations and infrastructure, and put in place new technologies to gather and analyze water data.

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

Core responsibilities

  1. Taking action on Clean Growth and Climate Change
  2. Preventing and Managing Pollution
  3. Conserving Nature
  4. Predicting Weather and Environmental Conditions
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