Canada celebrates 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol

News Release

September 15, 2017 – Montréal, Quebec – Environment and Climate Change Canada

The 150th anniversary of Confederation is a reminder of our country’s long history of global leadership in taking action to confront major global problems that threaten our health, the environment, and the economy.

Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, and her counterparts from the European Union and the United Nations celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol, a historic international agreement that has eliminated over 99 percent of ozone-depleting substances.

Through the cooperation of countries around the world, the ozone layer is now recovering. Scientists estimate that the ozone layer is set to recover by the middle of the century. Every year since 1987, the Montreal Protocol has prevented millions of cases of skin cancer and eye cataracts globally.

The Montreal Protocol is an example of successful global cooperation and Canada-U.S. leadership. This cooperation remains strong as both countries worked together during last year's negotiations to phase down climate-warming hydrofluorocarbons, under the Montreal Protocol.

Through the reduction of hydrofluorocarbons under the Montreal Protocol, the Earth can avoid warming by up to half a degree Celsius by the end of the century while we continue to protect the ozone layer.

Canada is urging countries to ratify the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol as soon as possible to start implementing it and maximize its climate benefits. The amendment is an important step towards achieving the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming below two degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

Discussions on the next steps in putting the Kigali Amendment into action will take place later this year, during the Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol. Canada will host the meeting in Montréal, where hundreds of delegates and world environmental leaders will gather from November 20 to 24.

The Government of Canada will continue taking a leadership role in protecting the ozone layer, tackling climate change, and helping our country and the world grow a cleaner global economy.


“Canada played a key role in helping the international community achieve the Montreal Protocol, in 1987. The Montreal Protocol remains to this day one of the most successful examples of the world working together to address global environmental challenges. Like the Paris Agreement, it shows the amazing things we can accomplish when countries work together on a common goal. Our government is building on that leadership because we recognize that protecting the environment, addressing climate change, and supporting economic growth go hand in hand.”

– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Quick Facts

  • The Earth’s ozone layer acts like a shield, absorbing UV radiation from the Sun and providing us with protection from these harmful effects.

  • Before the Montreal Protocol, ozone-depleting chemicals were commonly used in refrigerators, insulation foams, spray cans, and air conditioners, in Canada.

  • Hydrofluorocarbons are a family of chemicals widely used as coolants in refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment. They are powerful greenhouse gases with global-warming potential hundreds to thousands of times greater than that of carbon dioxide, and hydrofluorocarbons are the fastest-growing greenhouse gases in most of the world.

  • While hydrofluorocarbons currently account for 1 to 2 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, if left uncontrolled, they could account for as much as 10 percent of such emissions by 2050.

  • Reducing the use of hydrofluorocarbons will reduce the harmful effects of climate change, such as intense rainfall that can contaminate water supplies; severe weather events, such as thunderstorms and floods that can cause injury; economic hardship; and mental distress on Canadians, no matter where they live.

  • The Montreal Protocol is signed by 197 countries, making it the first treaty in the history of the United Nations to achieve universal ratification.

  • Since 1987, the Montreal Protocol has

    - Prevented up to two million cases of skin cancer and eye cataracts globally
    - Cut the equivalent of over 135 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, approximately the same amount Canada would produce in 175 years (Some ozone-depleting substances are also powerful greenhouse gases.)
    - Almost phased out ozone-depleting chemicals in Canada

  • By reducing hydrofluorocarbons, under the Montreal Protocol, the Earth can avoid warming by up to half a degree Celsius by the end of the century while we continue to protect the ozone layer.

  • Phasing down hydrofluorocarbons is a key part of Canada’s commitments under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

Associated Links


Marie-Pascale Des Rosiers
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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