Canadian environment ministers chart progress of actions on climate change and air quality

News Release

November 3, 2017 – Vancouver, British Columbia

The Government of Canada is committed to working with provincial, territorial, and Indigenous partners to ensure clean air, clean water and clean soil for Canadians; to fight climate change; and to build a stronger, more sustainable economy.

Today, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, participated in a meeting of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment to discuss air quality and climate change. This annual gathering of federal, provincial, and territorial environment ministers was hosted by British Columbia’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, George Heyman, this year’s CCME chair.

The event was an opportunity for environment ministers to review the progress on their climate actions and to identify further areas of collaboration and partnership.

During today’s meeting, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment released a new State of the Air Report, an interactive web report informed by all provinces and territories on air quality and the efforts of governments to improve it. The report shows that Canada reduced its air emissions as the economy grew.

Air pollutants that cause smog and acid rain have decreased, helping save thousands of lives and reducing trips to the hospital.

Over the past few decades, federal, provincial, and territorial governments have worked together and have taken action to reduce air-pollutant emissions from sources such as vehicles, power plants, and residential wood burning. These actions have contributed to reductions of smog and acid rain.

The government’s environmental initiatives, such as phasing out coal-fired electricity by 2030, will further improve the country’s air quality and public health.

By world standards, Canada ranks high in terms of clean and healthy air. The actions we are taking today will lead to even better conditions in our towns and cities for generations to come.

The federal provincial and territorial governments agreed to tougher standards for nitrogen dioxide, which will result in further improvement in the quality of our air and improve the health of Canadians.

Prior to their meeting, Ministers held discussions with representatives of the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and the Métis National Council, sharing ideas and perspectives about opportunities and challenges as Canada moves to a stronger, more resilient, low-carbon economy.

At the end of the meeting, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment’s presidency transferred from Minister Heyman to Minister McKenna. She will hold this position for a year and will host and chair the next meeting in 2018.

Federal and provincial and territorial governments continue to take action against climate change: pricing carbon pollution; reducing emissions in each sector of the economy; adapting to climate change; and supporting clean technologies, innovation, and jobs.


“I’m proud of the progress we’ve made to improve our air quality and make our communities healthier. This work has saved thousands of lives of Canadians. By continuing to work together, we can do even more to ensure healthier communities. On climate change, I know that through collaboration—especially with our Indigenous partners—we will continue to see great achievements to grow a clean economy and ensure a more sustainable planet.

“As the incoming chair of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, I look forward to hosting my provincial and territorial counterparts in Ottawa next year. At our next meeting, we will continue to tackle the critical issues facing Canadians, including climate change, clean air, clean water and clean growth. We will also work collaboratively with Indigenous leaders on shared priorities such as climate action. Canadians understand that the environment and the economy go together and that we have the opportunity to grow a cleaner economy, create good jobs and ensure a more sustainable future for our kids and grandkids.”

– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Quick Facts

  • The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment is the primary minister-led intergovernmental forum for collective action on environmental issues of national and international concern.

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)

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Twitter page

Environment and Natural Resources in Canada’s Facebook page

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