Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change first annual report: complementary actions to reduce emissions

Under the Pan-Canadian Framework, federal, provincial, and territorial governments committed to continue taking meaningful action to reduce GHG emissions across all regions and sectors of the economy. The Pan-Canadian Framework approach complements carbon pricing by expanding and linking clean electricity systems across the country, improving the energy efficiency of vehicles, buildings, and industries, putting more zero-emission vehicles on the road, using cleaner fuels to power the economy, and reducing emissions and increasing carbon storage in the agriculture, forestry, and waste sectors. These actions will help cut emissions and will also drive clean growth by spurring development of new clean technologies and creating jobs in many sectors.

In the first year of implementation, significant progress was made to advance measures across all sectors. Funding has been announced and mobilized, and programs have been launched. Regulations are being designed, drafted, and consulted on. New programs are being established. Many of these processes can take years to complete, but due to focused action and collaboration, work is progressing on accelerated timelines.

Collaboration across jurisdictions has been very strong, with governments working together to coordinate actions to ensure long-term success. Responsibility for reporting on progress is shared across a number of federal-provincial-territorial Ministerial tables. Environment Ministers are overseeing progress on a number of key regulatory measures, including for methane, coal, and natural gas. Transportation Ministers have been overseeing work on important measures to help transition Canada’s transportation system towards a low-carbon future, in collaboration with Energy and Innovation Ministers. Forest Ministers and Ministers of Agriculture have been overseeing mitigation actions for the forestry and agriculture sectors.

Energy Ministers recognize that a low-carbon economy and investments in innovation and technology to reduce GHG emissions will help advance Canada’s efforts to create the best path to well-paying, long-term jobs, healthy communities and clean growth, ensuring Canadian businesses remain‎ competitive in the global markets. Given that energy production and use accounts for over 80% of Canada’s GHG emissions, Energy Ministers have a critical role to play in helping reduce GHG emissions; as such, they are leading on almost half of the collaborative actions in the Pan-Canadian Framework, including on electricity, energy efficiency, and aspects of clean technology and innovation. Many of these actions build on individual and collective work by federal, provincial and territorial governments through the Canadian Energy Strategy (CES), including supporting energy conservation and increasing the use of clean energy.

The Canadian Energy Strategy (CES) set the stage for a collaborative approach between federal, provincial and territorial governments toward sustainable energy development. Energy ministers have been tasked to collaborate on specific actions under the CES that contribute to the Pan-Canadian Framework, in the areas of energy efficiency, energy infrastructure, and energy technology and innovation.

A number of jurisdictions are making investments to support action in a number of areas such as renewable energy and energy efficiency. The federal government announced billions of dollars in funding to support new investments in electricity infrastructure, transportation systems, energy efficient buildings, and forestry and agricultural projects. Discussions between federal, provincial, and territorial officials on the details of new supporting investments are well underway.

3.1 Electricity

Non-emitting electricity systems are the foundation of a clean economy. They can support emissions reductions across other sectors like transportation, industry, and buildings. Canada already has one of the cleanest electricity systems in the world, with over 80% of production from non-emitting sources, and is aiming to increase that to 90% by 2030. Across the country, governments are striving to expand capacity, reduce emissions, and drive clean growth across the economy.

Federal, provincial, and territorial governments committed to work together to move away from traditional coal-fired power generation and toward renewable and non-emitting sources of energy through a combination of regulations on coal and natural gas, and investments in clean energy and supporting infrastructure. Governments also committed to help reduce reliance on diesel in partnership with Indigenous Peoples and northern and remote communities.

Good progress was made in 2017 and implementation is on track. All jurisdictions took important steps in 2017 to increase the use of clean electricity, including regulatory amendments, new action plans, policies and programs, and significant new investments and construction of renewable capacity.

To accelerate the phase-out of traditional coal units across Canada by 2030, the federal government will publish amendments to the coal-fired electricity regulations by early 2018. Alberta is also working to phase out its use of coal-fired power and has negotiated agreements with coal generators to phase out coal by 2030. Draft federal regulations for natural gas-fired power will also be published by early 2018, with final regulations planned for later in the year. On November 16, 2017, the governments of Canada and the UK launched Powering Past Coal, a global alliance for coal phase-out, at the United Nations Climate Change Conference. The federal government has also allocated $100 million to fund next-generation smart grid storage and clean electricity technology projects that help electric systems make better use of renewable energy, facilitate the integration of energy storage for renewables and help expand renewable power capacity.

Newfoundland and Labrador continued work towards the completion of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project. When completed, 98% of Newfoundland and Labrador’s electricity will come from renewable sources, with surpluses exported to Nova Scotia and beyond. The Holyrood Thermal Diesel Generating station, which emits over one million tonnes of GHG emissions per year, will be decommissioned.

The Regional Electricity Cooperation and Strategic Infrastructure Initiative (RECSI) has made important strides bringing provincial and federal governments and utilities together to identify the most promising electricity infrastructure projects. Provinces and territories are also advancing renewable electricity regulations, policies, and programs to increase energy generation capacity from renewable and non-emitting energy sources. For example, Québec announced an action plan for its 2030 Energy Policy with a commitment to increase renewable energy generation capacity by 25%.

Saskatchewan is working towards achieving a target of 50% of total generation capacity from renewable energy sources by 2030; the province recently launched a utility-scale solar electricity generation procurement project.

Prince Edward Island is one of the global leaders in the development of wind energy. Wind energy meets 24% of PEI’s electricity needs with plans for future expansion in 2020 and 2030.

The Northwest Territories has installed 55 kilowatts of solar with an efficient variable-speed generator in the community of Aklavik, is doing design work for megawatt scale wind in Inuvik, and is testing small-scale biomass combined heat and power in Fort Simpson to reduce diesel use in these remote off-grid and Indigenous communities.

Many jurisdictions committed new funds to help reduce reliance on diesel, working with Indigenous Peoples and northern and remote communities. For example, Yukon is working to implement the Independent Power Production policy by early 2018 to support the participation of independent power products and the development of environmentally sound and affordable electricity.

Alberta proclaimed the Renewable Electricity Act and launched the Renewable Electricity program to support the development of 5,000 megawatts of renewable electricity capacity by 2030. The province also announced $35 million to fund Indigenous climate leadership initiatives, including renewable and solar energy projects in First Nation and Metis communities.

The federal government has also allocated $220 million to fund projects that reduce reliance of rural and remote communities on diesel fuel, support the use of more sustainable, renewable energy solutions and encourage the adoption of energy efficiency measures. Provinces and territories also worked together through the Pan-Canadian Task Force on Reducing Diesel in Remote Communities to develop a common vision for remote energy use. Announced in August 2017, the governments of Canada and Ontario are collaborating with Wataynikaneyap Power to connect Pikangikum First Nation to Ontario's power grid. A 117-kilometre power line from Red Lake to Pikangikum will provide clean, safe, and reliable power and eliminate the community's dependence on diesel fuel. Wataynikaneyap Power is a licensed transmission company equally owned by 22 First Nation communities, working in partnership with Fortis Ontario Inc.

Announced in August 2017, the governments of Canada and Ontario are collaborating with Wataynikaneyap Power to connect Pikangikum First Nation to Ontario's power grid. A 117-kilometre power line from Red Lake to Pikangikum will provide clean, safe, and reliable power and eliminate the community's dependence on diesel fuel. Wataynikaneyap Power is a licensed transmission company equally owned by 22 First Nation communities, working in partnership with Fortis Ontario Inc.

3.2 Built environment

Canadians spend much of their lives in buildings that require energy for heating, cooling, lighting, and other services. Designing and retrofitting buildings to use energy more efficiently and using more energy efficient appliances and equipment can cut emissions, improve comfort, increase resilience, and help save money on utility bills.

Under the Pan-Canadian Framework, federal, provincial, and territorial governments committed to improve efficiency by updating building codes, labelling building energy use, investing in retrofits, and setting new standards for appliances and equipment. Supporting the building industry to increase capacity on energy efficient standards and building practices can help facilitate many of the changes needed in the building sector. Governments also committed to collaborate with Indigenous Peoples as they move to more efficient building standards.

Good progress was made in 2017, and implementation is on track. Federal, provincial, and territorial Ministers of Energy are collaborating on improving energy efficiency in buildings through the Canadian Energy Strategy. Energy Ministers released Canada’s Buildings Strategy, which includes an implementation plan for the Pan-Canadian Framework actions on the built environment.

British Columbia has a new 2017 Energy Step Code that enables communities that opt in to gradually progress to net-zero energy ready buildings, with substantial opportunities to reduce emissions.

In addition, key funding envelopes have been announced and details are being developed, including the Low Carbon Economy Fund. Launched by the Government of Canada on June 15, 2017, the Fund is comprised of two parts: the Leadership Fund and the Challenge Fund. The Leadership Fund will support provincial and territorial actions to reduce GHG emissions and spur clean growth across several sectors, including through energy efficiency projects for buildings. The Challenge Fund will support innovative initiatives proposed by a wider range of stakeholders.

The Green Ontario Fund was launched in August 2017 to support the deployment of commercially available technology to reduce GHG emissions from buildings or from the production of goods. As part of Ontario's Climate Change Action Plan, it is funded by proceeds from the province's cap on pollution and carbon market. This year, the province is investing $377 million in the Green Ontario Fund, with further investments planned for the next four years. The agency’s first program, GreenON Installations, offers single-family homeowners, at no cost, the installation of a smart thermostat and advice on energy cost savings.

Efficiency requirements for new buildings are also being implemented, and retrofits are being supported through financial assistance programs, new energy benchmarking practices, and infrastructure investments. Manitoba created a new agency to promote energy conservation and efficiency. Newfoundland and Labrador continues to require that new buildings and large renovations receiving any level of provincial funding be built sustainably. Other key actions include new federal standards for heating equipment, a federal-provincial-territorial strategy for making equipment more energy efficient, and new efficiency standards for products. In order to support sustainable housing in Indigenous communities, the Government of Canada is initiating a research project through the National Research Council to define guidelines to support sustainable housing in First Nations communities.

3.3 Transportation

The transportation sector is a major source of emissions in Canada. It accounted for nearly 24% of emissions in 2015. There are many opportunities to improve and support transport system efficiency, switch to alternative fuels, and take advantage of new vehicle technologies to achieve emissions reductions from this sector.

Federal, provincial, and territorial governments committed to modernize transportation systems through new emissions standards for vehicles, a plan for establishing retrofit requirements for heavy-duty vehicles, and a strategy to put more zero-emission vehicles on the road. Governments also committed to enhance investments in lower-emitting modes of transportation, including public transit, electric vehicle charging, and alternative fuel infrastructure. In collaboration with provinces and territories, industry, and other stakeholders, the federal government also took steps to develop a clean fuel standard, including publication of a discussion paper in February 2017 and the forthcoming release of a regulatory framework. The goal of the clean fuel standard is to cut emissions from fuels used in transportation, buildings, and industry.

Alberta is supporting public transit through a number of programs and initiatives, including a commitment of $1.53 billion to the Calgary Green Line LRT and an additional $176 million for a total of $600 million to support the Southeast Valley Line LRT in Edmonton.

Implementation is on track to reduce emissions and make the transportation sector more efficient. Federal, provincial, and territorial governments are working together and have engaged with expert working groups to provide advice on the development of a Canada-wide strategy for zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), to be finalized in 2018. This strategy will complement and build on ongoing actions across jurisdictions, including British Columbia’s Clean Energy Vehicle Program, Prince Edward Island’s electric vehicle (EV) education campaign, Ontario’s Electric Vehicle Incentive Program, and New Brunswick’s installation of 10 DC Fast Chargers and 21 Level 2 EV chargers. A ZEV technology cluster has also been initiated under the Canadian Energy Strategy to accelerate growth in emerging vehicle technologies.

Québec is working to increase the number of zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2020. Proposed regulations to implement its ZEV standard, coupled with subsidies, underwent consultation in the summer of 2017.

In addition, the federal government published draft regulations to implement emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles, and many jurisdictions are developing plans to reduce transportation emissions. The federal government has been working with provinces and territories to develop a Clean Fuel Standard framework; a discussion paper was published this year, consultations were held, including with Indigenous Peoples, and draft regulations are expected in 2018.

3.4 Industry

From manufacturing to mining to oil and gas extraction, industries hold great potential to improve efficiency and find new and cleaner ways of operating.

Governments committed to introduce regulations to reduce methane and hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) emissions from industrial operations, help industries improve their energy efficiency, and invest in research and development (R&D) and deployment of new industrial technologies that help reduce emissions.

In November 2017, the federal government ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, a global agreement to phase out the use of HFCs, which are potent greenhouse gases used in air conditioners and aerosols. The federal government encouraged other countries to sign the amendment this fall so that the agreement will come into force on January 1, 2019. 2017 also marked the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol.

Implementation is on track to deliver on commitments made. The federal government published draft regulations to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, and discussed approaches with Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan that will allow for province-specific solutions. Final federal regulations to phase down the use of HFCs have been published. A number of jurisdictions created or expanded industrial energy efficiency incentives, performance standards, and other supportive measures. This includes support for industries to adopt energy management systems, which can help reduce energy use and emissions, and save money. The federal government also introduced amendments to Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations which came into effect in June, 2017, updating efficiency standards for 20 product categories. In addition, in August 2017, the new ENERGY STAR for Industry certification program was launched and a new Industry challenge program was announced.

On May 27, 2017, the federal government published draft regulations to reduce emissions of methane, a potent GHG, from the oil and gas sector. The regulations aim to reduce unintentional leaks and intentional venting of methane, as well as ensuring that oil and gas operations use low-emission equipment and processes. These actions are expected to reduce GHG emissions by about 20 Mt by 2030.

Federal, provincial, and territorial governments also committed significant funds for research, development, demonstration, and deployment of new cleaner industrial technologies, including for the oil and gas sector.

Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA)'s $50 million Oil Sands Innovation Challenge focuses on demonstration projects that involve prototype testing, field piloting, commercial demonstration, or first-of-kind technology deployments of innovative technologies that reduce GHG emissions and improve the cost competitiveness of bitumen production and processing.

3.5 Forestry, agriculture, and waste

Canada’s forests, wetlands and agricultural soils represent a major stock of stored carbon, sequestering it from the atmosphere. Managing and expanding this stored carbon is an important part of global climate action.

Governments have committed to protect and enhance carbon sinks, increase the use of wood in construction, support innovative technologies and better practices to reduce emissions from these sectors, and work together to identify opportunities to produce renewable biofuels and bioproducts. 

Implementation is on track, with investments made across jurisdictions to enhance carbon storage, protect carbon stocks in forests and agricultural soils, and at the same time consider mitigation actions that could help improve sector resilience to climate change. Federal, provincial, and territorial governments are increasingly focused on exploring how forest and agriculture management practices could increase carbon sinks and reduce GHG emissions. To this end, part of the Low Carbon Economy Fund will be used to support eligible projects in the forestry and agriculture sectors.   

British Columbia’s Forest Carbon Initiative is a $150-million program over five years, starting in 2017, to develop and implement forest activities such as reforestation, increased planting density, and fertilization that reduce emissions and sequester carbon in B.C.’s Crown forests. Outcomes of the initiative, depending on the portfolio mix, are estimated to be: $26 million annually in GDP impact; 295 jobs per year over five years; and, 50,000 hectares per year treated over five years. Fully implemented, the initiative aims to deliver GHG benefits in the medium-term (2030), longer-term (2050) and beyond.

In July 2017, federal, provincial, and territorial Ministers of Agriculture reached an agreement on the key elements of Canada’s new agricultural policy framework, the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, which will include programs to support clean growth and climate change as part of a $3 billion investment. Under the Partnership, jurisdictions will make investments to enhance carbon storage in agricultural soils, generate bioproducts and biofuels, and advance research and innovation to support GHG emission reductions in the agriculture sector. 

Several provincial and territorial governments have implemented actions to produce biomass/bioproducts, improve on-farm energy efficiency, and develop renewable energy through investments in clean technologies. For example, Saskatchewan continues to support improvements in farming practices that help reduce GHG emissions and enhance carbon sequestration, including precision agriculture, zero-till and manure management.

Federal, provincial, and territorial governments are also helping expand the production of bioenergy and bioproducts for multiple uses. One promising application involves helping rural and remote communities reduce reliance on diesel. Governments also continue to promote the use of wood in construction. For example, Alberta, British Columbia, Québec, and New Brunswick recently recommitted to use more low-carbon renewable materials like wood in municipal and government-funded buildings.

In the waste sector, several provincial and territorial governments are undertaking waste diversion projects, as well as projects to use wastes as fuel, for example using wood waste in cement production.

Newfoundland and Labrador continues to work with Regional Service Boards and municipalities across the province to fully implement the Provincial Solid Waste Management Strategy. Ongoing infrastructure investments are consolidating and closing out landfills in favour of modern facilities. Composting pilot projects have been developed in several regions of the province to help reduce methane emissions.

Prince Edward Island is a national leader in sustainable waste management practices through its innovative Waste Watch program. PEI is the only province in Canada to offer a curbside three source separation system (waste, compost, and recyclables) to all residents. The program successfully diverts as much as 65% of waste produced by Islanders from disposal in landfills.

3.6 Government leadership

Governments can help drive investment and bring new approaches and technologies to market faster by supporting new clean technology through procurement rules and policies.

Federal, provincial, and territorial governments committed to set ambitious targets for emissions reductions from government operations, cut emissions from government buildings and fleets, and scale up clean procurement.

Governments have taken action and are on track to reduce emissions from operations and expand clean procurement practices, including work on greening government operations actions plans, as described in section 5.3. British Columbia is leading the charge with its ongoing commitment to be a carbon neutral government. Alberta has committed to installing 854.7 kilowatts of solar energy on government owned buildings. Other jurisdictions are also continuing to explore opportunities to reduce emissions through the use of EVs, energy efficiency, retrofits, procuring renewable energy, and green buildings. The federal government is modernizing its heating and cooling plants, investing in renewable energy, and reducing emissions from its buildings and fleets.

In July 2017, the Government of Canada released its federal operations GHG emissions inventory, showing that 15 core departments and agencies have collectively reduced emissions by 19% between 2005-06 and 2014-15. The Government of Canada will continue to report publicly on progress toward reducing GHG emissions from its operations by 40% by 2030, and potentially as early as 2025. The federal government has also set a target to use 100% clean power for its operations by 2025.

3.7 International leadership

Canada was instrumental in the negotiation of the historic Paris Agreement, in which countries around the world committed to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low-carbon future, to limit global average temperature rise to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 °C. Continued leadership and global cooperation are key to moving forward and meeting the Paris Agreement commitment to increase ambition over time.

In the Pan-Canadian Framework, the federal government reaffirmed its commitment to invest $2.65 billion in international climate finance by 2020, to explore options with provinces and territories for the acquisition of international emissions allowances, and to collaborate with provinces and territories as well as international partners to ensure that trade rules support climate policy. The federal government also reiterated its commitment to continue to engage with and support Indigenous Peoples' action on international climate change issues. This includes work through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to formulate a platform for Indigenous Peoples, as agreed to in the Paris decision.

Implementation is on track. Of the $2.65 billion that Canada has pledged to help developing countries transition to low-carbon, climate resilient economies, the federal government has announced more than $900 million in funding contributions. Further to contributions to multilateral development banks, Canada is also providing direct support to developing countries to reduce emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change. This includes, for example, $13 million to support climate smart agriculture development in Central America; $39 million to help build the resilience of farming households in Senegal, with a particular emphasis on women and young people; $15 million to promote climate technology innovation in Vietnam; $14 million to help Mexico and Chile reduce emissions of methane; and $1.6 million to help Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru reduce climate pollutants and attract investment in climate action. In addition, Québec announced $25.5 million mainly for Francophone countries that are most exposed to the impacts of climate change.

The federal government, in consultation with provinces and territories, has been working with international partners to assess how best to design and use market and non-market mechanisms under the Paris Agreement, including through collaborative work on internationally-transferred mitigation outcomes through the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment. Québec, British Columbia, Ontario, and the State of California have demonstrated leadership through their partnership in the Western Climate Initiative, as has British Columbia through its partnership with California, Washington, Oregon and Alaska (as an observer) in the Pacific Coast Collaborative. Discussions on trade and climate policy have been initiated through the World Trade Organization and other international forums.  The federal government has been working in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to establish Canada as a leader in advancing the operationalization of the local communities and Indigenous Peoples’ platform under the UNFCCC. Parties to the UNFCCC reached an agreement at the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) in Bonn, Germany, to proceed in formally launching the platform. The federal government worked with China and the European Union to bring 34 countries together to support global climate action and the Paris Agreement at the Ministerial on Climate Action held on September 16, 2017 in Montreal.  The federal government also hosted a workshop that helped achieve agreement on the Gender Action Plan at COP23. In addition, as noted, Canada and the UK led the way to a global alliance for coal phase-out at COP 23, launching Powering Past Coal.

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