The Canadian government has officially passed The Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act (Bill C-12).
It marks the first time a Canadian government has legislated emissions reductions accountability to address climate change, by setting legal requirements on the current government and future governments to plan, report, and course correct on the path to net-zero emissions by or before 2050.
The Act requires the government to deliver plans and progress reports on how those targets will be met. Those plans and progress reports will then be evaluated by an independent advisory committee.
The Act will:
- Establish a long-term target of reaching net zero emissions in 2050;
- Legislate setting five-year milestone emissions reductions targets starting in 2030, with an interim objective in 2026;
- Require climate targets to be set 10 years in advance;
- Create a framework for detailed climate policy planning and progress reporting;
- Legislate a Net-Zero Advisory Body composed of diverse stakeholders and rights-holders to advise the Environment and Climate Change Minister on targets and plans;
- Require the Minister to consider the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in climate planning and target-setting;
- Mandate a legislative review of the Bill 5 years after its adoption.
“Canada’s new net-zero law provides the long-term confidence and certainty required to attract investment and ensure that Canadians are delivering products and services that will be in high demand the world over, now and well into the future. Climate change is the biggest long-term threat of our generation, but it is also the greatest economic opportunity,” said the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
In coming months, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change will publish an emissions reduction plan for the 2030 target. That plan will include an interim greenhouse gas objective for 2026. It will be followed by three progress reports submitted no later than the end of 2023, 2025 and 2027.
“The adoption of Bill C-12 by both Houses of Parliament is a groundbreaking moment and ushers Canada into a new era of accountability to its climate commitments. After decades of broken climate promises made on the international stage, years of relentless mobilization by the climate community led to this legislative milestone. While the Bill is by no means perfect and we will work to ensure its robust implementation, this moment is a testament to people power, and a big step forward for Canadian climate action,” said Catherine Abreu, executive director, Climate Action Network Canada.