Raison d’être, mandate and role: who we are and what we do

Raison d’être

Environment and Climate Change Canada is the lead federal department for a wide range of environmental issues, including taking action on clean growth and climate change. The Department is also engaged in activities aimed at preventing and managing pollution, conserving nature, and predicting weather and environmental conditions. The Department addresses these issues through various actions including the implementation of the Pan-Canadian Framework on clean growth and climate change, engaging with our strategic partners including provinces, territories and Indigenous peoples, monitoring; science-based research, policy and regulatory development, and through the enforcement of environmental laws and regulations.

The Department’s program focus reflects the interdependence between environmental sustainability and economic well-being.

Mandate and role

The Department delivers its mandate through other acts and regulations, such as the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999), the pollution prevention provisions of the Fisheries Act, the Federal Sustainable Development Act, the Species at Risk Act, the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, the Canada Wildlife Act, the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act and the Antarctic Environmental Protection Act.

Under the Department of the Environment Act, the powers, duties and functions of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change extend to matters such as:

The Department works closely with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and Parks Canada—its ministerial portfolio partners—to achieve many common goals. In addition, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change has secondary or shared responsibility for delivering on other federal departments’ mandates, including the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act (Transport Canada, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, and Natural Resources Canada), the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act (Natural Resources Canada), and the Emergency Management Act (Public Safety Canada).

For more general information about the Department, see the “Supplementary information” section of this report. For more information on the Department’s organizational mandate letter commitments, see the Minister’s mandate letter on the Prime Minister of Canada’s website.

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