The Montreal Protocol: protecting the ozone layer and tackling climate change

The world’s nations gathered in Montréal, 30 years ago, to sign the historic Montreal Protocol to address a major global problem that threatened our health and environment—the planet’s thinning ozone layer. The Montreal Protocol succeeded in halting the damage to the ozone layer, and it also helped the world take a major step forward in the battle against climate change because some of the substances it targeted also warm the planet.

This fall, Canada welcomed back the world to celebrate 30 years of working together to protect the ozone layer and combat climate change.

On September 15, 2017, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, was joined at Montréal’s Center for Sustainable Development by world environmental leaders to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol.

As part of the celebration, the United Nations launched the United Nations Ozone Heroes Campaign. Developed by the United Nations and Marvel, the campaign aims to raise awareness of how the global community has worked together to tackle the environmental issue of ozone depletion.



Celebrating 30 years of ozone protection. The world came together to reduce and eliminate chemicals that harm the ozone layer.

The Montreal Protocol.

As a leader in atmospheric science, Canada is monitoring the ozone layer using satellite observations, specially equipped weather ballons and ground-based instruments.

The Montreal Protocol and Kigali Amendment will help the ozone layer continue to recover.

One more way Canada is taking action on climate change.

Building on the Montreal Protocol’s success in tackling the thinning of the ozone layer, countries are now moving to tackle climate change by reducing climate-warming hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Delegates and world environment leaders met in Montréal from November 20 to 24, 2017. The joint 11th Conference of the Parties to the Vienna Convention and the 29th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol is an event for the world to further advance its commitment to phase down HFCs and fight climate change.

Canada ratified the Kigali Amendment on November 3, 2017, becoming the 11th country to do so. Canada will work with all countries now that the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol will be implemented. Canada has also committed to providing increased financial support to the Montreal Protocol’s Multilateral Fund to help developing countries implement a phase down of HFCs.

Phasing down HFCs is another key step in implementing Canada’s Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

The Government of Canada will continue taking a leadership role in protecting the ozone layer, tackling climate change, and helping our country and the world grow a cleaner global economy. The world recognizes that protecting the environment, addressing climate change, and supporting economic growth go hand in hand.


In 1987 the Montreal Protocol brought the world together to reduce and eliminate the use of chemicals like Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), causing the Ozone layer to get thinner.

197 countries committed to taking action. Result: the ozone layer is slowly recovering. Scientists estimate that it will be repaired by the middle of the century.

The Montreal Protocol: a successful global action on climate change.

UNEP Ozone Awards

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol, the Ozone Secretariat and the Government of Canada hosted the Ozone Awards Ceremony. Find out who the Canadian Ozone Awards recipients are!

Key facts and figures

  • The Montreal Protocol is ratified by 197 countries, making it the first and only treaty in the history of the United Nations to achieve universal ratification.
  • Since 1987, the Montreal Protocol
    • eliminated over 99 percent of substances that were thinning the earth's protective ozone layer
    • prevented millions of cases every year of skin cancer and cataracts globally
    • prevented the equivalent of over 135 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, by 2010, approximately the same amount Canada would produce in 175 years
  • Through the reduction of hydrofluorocarbons under the Montreal Protocol, the earth can avoid an increase of up to half a degree Celsius in global temperature by the end of the century while the world continues to protect the ozone layer.
Up to 2 million cases of skin cancer may be prevented globally each year by 2030
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