Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act

The Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act enshrines in legislation the Government of Canada’s commitment to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and provides a framework of accountability and transparency to deliver on it.

The Act establishes a legally binding process to set five-year national emissions-reduction targets as well as develop credible, science-based emissions-reduction plans to achieve each target.

It establishes the 2030 greenhouse gas emissions target as Canada’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement emissions reductions of 40-45 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The Act also establishes a requirement to set national emissions reduction targets for 2035, 2040, and 2045, ten years in advance. Each target will require credible, science-based emissions reduction plans to achieve it.

Each emissions reduction plan must contain:

Each emissions reduction plan must also explain how the measures and strategies outlined in the plan will contribute to Canada achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. When developing an emissions reduction plan, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change must provide the provinces and territories, Indigenous Peoples, the Net-Zero Advisory Body and interested persons with the opportunity to make submissions.

2030 Emissions Reduction Plan

The 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan provides a roadmap for how Canada can achieve greenhouse gas emissions reductions of 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030.

Taking into consideration the best available science, the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan includes a new measures and strategies across all sectors of the economy, and puts in place more of the essential building blocks to grow a strong, resilient economy, create jobs, meet Canada’s climate objectives, while leaving the flexibility to adapt to the future.

Accountability and reporting

The Act holds the Government of Canada to account by requiring the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to report to Parliament with respect to each target.

For each target, the Act requires:

In the event of a missed target, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change must include in the assessment report for that target the reasons why Canada failed to meet the target and describe the actions the Government will take or is taking to address the failure.

In addition to the accountability provided by setting targets and planning in an open, consultative process, the Act includes specific measures for third parties to hold the Government to account.

The Act establishes a Net-Zero Advisory Body in legislation, which will provide independent advice on targets and emissions reduction plans, including measures and sectoral strategies that the Government of Canada could implement.

The Act requires that the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development examine and report on the Government’s implementation of climate-change mitigation measures at least once every five years. This measure will ensure rigorous oversight of the Government’s progress toward implementation.

The Act requires the Minister of Finance, in cooperation with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, to publish an annual report outlining key measures that federal departments and crown corporations have taken to manage the financial risks and opportunities related to climate change.

The Act also requires a comprehensive review of the Act five years after its coming into force.

The Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act became law on June 29, 2021.

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