The Government of Canada accelerates investments in clean electricity

News Release

November 21, 2016 - Ottawa, Ontario – Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Today, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced an important part of the vision for a clean-growth economy: the acceleration of the transition from traditional coal power to clean energy by 2030. Traditional coal-fired electricity does not use carbon capture and storage to trap carbon dioxide and store it.

The accelerating phase-out of coal power will significantly improve the air quality and the health of Canadians. These actions will reduce Canada's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than five megatonnes, in 2030. This reduction is the equivalent of taking 1.3 million cars off the road.

The Government of Canada will support this transition by using the Canada Infrastructure Bank to finance projects such as commercially viable clean energy and modern electricity systems between provinces and territories. Canada will attract global investments that grow the economy and create good middle-class jobs by providing investor certainty and a clear signal to the market that Canada is a leader in clean energy.

The regulatory actions announced today will put Canada on a path to move from 80 percent towards 90 percent non-emitting sources by 2030. Clean electricity will power cars, businesses, and homes across the country. By building a smart, integrated, clean-electricity system, we will deliver reliable and affordable power where it is needed.

The Government of Canada is committed to working closely with provinces and territories to attract the investments necessary to build a modern, integrated, clean-power system that results in local solutions for ratepayers, workers, and the environment. We will also work with provinces and territories to set performance standards for natural gas-fired electricity.

The Government of Canada will work with provinces and labour organizations to ensure workers affected by the accelerated phase-out of traditional coal power are involved in a successful transition to the low-carbon economy of the future.

By investing in clean energy now, Canadians will have better air to breathe, improved health, and a more sustainable and prosperous economy for our children and grandchildren.


"Taking traditional coal power out of our energy mix and replacing it with cleaner technologies will significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, improve the health of Canadians, and benefit generations for years to come. It sends a clear signal to the world that Canada is a great place to invest in clean energy."
– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

"Connecting provinces with a clean and modern electricity system is a nation-building effort that positions us to compete for significant global investments in our power sector and puts more Canadians to work."
– Dominic Barton, Chair of the Advisory Council on Economic Growth

"Clean power is healthy power. Phasing out coal-fired electricity will translate into cleaner, more breathable air for Canadians and lower rates of respiratory illness. Today's announcement is a significant step in our plan to build a healthier, more prosperous Canada."
– Jane Philpott, Minister of Health

"Well planned infrastructure generates economic growth, supports communities, and leaves a lasting legacy for Canadians. Our long-term infrastructure plan will ensure access to safe water, clean air, and greener communities where Canadians can watch their children play and grow."
– Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

Quick facts

  • Coal-fired electricity is responsible for close to three quarters of the GHG emissions from Canada's electricity sector and over 8 percent of Canada's total GHG emissions.
  • Accelerating the phase-out of traditional coal units that do not use carbon capture and storage will result in more than five megatonnes of reductions in GHG emissions, in 2030.
  • Coal units are among the largest sources of air pollution in the country, including sulphur dioxides, nitrogen oxides, and mercury pollutants, which cause significant health and environmental impacts.
  • Health studies completed by the Pembina Institute estimate that, in 2014, pollution from coal power resulted in more than 20,000 asthma episodes and hundreds of emergency room visits and hospitalizations, costing the healthcare system over $800 million annually.
  • Clean, non-emitting energy is one of the fastest growing energy sectors, with wind capacity increased 20 times and solar capacity increased 125 times, in the past decade, according to the National Energy Board. Canada has some of the most abundant and affordable sources of hydro, wind, and solar power.
  • This fall, the Government of Canada announced an additional $21.9 billion over 11 years for green infrastructure and the Canada Infrastructure Bank. Together, this investment could support the attraction of the capital investments necessary to transition Canada's electricity system towards 90 percent non-emitting by 2030.
  • Canada's commitment to invest in green infrastructure could also support remote Indigenous communities that are reliant on diesel generation, to increase the use of clean, non-emitting energy. More details on the green-infrastructure funding are forthcoming.
  • Provincial equivalency arrangements may also be established to support the transition from coal towards cleaner non-emitting sources of electricity.

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Caitlin Workman
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll free)

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