Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change first annual report: looking ahead

One of the objectives of reporting annually on Pan-Canadian Framework implementation is to facilitate an assessment of policy outcomes and recommend further action in order to increase ambition over time. At this early stage of implementation, many programs, investments and regulations are still in the process of being designed and developed. Since assessing progress first requires an evaluation of results, this will be a feature of future reports, once data can be reported and attributed to Pan-Canadian Framework actions. In some cases, this may take time. For example, the impact of policies on reducing GHG emissions cannot be assessed in the short term because of the time lag that exists between the implementation of new policies and initiatives and the subsequent changes in behaviour. Additional time is also needed to collect, analyse, and report on emissions data.

Pricing Carbon Pollution

While most provinces and territories that do not currently have a carbon pricing system in place have demonstrated a commitment to implement carbon pricing, some have not yet identified which carbon pricing system will be applied in their jurisdiction. This will be important to ensure that jurisdictions are in a position to have pricing systems take effect in 2018. Communicating program design details in a timely manner is also key to providing consumers and investors with the clarity needed to inform choices and support Pan-Canadian Framework goals of reducing GHG emissions while growing our economy.

Moving forward, work will continue towards implementing carbon pricing systems across Canada in 2018. As affirmed in the Vancouver Declaration and reiterated in the Pan-Canadian Framework, provinces and territories continue to have the flexibility to design their own policies to meet emissions-reduction targets, including carbon pricing, adapted to each province and territory’s specific circumstances and aligned with the federal benchmark.

The federal government will continue to work with provinces and territories on the implementation of carbon pricing systems in 2018.This will include continued work with the territories to find solutions that address their unique circumstances. The federal government will also engage with provincial and territorial governments and stakeholders to ensure that emissions from commercial inter-provincial/territorial aviation are subject to carbon pricing.

Overall, as jurisdictions move forward with implementing carbon pricing systems, continued work to share lessons learned, including emissions-intensive trade-exposed sector review and best practice, will be important.

Complementary actions to reduce emissions

It will be important to continue cross-jurisdiction collaboration as measures are developed and implemented. For example, on zero-emission vehicles, federal, provincial, and territorial governments are working together to develop a Canada-wide strategy. Developing policies together helps ensure new and existing policies are complementary. Federal, provincial, and territorial governments will work to identify additional opportunities for collaborative work across jurisdictions.

Key regulatory milestones over the coming year include publishing final regulations to phase out emissions from coal-fired electricity, for natural gas-fired electricity, to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, and for heavy-duty vehicles, as well as draft regulations for the clean fuel standard. A range of other initiatives will be advanced over the coming year, including energy efficiency standards and related work for buildings, industrial energy efficiency programming, developing an approach to improve efficiency in the off-road sector, establishing technology funding programs, and finalizing investments in renewable energy, electricity transmission and smart grid projects. Work will also continue towards the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Federal, provincial, and territorial governments will continue to work together and discuss key Pan-Canadian Framework initiatives that require ongoing pan-Canadian collaboration, including on electricity interconnections, building codes, the ZEV strategy, and a range of investments. Federal, provincial, and territorial governments will also finalize the terms of $9.2 billion for green infrastructure (including support for electricity infrastructure, renewable energy, and other projects) and the Leadership Fund portion of the Low Carbon Economy Fund. The Canada Infrastructure Bank will also support projects that aim to reduce emissions, and collaboration across jurisdictions will be key.

The Government of Canada is working in partnership with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), and the Métis National Council (MNC), to establish the three distinctions-based senior bilateral tables for ongoing engagement with First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation in the implementation of the Pan-Canadian Framework and on broader clean growth and climate change priorities. In October, 2017, the Government of Canada and the AFN held the first bilateral meeting of their Joint Committee on Climate Action. The Government of Canada continues to work in partnership with ITK and MNC to establish their respective bilateral tables and plans to hold inaugural meetings on December 11 and mid-December, respectively.

Adaptation and resilience

Over the coming year, efforts will continue to focus on launching new programs and operationalizing planned initiatives. Key milestones include the launch of the Canadian Centre for Climate Services and the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, including identifying projects for the first round of funding, approval of integrated bilateral agreements with provinces and territories for infrastructure investments, and finalizing the Northern Adaptation Strategy. Efforts will continue to better understand and track the impacts of climate change on health and well-being and to develop innovative solutions to reduce these climate-related health impacts, as well as to support capacity building for Indigenous Peoples to address a wide range of climate change adaptation challenges.

It will be important to ensure that the Pan-Canadian Framework continues to draw on work from other existing federal-provincial-territorial working groups to link adaptation work that is ongoing and planned across each of the Ministerial tables.

Potential future collaborative work to advance adaptation and resilience across Canada could include:

  • Looking at ways to increase the climate resilience of government institutions (e.g., sharing best practices, lessons learned, international examples);
  • Developing guidance or sharing best practices and, information approaches for investments in resilient infrastructure, including natural infrastructure; and
  • Working on climate change adaptation in coastal regions (e.g., developing a coastal adaptation strategy; sharing tools, information, approaches, best practices; compendium of tools).

Ministers of the Environment will continue to champion adaptation efforts within federal, provincial, and territorial governments, and engage all Ministers (e.g., health, relations with Indigenous Peoples, emergency management, infrastructure, local government, natural resources, mining, forests, agriculture, fisheries, energy, transportation, finance economy and innovation) to take action to adapt and build resilience, as adaptation involves the mandates of these Ministerial tables. This includes encouraging all levels of government, businesses, communities and citizens to identify climate change as a priority for urgent and sustained action to ensure that climate risks are being considered and that these risks are addressed across sectors, jurisdictions and communities across Canada. By continuing to support and mobilize action broadly across all sectors and regions, federal, provincial, and territorial governments will work to increase Canadians’ resiliency to the impacts of climate change now and in the future.

Clean technology, innovation and jobs

The Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Group on Clean Growth has identified the following future opportunities to deepen engagement on clean technology innovation:

  • Ensuring access to financing for smaller companies to mature and access larger scale funding later on will maximize and complement the suite of clean technology funding already available.
  • Further deepen and strengthen governments’ alignment efforts to fully realise the opportunities created through support for Canada’s clean technology producers.
  • Continue work to better understand and overcome the barriers faced by Indigenous Peoples in accessing the full suite of federal funding.
  • Additional collaboration to support the development of the skills necessary to successfully integrate a low-carbon economy. This includes general innovation and entrepreneurial skills, such as increasing the awareness and knowledge by youth of the business skills required to lead a tech start-up.
  • Explore creation of a “regulatory sandbox” – a safe space for businesses to test innovative products in a live environment without being fully subject to regulations.

Innovation Ministers will continue collaborative efforts to ensure an effective implementation of clean technology investments and initiatives that aligns with program and policies to maximize clean technology outcomes. As implementation advances, there will be additional opportunities for the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Group on Clean Growth to utilize its influence and expertise in playing a pivotal role to advance Canada’s clean-technology landscape.

Over the coming year, work will continue across a number of areas, including implementing federal funding support for clean technology research, and the development, demonstration and adoption of clean technology in Canada’s natural resources sectors. Innovation initiatives will continue to be developed and provinces and territories will formalize partnerships with the federal government regarding the access to capital support. As well, the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Group on Clean Growth will continue to develop a procurement resource toolkit that can be made available by provinces and territories to municipalities, universities, school and hospitals to help them leverage existing green procurement initiatives or adopt similar practices. Work will also continue to support certification programs such as the Energy Star program. To implement the Clean Growth Hub, a central office will be established to improve client service. As well, to support the clean technology data strategy work will include continuing consultations, deepening metrics and annual data reporting.

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