Government of Canada charts course for clean growth by introducing bill to legislate net-zero emissions by 2050

Chad Grasza
25.11.20 10:02 AM Comment(s)

On November 19th, 2020, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change introduced Bill C-12, An Act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada's efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050 (Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act), in the House of Commons and it was given first reading.
​Bill C-12 requires that national targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada be set, with the objective of attaining net-zero emissions by 2050. The targets are to be set by the Minister of the Environment for 2030, 2035, 2040 and 2045.

In order to promote transparency and accountability in relation to meeting those targets, the enactment also;
(a) requires that an emissions reduction plan, a progress report and an assessment report with respect to each target be tabled in each House of Parliament
(b) provides for public participation;
(c) establishes an advisory body to provide the Minister of the Environment with advice with respect to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and matters that are referred to it by the Minister
(d) requires the Minister of Finance to 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; and
(e) requires the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development to, at least once every 5 years, examine and report on the Government of Canada’s implementation of measures aimed at mitigating climate change.

The Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act in the House of Commons will do the following
  • Legally bind the Government to a process to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050
  • Set rolling five-year emissions-reduction targets and require plans to reach each one and report on progress.
  • Establish the Net-Zero Advisory Body to provide independent advice to the Government on the best pathway to reach its targets.
  • Require the Government of Canada to publish an annual report describing how departments and crown corporations are considering the financial risks and opportunities of climate change in their decision-making.
  • Enshrine greater accountability and public transparency into Canada’s plan for meeting net-zero emissions by 2050.•Provide for independent third-party review by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development to ensure accountability for all future governments.


Quick facts

  • Having net-zero emissions—where there are no greenhouse gas emissions or where emissions are completely offset by other actions that remove climate-warming gasses from the atmosphere—is essential to keeping the world safe and livable for our kids and grandkids.
  • Canada has joined over 120 countries in committing to net-zero emissions by 2050, including the UK, Germany, Italy, Japan, and France.
  • A number of provinces and cities have already made net-zero-by-2050 commitments, including Guelph, Vancouver, Hamilton, Toronto, Halifax, Newfoundland and Labrador, and most recently Quebec. Prince Edward Island has also pledged to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. Nova Scotia and British Columbia have put into place, or plan to put into place, provincial net-zero-by-2050 legislation. 
  • In the Speech from the Throne, the Government committed to immediately bringing forward a plan to exceed Canada’s 2030 climate goal and to legislate Canada’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. As part of this plan, the Government will, among other things, make zero-emissions vehicles more affordable while investing in more charging stations across the country; launch a new fund to attract investments in companies making zero-emissions products and cut the corporate tax rate in half for these companies; make Canada a world leader in clean technology; and support our manufacturing, natural resource, energy, and agriculture sectors as they work to transform to meet a net-zero future. 

See Link to first reading here
                 Legislative Summary