OTTAWA, October 19, 2006 – The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of the Environment, gave Canadians the first and central component of Canada's New Government's environmental Agenda when she introduced Canada's Clean Air Act in Parliament today.
"We listened to Canadians. They told us they were concerned about worsening air quality and increasing emissions of greenhouse gases," said Minister Ambrose. "After more than a decade of inaction on the environment by the previous government, Canada's Clean Air Act is the first step in turning things around to protect the health of Canadians."
The Act and subsequent Notice of Intent to regulate demonstrate a clear commitment to the establishment of short-, medium- and long-term industrial air pollution targets. These fixed targets would compel polluters to respect emissions limits and will be at least as stringent as those in other leading environmental countries.
"Previously, voluntary targets were set according to what industry felt they could live with," explained Minister Ambrose. "This is a historic Act as we are the first government that is regulating and enforcing emission targets. We are doing this with the health of Canadians in mind."
The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Health, noted that smog can worsen existing heart and lung problems and causes thousands of deaths each year.
"The proposed Clean Air Act will go a long way towards improving the health of Canadians," added Minister Clement. "Most vulnerable Canadians such as young children, elderly Canadians, and people who suffer from chronic heart and respiratory illnesses will definitely benefit from our action to improve the quality of the air we breathe."
Short-term intensity based greenhouse gas reduction targets would be set in consultation with provinces and territories and all affected industry sectors. This dynamic approach will ensure better results for the environment.
The Government is committed to achieving an absolute reduction in GHG emissions between 45 and 65% from 2003 levels by 2050.
"These targets would exceed those proposed by the previous government and will produce real environmental progress here in Canada," said Ambrose.
The Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources, said new and emerging technologies will play a significant role in helping industry achieve the targets.
"The largest untapped source of energy is the energy we waste," said Minister Lunn. "Amendments to the Energy Efficiency Act will help Canadians use the most energy-efficient products, reduce their energy use and improve air quality."
The Government is proud that Canada has one of the most fuel efficient fleets in North America. This New Government will continue to seek fuel consumption improvements for cars and light duty trucks.
"We will develop regulations that will build on the voluntary commitment the auto industry made collectively that calls for a reduction of 5.3 MT of greenhouse gases by 2010," stated the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.
Under the Clean Air Regulatory Agenda, over the next twelve months, the Government will introduce new regulations pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 to address air pollutants from certain consumer products and vehicles.
Over the next three years, new regulations, targets and timelines will be discussed and set. They will lead to significant and long-term reductions in air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from industry, transportation and consumer products, as well as new standards for energy efficiency in a wide range of everyday products and appliances.
The Act also supports expanded use of equivalency agreements with provinces and territories to allow for regulatory cooperation and avoid overlap and duplication. Finally, it gives the Government enhanced powers to monitor polluters and also requires all environmental fines levied for non-compliance go into an environmental damages fund that will be applied directly to cleaning up the environment.
Related Documents :
Why do we Need the Clean Air Act? [backgrounder, 2006-10-19]
Clean Air Online Web Site [information collection]
Notice of intent to develop and implement regulations and other measures to reduce air emissions
For more information, please contact:
Office of the Minister of the Environment
A/Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Health
A/Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources
Natural Resources Canada
Office of the Minister of Transport
Infrastructure and Communities