Canada Joins UK, France, New Zealand in Introducing Net-Zero Carbon Legislation

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson today introduced Bill C-12, the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, in the House of Commons (the Bill). The Bill would, if enacted, set a national target of net-zero emissions by 2050 and provide that interim targets are to be set for each of 2030, 2035, 2040, and 2045. The Minister of Environment (the Minister) is required, in setting interim targets, to take into account “the best scientific information available as well as Canada’s international commitments with respect to climate change.”

The Bill states that “‘net-zero emissions’ means that anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere are balanced by anthropogenic removals of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere over a specified period.”

The Bill includes the following additional elements:

  • Reports to Parliament. Requirement that the Minister prepare (i) an emissions reduction plan, (ii) a progress report, and (iii) an assessment report, all with respect to each target.

  • Public participation. Provision for participation of provincial governments, Indigenous peoples, the advisory body (see below), and the public in setting emissions reduction targets and preparing emissions reduction plans.

  • Advisory body. Establishment of an advisory body (maximum 15 members) to provide the Minister with advice with respect to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and related matters.

  • Assessment of government financial risks and opportunities related to climate change. Requirement that the Minister of Finance prepare an annual report respecting key measures that the federal public administration has taken to manage its financial risks and opportunities related to climate change.

  • CESD report. Requirement that the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development (CESD) examine and report, at least every five years, on the Government of Canada’s emissions reduction targets and implementation of measures aimed at mitigating climate change.

The United Kingdom, France, Denmark, Hungary, and New Zealand have all introduced similar net-zero legislation and Japan and South Korea have pledged to do the same.


For further information or to discuss the contents of this bulletin, please contact Lisa DeMarco at lisa@demarcoallan.com.

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