Government of Canada sets ambitious GHG reduction targets for federal operations

News Release

For immediate release

December 19, 2017, Ottawa, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Climate change is affecting us today and its effects will accelerate unless we take action now. The Government of Canada is committed to leading by example on climate change, delivering a low-carbon, clean-growth economy that reduces greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) generated from its own operations.

The government announced today it has set a new target to reduce GHG emissions by 80% by 2050, relative to 2005 levels, as part of its renewal and expansion of greening government operations. The new Greening Government Strategy target is consistent with world-leading jurisdictions. The government is taking practical steps to reach the target while laying out a broader plan in areas such as water and waste. 

Federal investments in cleaner energy and in energy efficiency are paying off, whether through more efficient buildings and fleets, buying more sustainable products or purchasing greener power. These efforts have already reduced GHG emissions from federal operations by 28% from 2005 levels, and the government is on track to reach the existing commitment of 40% by 2030. Dramatically reducing the government’s carbon footprint helps support Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy, stimulates the clean tech sector, creates jobs, and contributes to Canada's international climate change commitments, all while achieving real cost savings on energy and utilities.

The federal government, along with its provincial and territorial counterparts, can lead the way in sustainable, low-emission practices that support the goals of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.


“We can and we are building a cleaner, more innovative economy that reduces emissions and protects our environment while providing well-paying jobs for the middle class and those working hard to join it. We’re leading by example, daring to set ambitious goals and targets and having the determination to meet them.” 

– The Honourable Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board

“Taking action to protect our environment and strengthen the economy is a top priority for Canada, and leadership starts at home. By using cleaner energy and making government buildings more energy efficient, we’re showcasing what’s possible and putting climate solutions into action—reducing carbon pollution, creating jobs, and spurring the clean growth economy.”

– The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister for the Environment and Climate Change

Quick Facts

  • Greening government operations supports Canada’s sustainability goals established under the Paris agreement on climate change and in the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. The Greening Government Strategy is consistent with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy.

  • We will reduce GHG emissions from government operations by 80% by 2050 relative to 2005–06 levels, in addition to the previous commitment of a 40% reduction by 2030 or earlier.

  • New government buildings will be net zero-carbon ready starting at the latest in 2022 and all major building retrofits to be low-carbon.

  • All government buildings will track potable water use by 2022 and new buildings and major renovations to be best in class for potable water consumption and storm water management.

  • By 2030, at least 75% of all non-hazardous operational waste and 90% of construction renovation and demolition waste currently sent to landfills will be diverted.

  • Government’s administrative fleet will consist of at least 80% zero-emission vehicles by 2030.

  • All new executive vehicle purchases will be hybrid or zero-emissions vehicles starting in 2018.

  • We will track emissions from air travel by public service employees by 2019–20 and promote lower-carbon alternatives to work-related air travel.

  • We will track emissions from new leased facilities and renewed leases starting in 2019  and ensure new leases include improved energy and sustainability performance standards.

  • We will introduce more comprehensive GHG emissions reporting from government buildings and fleets by increasing the number of reporting departments from 15 to 23.

  • Low-carbon investments in major real property investment decisions will be prioritized by applying a shadow price on carbon.

  • We will improve the resiliency of federal assets, services, and operations to address the wide range of potential climate change impacts.

  • Federal GHG emissions come from energy required for buildings (88%) and fleet (12%). Buildings include office space, laboratories and warehouses. Fleet emission sources include on-road vehicles and off-road federal fleets, that is, cars, vans, trucks as well as boats, ships and planes.

  • Fifteen departments and agencies that report on their greenhouse gas reduction goal, as part of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy, have collectively reduced their emissions by 28%.

  • This is a further reduction of 9% from 2014–15 GHG emission levels disclosed by the government earlier this year. Contributions to emissions reductions came from renewable electricity purchases (-3.8%), electricity used (-0.9%) and changes in fuel consumption, including natural gas (-1.6%), fuel oil (-1.6%), aviation fuel (-0.5%), district energy (-0.7), other fuels (-0.2%), liquefied natural gas (+0.1%) and gasoline (+0.2%).

Associated Links


Jean-Luc Ferland
Press Secretary
Office of the President of the Treasury Board 

Media Relations
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

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