Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change first annual report: executive summary

In response to the critical and urgent need to take action on climate change, Canada’s First Ministers adopted the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change on December 9th, 2016.Footnote 1 This collaborative plan aims to reduce emissions, build resilience to a changing climate and enable clean economic growth. The Pan-Canadian Framework includes more than fifty concrete policy actions spanning the country and all sectors of the economy.

First Ministers directed federal, provincial, and territorial governments to work together and with meaningful involvement of Indigenous Peoples to implement the Pan-Canadian Framework and report back on progress. Given the breadth of the Framework, responsibility for putting it into action cuts across multiple government portfolios, and implicates Ministers responsible for environment, energy, infrastructure, transportation, forestry, agriculture, innovation, emergency management, and finance. This report summarizes the collaborative progress achieved across these nine areas and others, such as protecting human health.

Federal, provincial, and territorial governments are engaging and partnering with Indigenous Peoples as actions are implemented. Upon adopting the Pan-Canadian Framework, the Prime Minister issued statements with the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, the President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and the President of the Métis National Council committing to robust, ongoing and meaningful engagement with Indigenous Peoples on clean growth and climate change.

In order to provide a structured, collaborative approach for ongoing engagement with Indigenous Peoples, the Government of Canada is collaborating with First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation to establish three distinctions-based senior bilateral tables based on recognition of rights, co-operation, and partnership.

Summary of Progress

In the first year of implementation, federal, provincial, and territorial governments have made good progress in starting to put the Pan-Canadian Framework into action. Governments have taken the steps necessary to deliver on the commitments made in the Pan-Canadian Framework, and are on track for its first year milestones. Funding has been mobilized to support many of the new actions included in the Framework, including significant transfers from federal to provincial and territorial governments, as well as to representatives of Indigenous Peoples and governments. New regulations to cut emissions have been drafted and consulted on, and new policies and programs to build resilience, support clean technologies and reduce emissions are being established and implemented in all jurisdictions. Governance, reporting and oversight structures have been established to track overall progress throughout Canada and ensure success.

Work is underway to ensure carbon pricing applies across Canada. Some jurisdictions already have carbon pricing systems in place, while others are working to develop and implement pricing systems. The federal government also released a technical discussion paper to advance work on its backstop pricing system.Footnote 2

Governments have made significant progress implementing complementary measures to reduce emissions across the economy. These include regulations – such as phasing out coal-fired power generation by 2030, reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, phasing down the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), continuing to improve the emissions performance of vehicles, and introducing a clean fuel standard. They also include work to develop and adopt increasingly stringent building codes to reduce energy use, as well as work to accelerate the uptake of zero emissions vehicles. These and other actions cut across all sectors of the economy, with the aim of reducing emissions or increasing carbon storage. New funding will support these mitigation activities, such as investments in clean and renewable power generation.

Actions are underway to advance adaptation efforts and build resilience to the impacts of the changing climate. This includes significant new infrastructure investments, including a $2 billion cost-shared Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, the Canadian Centre for Climate Services to support adaptation decision-making and new actions being undertaken by jurisdictions to address flood risks exacerbated by climate change. New programs are being established that will help protect human health and vulnerable regions from climate change impacts, including programs that support healthy Indigenous communities. Codes and standards to support climate resilience are under development and efforts have been advanced to build regional capacity for adaptation action across all the priority areas identified in the Pan-Canadian Framework.

Governments are working to make Canada a leader in the global clean economy through a variety of actions focused on clean technology, innovation, and jobs. This includes work to create a strong pipeline of clean technology ideas, driving demand and innovation through pricing, regulations, and procurement, while supporting Canada’s energy, mining, forest and agriculture sectors to be leaders in the new clean resource economy. Federal, provincial and territorial governments are working together to enable access to capital for clean technology producers to help them develop and demonstrate the commercial viability of their new clean technology products. Programs are also being implemented to foster technology adoption through government procurement to support a strong domestic clean technology market. A federal Clean Growth Hub is being established to streamline government support for clean technology producers. Governments are also working together on a clean technology data strategy.

Looking Ahead

As federal, provincial, and territorial governments implement this Framework, they will continue to respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples with robust, meaningful engagement drawing on their Traditional Knowledge. A key priority is to strengthen the collaboration between governments and Indigenous Peoples on mitigation and adaptation actions, based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership. Indigenous Peoples will be important partners in developing real and meaningful solutions to enable First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation to be drivers of climate action in the implementation of the Pan-Canadian Framework.

While good progress has been made to date, much work remains. This includes continued work to implement carbon pricing systems across Canada in 2018, as well as to develop and finalize a variety of regulations, policies, and programs, including pan-Canadian collaboration on electricity grid interconnections, building codes, and a zero-emissions vehicle strategy. Other work includes launching new programs to support adaptation, green infrastructure investments, deepening engagement on clean technology innovation and ensuring effective implementation of clean technology investments. The Canadian Energy Strategy, adopted by provinces and territories in July 2015 and supported by the federal government, will continue to facilitate collaboration between federal, provincial, and territorial governments to advance the transition to a low-carbon economy.

As there is a time lag between the implementation of new policies and initiatives and the subsequent changes in behaviour, it is not possible to assess the impact on GHG emissions in the short term. In future years, as funding begins to flow and policies and regulations come into force, the focus of subsequent reports will shift toward concrete results and outcomes to track progress. Over the coming year, federal, provincial, and territorial governments will work collaboratively through a new working group established under the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment and through Innovation Ministers to identify and develop appropriate ways to measure progress across the four pillars of the Pan-Canadian Framework, including through the use of indicators which draw on existing best practices. Future reports will also identify policy outcomes, track progress using indicators against appropriate targets and objectives, and provide recommendations on new opportunities for collaboration or expanded areas of work.

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