Government of Canada delivers on commitment to appoint an independent net-zero advisory body

News release

Net-Zero Advisory Body Co-Chairs. Photos of Marie-Pierre Ippersiel and Dan Wicklum
Net-Zero Advisory Body Co-Chairs, Marie-Pierre Ippersiel and Dan Wicklum

February 25, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario

Canadians expect us to take action to address climate change and grow a cleaner, more competitive economy. As we increasingly move to a low-carbon world, achieving net-zero emissions in Canada by 2050 will help us do exactly that.

Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, launched the Net-Zero Advisory Body, an independent group of 14 experts from across the country, who will provide the Government of Canada with advice on the best pathways to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. The Advisory Body is a key part of the proposed Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act tabled in the House of Commons last fall, which would enshrine Canada’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 into law.

The Advisory Body is comprised of 14 individuals with a diverse range of experience and expertise in business, policymaking, science and other areas, who will consult with Canadians and advise the Government of Canada . The group’s initial work will include a focus on identifying actions that set a strong foundation for achieving net-zero emissions while also growing the economy and enabling a strong and resilient economic recovery following the pandemic.

Reaching net-zero emissions will require support from all parts of society and there is no one way to achieve this goal. That’s why the Advisory Body will follow a transparent and inclusive process to engage with and hear from provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous Peoples, youth, businesses, environmental groups, and interested Canadians. 

The Advisory Body will be a permanent resource. Its ongoing role will be to ensure its advice remains aligned with and adapts to the best available analysis, research, technological changes, scientific developments, and public perspectives. The Advisory Body’s independent public reports and recommendations will inform the development of the emission-reduction milestone plans required by the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act.

The Net-Zero Advisory Body will be co-chaired by Dan Wicklum and Marie-Pierre Ippersiel. Learn more about the Advisory Body’s mandate and membership on Environment and Climate Change Canada’s website.

Supported by the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, the work of the Advisory Body will further demonstrate how serious Canada is about addressing the climate crisis and meeting the economic demands of global markets, now and into the future. The transition to a cleaner, prosperous economy needs to be both an immediate priority and a sustained effort over the years and decades ahead. So while we have a plan to exceed our current 2030 goal, the only way to meet the long-term goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 is for Canada to keep innovating, strengthening, building on existing measures, and enhance our ambition in the years and decades to come with Canadians.  


“Canadians expect us to take urgent action to address climate change to protect the planet and grow a cleaner and more prosperous economy. By providing expert advice on how we can meet Canada’s goal of getting to net-zero emissions by 2050, the Net-Zero Advisory Body will help ensure we can continue to meet the environmental goals and economic ambitions of Canadians at the same time.”
– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“Identifying compelling, practical, and credible transition pathways to a net-zero-emissions society is not only required to combat climate change but is also vital to strengthening Canada’s economic competitiveness in a very quickly changing world. I am honoured to co chair the Net-Zero Advisory Body and look forward to engaging with Canadians across the country to be able to provide the best advice possible on how Canada can attain net-zero emissions.”
– Dan Wicklum, President and CEO of The Transition Accelerator and Co-Chair of the Net-Zero Advisory Body

“Canada’s transition to net-zero emissions requires that all Canadians work together. The Net Zero Advisory Body will provide advice to the Minister, which will help in reaching this ambitious goal. I am honoured to co-chair the Advisory Body, and, together, we will encourage new partnerships and innovation. By working together, we—individuals, organizations, businesses, and Indigenous Peoples—will carve a pathway to a net-zero future.”
– Marie-Pierre Ippersiel, President and CEO of PRIMA Quebec and Co-Chair of the Net-Zero Advisory Body

“As Canada takes steps on the path towards net-zero emissions by 2050, the electric utility sector will play an essential role. To get to net-zero, we will need clean energy solutions that make our economy stronger and our communities healthier."
– John Wright, Former President Saskpower and Member of Canada’s Net-Zero Advisory Body

“Workers are an integral part of Canada meeting its climate objectives. My experience will strengthen the collaborative work of the Net-Zero Advisory Body.”
– Hassan Yussuf, President, Canadian Labour Congress and Member of Canada’s Net-Zero Advisory Body

“Science tells us that choices we make over the next few decades will determine the future of our climate. I am honoured to join this diverse group of Canadians in advising the government on how to make the transition to a net-zero world.”
– Simon Donner, Professor, University of British Columbia and Member of Canada’s Net-Zero Advisory Body

“Change is underway and we have a once-in-a-generation chance to actively plan and build the equitable, climate-safe economy we know we need - our communities' health and prosperity, and our collective future, depend on it. Getting to zero is going to take a lot of big ideas, local solutions, and elbow grease; I look forward to working with fellow advisors and the Minister on this important piece of the larger effort.”
– Catherine Abreu, Executive Director, Climate Action Network and Member of Canada’s Net Zero Advisory Body

“With the world’s energy mix and the factors that determine market competitiveness quickly changing, the transition to a net-zero energy future presents Canada with powerful opportunities to diversify our economy, create jobs, attract capital and address inequities laid bare by the pandemic. This new Advisory Body will hopefully help Canadians make the most of these opportunities.”
– Linda Coady, Executive Director, Pembina Institute, and Member of Canada’s Net-Zero Advisory Body

“To reach net-zero goals, we aim to exercise strong climate leadership. We believe that our collective effort will actively contribute to the transition to a more sustainable economy.”
– Kim Thomassin, Executive Vice-President and Head of Investments in Québec, and Stewardship Investing, CDPQ, and Member of Canada’s Net-Zero Advisory Body

“Achieving Net-Zero by 2050, while respecting Canada’s varied social, economic and political circumstances, will be a major, generational undertaking. As part of this diverse team, I am delighted to contribute to finding solutions to the challenges ahead.”
– Peter Tertzakian Deputy Director, ARC Energy Research Institute and Member of Canada’s Net-Zero Advisory Body

“First Nations continue to show their leadership in climate action and stewardship. As rights holders, First Nations are driving innovative solutions and are breaking ground to design a truly just and equal future. I am deeply honored to join a remarkable group of leaders and experts as a member of Canada’s Net-Zero Advisory Body and I look forward to sharing perspectives and insights as we work together to reach our shared goals.”
– Regional Chief Kluane Adamek, Assembly of First Nations Yukon Region and Member of Canada’s Net-Zero Advisory Body

“Canadian innovators have the solutions to get our country to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. What they need is for government and business leaders to work in partnership to help scale their solutions by ensuring widespread commercial adoption. By collaborating on this project, all Canadians will enjoy a cleaner future and a stronger economy.”
– Yung Wu, CEO, MaRS Discovery District, and Member of Canada’s Net-Zero Advisory Body

“A vision of net-zero emissions by 2050 is achievable by relying on human creativity, which can exceed expectations in the face of challenges, and thanks to the advancement of clean technologies that are increasingly competitive.”
– Gaëtan Thomas, CEO, Conseil Économique du Nouveau-Brunswick and Member of Canada’s Net-Zero Advisory Body

“Achieving net-zero will include setting targets to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions while promoting energy-efficient technology from coast-to-coast-to-coast and more. As a beneficiary of the Labrador Inuit Land Claim and member of the advisory body, I look forward to building collaborative partnerships and exploring innovative ways Indigenous communities can lead on climate action that are specific to their needs. We can take climate initiatives together and transition so the next generation can live in a net-zero country.”
– Theresa Baikie, Impact and Benefit Agreement Coordinator - Nunatsiavut Government. Member of Canada’s Net-Zero Advisory Body

“I look forward to playing an active role on the Net-Zero Advisory Body. Quebec's ecosystem in electric and intelligent transportation, our resources and expertise related to the development of the battery value chain, the electrification of transportation and intelligent mobility solutions are all undeniable assets that will help consolidate Canadian collaboration to achieve our GHG reduction objectives.”
– Sarah Houde, CEO, Propulsion Québec and Member of Canada’s Net-Zero Advisory Body

Quick facts

  • Canada is one of over 120 countries committed to net-zero emissions by 2050. Most recently, the United States—our closest ally and largest trading partner—committed to net zero by 2050 too. The United Kingdom, Germany, New Zealand, France and others have already introduced their own net-zero advisory bodies and Canada joins their ranks with today’s announcement.

  • Achieving net-zero emissions means either emitting no greenhouse gas emissions at all or offsetting them completely through actions that remove climate-warming gases from the atmosphere. Reducing Canada’s emissions to the lowest extent possible in the decades ahead will allow us to reach net-zero by 2050.

  • Canada recently announced its strengthened climate plan, A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy, which will ensure that Canada exceeds its 2030 Paris Agreement target.

  • In November 2020, the Government introduced the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act. The proposed Act will legally bind the Government to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 by requiring that emission-reduction targets be set for the milestone years 2030, 2035, 2040, and 2045 and that emission-reduction plans be developed for each target date.

  • The Act will require the Minister of Finance, in cooperation with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, publish an annual report outlining key measures that federal departments and crown corporations have taken to manage the financial risks and opportunities related to climate change. This means that every department and all federal crown corporations will include climate risks and opportunities in their planning going forward.

  • A recent report by the independent Canadian Institute for Climate Choices analyzed 62 possible pathways to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and found that, in all scenarios, Canadians will spend a smaller portion of their income on energy costs, including home heating and transportation, in 2050.

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Moira Kelly
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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