Skip to main content

Bill C-12

If you have any questions or comments regarding the accessibility of this publication, please contact us at accessible@parl.gc.ca.

Skip to Document Navigation Skip to Document Content

Second Session, Forty-third Parliament,
69 Elizabeth II, 2020
HOUSE OF COMMONS OF CANADA
BILL C-12
An Act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada’s efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050
FIRST READING, November 19, 2020
MINISTER OF THE ENVIRONMENT
90956


SUMMARY

This enactment 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.
Available on the House of Commons website at the following address:
www.ourcommons.ca


TABLE OF PROVISIONS

An Act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada’s efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050
Preamble
Short Title
1
Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act
Definitions
2
Definitions
Her Majesty
3
Binding on Her Majesty
Purpose
4
Purpose
Designation of Minister
5
Minister
Targets and Plans
6
Target — 2050
7
Targets — milestone years
8
Setting emissions target
9
Emissions reduction plan
10
Emissions reduction plan — contents
11
Amendments
12
Other ministers
13
Public participation
Reports
14
Progress report
15
Assessment report
16
Failure to achieve target
Tabling and Publication
17
Publication of target
18
Emissions reduction plan — tabling
19
Emissions reduction plan made public
Advisory Body
20
Establishment and mandate
21
Appointment and remuneration of members
22
Report
Minister of Finance
23
Annual report
Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development
24
Commissioner’s report
General Provisions
25
Methodology
26
Regulations
27
Statutory Instruments Act
Consequential Amendment
28
Auditor General Act
Coming into Force
29
Section 23


2nd Session, 43rd Parliament,
69 Elizabeth II, 2020
HOUSE OF COMMONS OF CANADA
BILL C-12
An Act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada’s efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050

Preamble
Whereas the science clearly shows that human activities are driving unprecedented changes in the Earth’s climate;

Whereas climate change poses significant risks to human health and security, to the environment, including biodiversity, and to economic growth;
Whereas, Canada has ratified the Paris Agreement, done in Paris on December 12, 2015, which entered into force in 2016, and under that Agreement has committed to set and communicate ambitious national objectives and undertake ambitious national measures for climate change mitigation;
Whereas the Paris Agreement seeks to strengthen the global response to climate change and reaffirms the goal of limiting global temperature increase to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, while pursuing efforts to limit that increase to 1.‍5°C;
Whereas, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is key to keeping the rise in the global-mean temperature to 1.‍5°C above pre-industrial levels and minimizing climate-change related risks;
Whereas the Government of Canada is committed to achieving and exceeding the target for 2030 set out in its nationally determined contribution communicated in accordance with the Paris Agreement;
Whereas the Government of Canada has committed to developing a plan to set Canada on a path to achieve a prosperous net-zero-emissions future by 2050, supported by public participation and expert advice;
Whereas the Government of Canada is committed to advancing the recognition-of-rights approach reflected in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 and in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to strengthening its collaboration with the Indigenous peoples of Canada with respect to measures for mitigating climate change;
Whereas the Government of Canada recognizes that its plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 should contribute to making Canada’s economy more resilient, inclusive and competitive;
Whereas climate change is a global problem that requires immediate action by all governments in Canada as well as by industry, non-governmental organizations and individual Canadians;
And whereas the Government of Canada recognizes that significant collective and individual actions have already been taken and intends to sustain the momentum of those actions;
Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

Short Title

Short title
1This Act may be cited as the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act.

Definitions

Definitions
2The following definitions apply in this Act.
Convention means the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, done in New York on May 9, 1992.‍ (Convention)
emissions reduction plan means a plan established under subsection 9(1).‍ (plan de réduction des émissions)
Indigenous peoples of Canada has the meaning assigned by the definition aboriginal peoples of Canada in subsection 35(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982.‍ (peuples autochtones du Canada)
milestone year means any of the years 2030, 2035, 2040 and 2045.‍ (année jalon)
Minister means the Minister of the Environment or, if another federal minister is designated under section 5, that minister.‍ (ministre)
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.‍ (carboneutralité)

Her Majesty

Binding on Her Majesty
3This Act and its regulations are binding on Her Majesty in right of Canada.

Purpose

Purpose
4The purpose of this Act is to require the setting of national targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions based on the best scientific information available and to promote transparency and accountability in relation to achieving those targets, in support of achieving net-zero emissions in Canada by 2050 and Canada’s international commitments in respect of mitigating climate change.

Designation of Minister

Minister
5The Governor in Council may, by order, designate any federal minister to be the Minister referred to in this Act.

Targets and Plans

Target — 2050
6The national greenhouse gas emissions target for 2050 is net-zero emissions.
Targets — milestone years
7(1)The Minister must set a national greenhouse gas emissions target for each milestone year with a view to achieving the target set out in section 6.
Target — 2030
(2)The Minister must set the national greenhouse gas emissions target for 2030 within six months of the day on which this Act comes into force.
Extension
(3)The Minister may, in a decision containing reasons and made available to the public, extend the time limit set out in subsection (2) by 90 days.
Subsequent targets
(4)The Minister must set each subsequent national greenhouse gas emissions target at least five years before the beginning of the milestone year to which it relates.
Setting emissions target
8When setting a greenhouse gas emissions target, the Minister must take into account the best scientific information available as well as Canada’s international commitments with respect to climate change.
Emissions reduction plan
9(1)The Minister must establish a greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan for achieving the target set by section 6 and each target set under section 7.
Plan — 2030
(2)The Minister must establish an emissions reduction plan for 2030 within six months after the day on which this Act comes into force.
Extension
(3)The Minister may, in a decision containing reasons and made available to the public, extend the time limit set out in subsection (2) by 90 days.
Subsequent plans
(4)The Minister must establish each subsequent emissions reduction plan at least five years before the beginning of the year to which it relates.
Emissions reduction plan — contents
10(1)An emissions reduction plan must contain
(a)the greenhouse gas emissions target for the year to which the plan relates;
(b)a description of the key emissions reduction measures the Government of Canada intends to take to achieve the greenhouse gas emissions target;
(c)a description of any relevant sectoral strategies; and
(d)a description of emissions reduction strategies for federal government operations.
Explanation
(2)An emissions reduction plan must explain how the greenhouse gas emissions target set out in the plan and the key measures and the strategies that the plan describes will contribute to Canada achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
Other information
(3)An emissions reduction plan may contain any other information that relates to that plan or to the purpose of this Act, including information on initiatives or other measures undertaken by the governments of the provinces, Indigenous peoples of Canada, municipal governments or the private sector that may contribute to achieving the greenhouse gas emissions target.
Amendments
11The Minister may amend an emissions target set under section 7 or an emissions reduction plan in a manner that is consistent with the purpose of this Act.
Other ministers
12When establishing or amending an emissions reduction plan, the Minister must do so in consultation with the other federal ministers having duties and functions relating to the measures that may be taken to achieve that target.
Public participation
13When setting or amending a national greenhouse gas emissions target or establishing or amending an emissions reduction plan, the Minister must, in the manner the Minister considers it appropriate, provide the governments of the provinces, Indigenous peoples of Canada, the advisory body established under section 20 and interested persons, including any expert the Minister considers appropriate to consult, with the opportunity to make submissions.

Reports

Progress report
14(1)In consultation with the ministers referred to in section 12, the Minister must prepare at least one progress report relating to each milestone year and to 2050 no later than two years before the beginning of the relevant year.
Content of report
(2)A progress report must contain
(a)an update on the progress that has been made towards achieving the greenhouse gas emissions target;
(b)an update on the implementation of the federal measures, sectoral strategies and federal government operations strategies described in the relevant emissions reduction plan; and
(c)any other information that the Minister considers appropriate, including information on any additional measures that could be taken to increase the probability of achieving the plan’s greenhouse gas emissions target.
Assessment report
15(1)In consultation with the ministers referred to in section 12, the Minister must prepare an assessment report in relation to a milestone year or to 2050 no later than 30 days after the day on which Canada submits its official greenhouse gas emissions inventory report in accordance with the Convention in relation to the relevant milestone year or to 2050, as the case may be.
Contents of report
(2)An assessment report must contain
(a)a summary of Canada’s official greenhouse gas emissions inventory for the relevant year;
(b)a statement on whether Canada has achieved its national greenhouse gas emissions target for that year;
(c)an assessment of how the federal measures, sectoral strategies, and federal government operations strategies described in the relevant emissions reduction plan contributed to Canada’s efforts to achieve the national greenhouse gas emissions target for that year;
(d)any information relating to adjustments that could be made to subsequent emissions reduction plans in order to increase the probability of meeting subsequent national greenhouse gas emissions targets; and
(e)any other information that the Minister considers appropriate.
Failure to achieve target
16If the Minister concludes that Canada has not achieved its national greenhouse gas emissions target for a milestone year or for 2050, as the case may be, the Minister must, after consulting with the ministers referred to in section 12, include the following in the assessment report:
(a)the reasons why Canada failed to meet the target;
(b)a description of actions the Government of Canada is taking or will take to address the failure to achieve the target; and
(c)any other information that the Minister considers appropriate.

Tabling and Publication

Publication of target
17The Minister may publish the national greenhouse gas emissions target for the milestone year to which an emissions reduction plan relates before that plan is tabled in each House of Parliament.
Emissions reduction plan — tabling
18(1)The Minister must cause each emissions reduction plan to be tabled in each House of Parliament on any of the first 15 days on which that House is sitting after the day on which the plan is established.
Amendment — tabling
(2)The Minister must cause any amendment to an emissions reduction plan to be tabled in each House of Parliament on any of the first 15 days on which that House of Parliament is sitting after the day on which the amendment is made.
Reports — tabling
(3)The Minister must cause each progress report and each assessment report to be tabled in each House of Parliament on any of the first 15 days on which that House is sitting after the day on which the report is finalized.
Emissions reduction plan made public
19(1)The Minister must make each emissions reduction plan available to the public, in the manner the Minister considers appropriate, as soon as feasible after it is tabled in either House of Parliament.
Amendments made public
(2)The Minister must make each amendment to an emissions reduction plan available to the public, in the manner the Minister considers appropriate, as soon as feasible after it is tabled in either House of Parliament.
Reports made public
(3)The Minister must make each progress report and each assessment report available to the public, in the manner the Minister considers appropriate, as soon as feasible after they are tabled in either House of Parliament.

Advisory Body

Establishment and mandate
20(1)There is established an advisory body whose mandate is to provide the Minister with advice with respect to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, including advice respecting measures and sectoral strategies that the Government of Canada could implement to achieve a greenhouse gas emissions target, and any matter referred to it by the Minister, and to conduct engagement activities related to achieving net-zero emissions.
Terms of reference
(2)The Minister may determine and amend the terms of reference of the advisory body.
Appointment and remuneration of members
21(1)The Governor in Council appoints the members of the advisory body on the recommendation of the Minister and fixes their remuneration.
Composition of body
(2)The advisory body is composed of no more than fifteen members, who are appointed on a part-time basis for a renewable term of up to three years.
Co-chairs
(3)The Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the minister, designates two co-chairs from among the members appointed under subsection (1).
Reimbursement of expenses
(4)The members are entitled to be reimbursed, in accordance with Treasury Board directives, for the travel, living and other expenses incurred in connection with their work for the advisory body while absent from their ordinary place of residence.
Deemed employment
(5)Members of the advisory body are deemed to be employed in the federal public administration for the purposes of the Government Employees Compensation Act and any regulations made under section 9 of the Aeronautics Act.
Report
22(1)The advisory body must submit an annual report to the Minister with respect to its advice and activities.
Minister’s response
(2)The Minister must publicly respond to the advice that the advisory body includes in its annual report with respect to measures and sectoral strategies that the Government of Canada could implement to achieve the greenhouse gas emissions target.

Minister of Finance

Annual report
23The Minister of Finance must, in cooperation with the Minister, 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. The Minister of Finance must make that report available to the public.

Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development

Commissioner’s report
24(1)The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development must, at least once every five years, examine and report on the Government of Canada’s implementation of the measures aimed at mitigating climate change, including those undertaken to achieve its most recent greenhouse gas emissions target as identified in the relevant assessment report.
Recommendations
(2)The report may include recommendations related to improving the effectiveness of the Government of Canada’s implementation of the measures with respect to climate change mitigation that it has committed to undertake in an emissions reduction plan.
Submission
(3)The report is submitted as part of the next annual report the Commissioner makes under subsection 23(2) of the Auditor General Act.

General Provisions

Methodology
25Subject to any regulation made under section 26, the methodology used to report on Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions for each milestone year and for 2050 must be consistent with the methodology used by Canada in its official national greenhouse gas emission inventory report for the Convention.
Regulations
26The Governor in Council may make regulations for the purposes of this Act, including regulations
(a)amending or specifying the methodology to be used to report on Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions for each milestone year and for 2050, including with respect to greenhouse gas emissions and removals; and
(b)amending any timeline set out in this Act, other than the ones set out in sections 6 and 24, or any milestone year, for the purposes of aligning it with Canada’s international commitments.
Statutory Instruments Act
27For greater certainty, the emissions reduction plans, the reports made under this Act, any ministerial decision made under subsection 7(3) or 9(3) and any terms of reference set under subsection 20(2) are not statutory instruments for the purposes of the Statutory Instruments Act.

Consequential Amendment

R.‍S.‍, c. A-17

Auditor General Act

28The Auditor General Act is amended by adding the following after section 21.‍1:
Additional functions
21.‍2The Commissioner must also carry out the functions assigned to them under the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act.

Coming into Force

Section 23
29Section 23 comes into force on a day to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council.
Published under authority of the Speaker of the House of Commons



explanatory notes

Auditor General Act
Clause 28:New.

Publication Explorer
Publication Explorer
ParlVU