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Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development on climate change mitigation and adaptation

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Implementation of Canada’s climate plan is urgently needed  

Ottawa, October 3 2017 - The Commissioner of the environment and Sustainable Development, Julie Gelfand, released today her report on the federal government progress on climate change mitigation and adaptation.. The report tabled in Parliament finds little progress in reducing GHG emissions in Canada.


Canada must do more to meet its 2030 GHG emission reduction target
In her audit, the Commissioner finds that Canada is not on the path to meeting its 2020 GHG emissions reduction target under the Copenhagen Accord. She deplores that, according to the forecasts :

  • GHG emission are projected to reach 111 megatons above the 2020 target. Since 2014, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has only implemented three new regulations to reduce emissions.
  • Canada has missed opportunities to reduce emissions since it did not pursue regulations that were proposed back in 2012
  • Measures announced in the climate plan have not yet been implemented
  • If the federal government wants to manage the risks posed by climate change and protect the Canadian population it must put in place an adaptation plan based on a comprehensive assessment of the risks involved. Despite hundreds of millions of dollars invested in climate change adaptation, ECCC did not provide the leadership, strategic direction and tools to the other federal departments to help them assess and address the risks posed by climate change.

The good news

  • The new climate plan however, has greatly improved collaboration between federal, provincial and territories on climate change.
  • Significant amounts has been spent to fund clean energy technology projects. Natural Resources Canada and Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) had rigorous and objective processes in place to assess, approve, and monitor projects.


“The Commissioner’s findings today is partly the result of the complete inaction of the previous federal government on climate change. Our ability to meet Canada’s 2030 GHG emission reduction target, as well as our international commitment in the Paris Agreement, depend on the rapid immediate implementation of the measures announced last December in the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change” stated Steven Guilbeault, principal director at Équiterre. “Canada’s 2030 target is still within reach, but will require that the federal government exercise its authority within its jurisdiction to reduce GHG emissions. The time for political maneuvering and negotiations is over, it is time for action.” concluded Mr. Guilbeault.

“The measures required to start reducing GHG emissions are well known and well studied. They have been the object of multiple official announcements, public consultations and discussion papers. Let’s mention only the proposed federal regulations on methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, the federal regulations to phase-out coal from electricity in Canada and the proposed national low carbon fuel standard.” stated Annie BérubÉ, director of government relations for Équiterre. “All these proposed regulations, if actually implemented, would result in million of tons of GHG emissions reduction. Yet they have not seen the light of day and are still only a paper exercise. The federal government must implement those immediately if we are to reverse the trends on Canada’s GHG emissions.” concluded Ms. Bérubé.

Équiterre wishes to remind everyone that the 1st anniversary of the climate plan will take place this December, as well as the 1st anniversary of the ratification of the Paris Agreement. The UNFCC COP23 will be held in Bonn in November and Équiterre will be there.

You can read the Commissioner’s report on climate change here.

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For more information :

Dale Robertson, medias relations, Équiterre
514 605-2000,