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Bill C-12

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Second Session, Forty-third Parliament,
69-70 Elizabeth II, 2020-2021
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
Reprinted as amended by the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development as a working copy for the use of the House of Commons at Report Stage and as reported to the House on June 11, 2021
MINISTER OF THE ENVIRONMENT
90956


RECOMMENDATION

Her Excellency the Governor General recommends to the House of Commons the appropriation of public revenue under the circumstances, in the manner and for the purposes set out in a measure entitled “An Act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada’s efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050”.

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;
(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; and
(f)provides for a comprehensive review of the Act five years after its coming into force.
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
6.‍1
For greater certainty
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
13.‍1
Report
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
27.‍1
Review of Act
Consequential Amendment
28
Auditor General Act
Coming into Force
29
Section 23


2nd Session, 43rd Parliament,
69-70 Elizabeth II, 2020-2021
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 both international greenhouse gas emissions reporting obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, including the national inventory report, the nationally determined contribution, the biennial report and the biennial transparency report, and domestic reporting obligations under Acts of Parliament, including the annual report under the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act and the Minister of the Environment’s obligations under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, and it wishes to improve transparency and accountability in respect of greenhouse gas emissions targets by providing additional domestic reporting obligations;
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, including by taking Indigenous knowledge into account when carrying out the purposes of this Act;
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 and ambitious 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 knowledge means the Indigenous knowledge of the Indigenous peoples of Canada. (connaissances autochtones)
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, accountability and immediate and ambitious action 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.
For greater certainty
6.‍1For greater certainty, nothing in this Act precludes attaining net-zero emissions before 2050.
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.
Progression
(1.‍1)Each greenhouse gas emissions target must represent a progression beyond the previous one.
Target — 2030
(2)The national greenhouse gas emissions target for 2030 is Canada’s nationally determined contribution for that year, communicated under the Paris Agreement, as amended from time to time.
Paris Agreement
(3)Each greenhouse gas emissions target must be as ambitious as Canada’s most recent nationally determined contribution communicated under the Paris Agreement.
Subsequent targets
(4)The Minister must set each subsequent national greenhouse gas emissions target at least 9 years 366 days before the beginning of the milestone year to which it relates.
Description — key measures
(5)Within one year after a greenhouse gas emissions target is set for a milestone year after 2030, the Minister must publish a high level description, similar to Canada’s nationally determined contribution communicated under the Paris Agreement, of the key greenhouse gas emissions reduction measures the Government of Canada intends to take to achieve that target and the latest projections of the annual greenhouse gas emissions, taking into account the combined impact of those measures in the period between the publication of the description and the milestone year in question.
Setting emissions target
8When setting a greenhouse gas emissions target, the Minister must take into account
(a)the best scientific information available;
(b)Canada’s international commitments with respect to climate change;
(c)Indigeneous knowledge; and
(d)submissions provided by the advisory body under section 13 and advice it provided in its report under subsection 22(1).
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.
Interim objective for 2026
(2.‍1)The emissions reduction plan for 2030 must include an interim greenhouse gas emissions objective for 2026.
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.
Considerations
(5)When establishing a greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan, the Minister must take into account the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the submissions provided by the advisory body under section 13 and advice it provided in its report under subsection 22(1), and any other considerations that are relevant to the purpose of this Act.
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;
(a.‍1)a summary of Canada’s most recent official greenhouse gas emissions inventory and information relevant to the plan that Canada submitted under its international commitments with respect to climate change;
(b)a description of the key emissions reduction measures the Government of Canada intends to take to achieve the greenhouse gas emissions target;
(b.‍1)a description of how Canada’s international commitments with respect to climate change are taken into account in the plan;
(c)a description of any relevant sectoral strategies;
(d)a description of emissions reduction strategies for federal government operations;
(e)a projected timetable for implementation for each of the measures and strategies described in paragraphs (a) to (d);
(f)projections of the annual greenhouse gas emission reductions resulting from those combined measures and strategies, including projections for each economic sector that is included in Canada’s reports under the Convention; and
(g)a summary of key cooperative measures or agreements with provinces and other governments in Canada.
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.
Report
13.‍1The Minister must publish on a Government of Canada website, and by any other means that the Minister considers appropriate, a report on the results of the consultations carried out under section 13.

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.
First progress reports
(1.‍1)In consultation with the ministers referred to in section 12, the Minister must prepare a progress report in respect of the first milestone year by no later than the end of 2023, another by no later than the end of 2025 and another by no later than the end of 2027.
2025 progress report
(1.‍2)The 2025 progress report must contain an assessment of the 2030 greenhouse gas emissions target, based on the most recent developments in science, technology and greenhouse gas emissions management, and the Minister must consider whether the target should be changed, based on those developments.
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;
(a.‍1)Canada’s most recent published greenhouse gas emissions projections for the next milestone year;
(a.‍2)a summary of Canada’s most recent official greenhouse gas emissions inventory and the information, relevant to the report, that Canada submitted under its international commitments with respect to climate change;
(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, if available, updated projections of annual greenhouse gas emission reductions resulting from those combined measures and strategies;
(b.‍1)an update on the implementation of the key cooperative measures or agreements with provinces or other governments in Canada described in the relevant emissions reduction plan;
(b.‍2)if the projections indicate that the plan’s greenhouse gas emissions target will not be met, details of any additional measures that could be taken to increase the probability of achieving that target; and
(c)any other information that the Minister considers appropriate.
Interim progress
(3)Any progress report relating to 2030 must include an update on the progress that has been made towards achieving the interim greenhouse gas emissions objective for 2026.
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 most recent official greenhouse gas emissions inventory and information, relevant to the report, that Canada submitted under its international commitments with respect to climate change;
(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;
(c.‍1)an assessment of how the key cooperative measures or agreements with provinces or other governments in Canada 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, called the Net-Zero Advisory Body, whose mandate is to provide the Minister with independent advice with respect to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, including advice respecting
(a)greenhouse gas emissions targets under section 7;
(b)greenhouse gas emissions reduction plans under section 9, including measures and sectoral strategies that the Government of Canada could implement to achieve a greenhouse gas emissions target; and
(c)any matter referred to it by the Minister.
Engagement activities
(1.‍1)The advisory body’s mandate also includes conducting 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 and must make any terms of reference or amendments to those terms available to the public.
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.
Minister’s recommendation
(1.‍1)When making a recommendation, the Minister must consider the need for the advisory body as a whole to have expertise in, or knowledge of,
(a)climate change science, including the environmental, ecological, social, economic and distributional effects of climate change;
(b)Indigenous knowledge;
(c)other relevant physical and social sciences, including economic analysis and forecasting;
(d)climate change and climate policy at the national, subnational and international levels, including the likely effects and efficacy of potential responses to climate change;
(e)energy supply and demand; and
(f)relevant technologies.
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, including setting out the result of its engagement activities.
Factors
(1.‍1)When providing its advice and preparing its report, the advisory body must take into account a range of factors, to the extent they are relevant to the purpose of this Act including environmental, economic, social and technological and the best available scientific information and knowledge, including Indigenous knowledge, respecting climate change.
Minister’s response
(2)The Minister must make the annual report available to the public within 30 days of receiving it and then, within 120 days of receiving that report, the Minister must publicly respond to the advice that the advisory body includes in it with respect to matters referred in paragraphs 20(1)‍(a) to (c), including any national greenhouse gas emissions target that is recommended by the advisory body if the Minister has set a target that is different from it. spect 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.
First report
(4)The first report must be submitted no later than the end of 2024.

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
26(1)The 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.
International standards
(2)Any regulation made under subsection (1) must align with the international standards to which Canada adheres.
Statutory Instruments Act
27For greater certainty, the emissions reduction plans, the reports made under this Act, any ministerial decision made under subsection 9(3) and any terms of reference set under subsection 20(2) are not statutory instruments for the purposes of the Statutory Instruments Act.
Review of Act
27.‍1Five years after the day on which this Act comes into force, a comprehensive review of the provisions and operation of the Act is to be undertaken by the committee of the Senate, of the House of Commons or of both Houses of Parliament that is designated or established by the Senate or the House of Commons, or by both Houses of Parliament, as the case may be, for that purpose.

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

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