Federal Progress on Environmental Sustainability
March 10, 2019
As you may know, the challenge of creating a sustainable society that operates in harmony with the earth’s systems is a key reason I entered politics years ago. In 2019 our government was re-elected in part on a promise to increase Canada’s protection of our environment and continue to fight climate change. I am proud of the government’s overall environmental record; in fact this could be considered one of the most environmentally conscious governments in the history of North America.
Canada is committed to international climate leadership:
- Pledged to implement a plan to reduce emissions by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030, while pressing for a more ambitious Paris climate agreement.
- Committed $2.65 billion to support climate action in developing countries, which are the hardest hit by climate change and often have limited capacity to prevent and cope with its consequences.
- Launched the Powering Past Coal Alliance with the United Kingdom – creating a group of countries, states, provinces, and businesses all dedicated to ending the use of coal-fired electricity.
- Played a leading role in the global ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, an agreement to phase down polluting hydrofluorocarbons.
- Launched the 5-Nation Ocean Plastics Charter to ensures plastics are designed to be reused, expands collection systems to keep plastic out of the environment, and to remove plastic waste found on our shores.
Canada has a comprehensive plan to fight climate change:
- Canada’s first ever national climate plan, signed by all of our provinces and territories and in collaboration with Indigenous peoples will help Canada meet or exceed our Paris climate commitments.
- Canada’s national plan will put a price on carbon:
- Ensure a fair carbon price across Canada starting at $10 per tonne in 2018 and rising by $10 per year to $50 per tonne in 2022.
- Provide flexibility to provinces and territories to enact the system that best meets their needs.
- Return all revenues to the province from which they came.
- Eliminate traditional coal power and ensuring that 90% of electricity is generated from clean sources by 2030.
- Launch natural climate solutions including planting two billion trees over the next ten years, and supporting around 3,500 seasonal jobs in tree planting.
- Limit air pollution and reduce health issues such as asthma by reducing methane emissions by 40% to 45% by 2025.
- Lead by example through the new Centre for Greening Government in the Treasury Board Secretariat. Through the work of this centre of excellence we are on track to reduce the government’s own greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 and by 80% by 2050.
The government is building the low-carbon economy of tomorrow:
- Launched the $1.4 billion Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund to support provincial and territorial priorities to reduce carbon pollution.
- This program will emphasize energy conservation and efficiency to save Canadians and Canadian businesses money while reducing emissions.
- British Columbia will receive up to $162 million for projects that include reforesting public forests, and improving energy efficiency of buildings.
- Making historic investments in public transportation across the country, to connect people and communities while reducing emissions. We’re investing $3.4 billion over three years to improve and expand public transit systems across Canada, and an additional $25.3 billion over the next 11 years.
- Enabling the reduction of emissions by providing up to $5,000 with the purchase of an eligible zero-emission vehicle. We are investing over $182 million in funding for electric and alternative-fuel infrastructure.
- Supporting the future of clean transportation technologies with $62.5 million for infrastructure for alternative fuels, including charging stations for electric vehicles, natural gas, and hydrogen refueling stations.
- Investing $21.9 billion over 11 years for green infrastructure which will include targeted investments to support greenhouse gas reductions and enable greater climate change adaptation and increased resilience.
- Extending the tax support for clean energy until 2025 to encourage investment in a clean energy generation and promote the use of clean energy equipment.
- Helping Canadians living in rural and remote communities to reduce their reliance on diesel for electricity and heating by investing in affordable and clean energy solutions such as hydro, wind, solar, geothermal, and bioenergy, through the Clean Energy Innovation Program.
- Helping build a clean economy and reduce polluting greenhouse gases by launching the Emerging Renewable Power Program, which will fund projects on renewable energy technologies.
- Encouraging Canadian Industrial manufacturing facilities to reduce energy use and related costs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the Energy Star Challenge.
- Reducing emissions in the building industry by supporting the retrofitting of homes through the Low Carbon Economy Fund and the Climate Action Incentive Fund.
We have made historic commitments to ocean protection:
- Reached a historic agreement in principle to prevent unregulated commercial fishing in the high seas of the central Arctic Ocean, proactively before any commercial fishing began.
- Spearheaded the adoption of the 5-Nation Ocean Plastics Charter at the G7, and committed $100 million through a marine litter mitigation fund to prevent plastic waste from entering the oceans, address plastic waste on shorelines, and better manage existing plastic resources.
- Invested $1.5 billion in the Ocean’s Protection Plan to make our coasts healthier, safer, and better protected, and to protect marine mammals, with four pillars:
- Creating a world-leading marine safety system that improves responsible shipping and protects Canada’s waters;
- Restoring and protecting marine ecosystems and habitats, using new tools and research, as well as taking measures to address abandoned boats and wrecks;
- Strengthening partnerships and launching co-management practices with Indigenous communities, including building local emergency response capacity; and,
- Investing in oil spill cleanup research and methods to ensure that decisions taken in emergencies are evidence based.
- Making polluters pay in case of spills or accidents, through the Pipeline Safety Act.
- Reopened the Kitsilano Coast Guard Base that was closed by the Harper government. Since reopening in April 2016, the Kitsilano Base has dealt with more than 470 Search and Rescue calls and over 150 environmental response tasks.
- Providing members of coastal Indigenous communities in British Columbia with the skills and tools to enhance marine safety through Indigenous Community Response Training.
- Banned microbeads, a major source of plastic pollution and threat to aquatic life and harmful single use plastics as soon as 2021.
- Committed to increasing the proportion of protect land and ocean to 25% by 2025.
- Helping the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales with concrete measures by introducing new fishery management measures to protect their preferred food source, Chinook salmon, and reducing disturbance to whales while they forage.
- Took concrete action to protect the North Atlantic Right Whale by reducing the maximum speed limit in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence to 10 knots, closed the snow fishery in all of Crab Fishing Area 12, and issued a notice to the commercial fishing industry asking fishers to watch for whales and report any sightings.
- New $167.4 million Whales Initiative to protect and recover endangered whale species in Canada, notably the Southern Resident Killer Whale, the North Atlantic Right Whale and the St. Lawrence Estuary Beluga
- Plan to improving prey availability, reducing disturbances, enhancing monitoring, and enforcing marine traffic rules.
- Invested $6.85 million over five years in the Abandoned Boats Program that cleans up abandoned or wrecked boats from small craft harbours.
- $11.6 million to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Further the transition of the fishing industry by converting salmon farming from the current open net pen system to a closed containment system by 2025.
- Leading the way with commitments to eliminate unnecessary single-use plastics from federal government operations, and move to sustainable plastic products.
Environmental protections dismantled by the previous Conservative government are being restored:
- Strengthened environmental assessment regulations that will protect our environment, rebuild public trust in federal assessment and regulatory processes, and provide predictability for businesses by investing $1 billion over five years.
- Investing $1.3 billion over five years, including $500 million to create a new Nature Fund to protect species at risk, expand wildlife areas and sanctuaries, manage protected areas, implement the Species at Risk Act, and establish a coordinated network of conservation areas.
- Committed to increase protected terrestrial areas and inland water from 10% to 17% of Canada by 2020.
- Renewing federal support for the Experimental Lakes Area that was lost under the previous government
- Protecting the Great Lakes in order to deal with issues such as cleaner drinking water by investing $44.84 million in the Great Lakes Protection Initiative. This is part of the $70.5 million of new funding for freshwater protection.
- Passing Bill C-69 to enact better rules for environmental and regulatory reviews in Canada by ensuring that they are guided by science, evidence, and Indigenous traditional knowledge. The modernized regulations will provide greater certainty and help move good projects forward in a responsible, timely, and transparent manner.
- Passing Bill-68, which will make changes to the Fisheries Act to restore the protections for fish and fish habitat that were lost under the previous government. These changes will also modernize safeguards and support the independence of inshore fisheries.
Canada is making historic investments in scientists and research:
- Protecting, preserving, and recovering endangered whale species by investing $167.4 million over five years in research and actions to help address threats arising from human activities.
- Supporting cutting-edge research in polar science and technology to advance our knowledge of the Canadian Arctic by investing $20.6 million over four years, starting in 2019-20 with $5.1 million per year ongoing to POLAR Knowledge Canada.
- Helping producers and farmers address emerging issues in agriculture, such as climate change and soil and water conservation through an investment of $100 million for agricultural science research.
- Adding 1,200 green jobs for young people in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in the natural resource sectors.
- Gave Canadians the ability to access information about the government's greenhouse gas emissions for the first time on Open Data Portal.
- Launched the first Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel, a ship built under the National Shipbuilding Strategy that will be used by the Canadian Coast Guard to study the health of fish stocks and the ocean environment.
- $2.9 million Whale Science for Tomorrow initiative in partnership with UBC, Dalhousie University and the Université du Québec to enhance sustainable decision-making, resource management and conservation strategies to support the recovery of these whales in Canadian waters
- Investing over $2.3 billion to promote the development of clean technology within Canada.
We are committed to do more:
- Developing a Clean Fuel Standard in consultation with provinces, territories, Indigenous Peoples, and other partners to reduce the pollution to our air and water.
- Protecting Canada’s freshwater using education, geo-mapping, watershed protection, and investments in the best wastewater technologies.
- Expanding National Wildlife Areas and Migratory Bird Sanctuaries.
- Creating a plan to help homeowners who are at risk of repeated flooding. Further investment to the Disaster Mitigation and Adaption Fund by $1 billion over the next decade.
- Working with the United States and Mexico to develop an ambitious North American clean energy and environment agreement.
- Establishing seven new lifeboat stations with four in British Columbia in the areas of Victoria, Hartley Bay, Port Renfrew, and Nootka; and three in Newfoundland and Labrador in the areas of Twillingate, Bay de Verde, and St. Anthony.
- Adding two new tow vessels for the West Coast and emergency tow kits on 25 of the Canadian Coast Guard’s large vessels across Canada.
- Ensuring environmental protections are included in all future trade agreements.
To further explore how the Government of Canada is fighting climate change, click here to visit Canada's interactive climate action map.