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Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act (S.C. 2021, c. 22)

Act current to 2024-05-01 and last amended on 2023-03-31. Previous Versions

Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act

S.C. 2021, c. 22

Assented to 2021-06-29

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

Marginal note:Short title

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

Definitions

Marginal note:Definitions

 The following definitions apply in this Act.

Convention

Convention means the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, done in New York on May 9, 1992. (Convention)

emissions reduction plan

emissions reduction plan means a plan established under subsection 9(1). (plan de réduction des émissions)

Indigenous knowledge

Indigenous knowledge means the Indigenous knowledge of the Indigenous peoples of Canada. (connaissances autochtones)

Indigenous peoples of Canada

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

milestone year means any of the years 2030, 2035, 2040 and 2045. (année jalon)

Minister

Minister means the Minister of the Environment or, if another federal minister is designated under section 5, that minister. (ministre)

net-zero emissions

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

Marginal note:Binding on Her Majesty

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

Purpose

Marginal note:Purpose

 The 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

Marginal note:Minister

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

Targets and Plans

Marginal note:Target — 2050

 The national greenhouse gas emissions target for 2050 is net-zero emissions.

Marginal note:For greater certainty

 For greater certainty, nothing in this Act precludes attaining net-zero emissions before 2050.

Marginal note:Targets — milestone years

  •  (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.

  • Marginal note:Progression

    (1.1) Each greenhouse gas emissions target must represent a progression beyond the previous one.

  • Marginal note: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.

  • Marginal note: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.

  • Marginal note:Subsequent targets

    (4) The Minister must set the national greenhouse gas emissions target

    • (a) for the 2035 milestone year, no later than December 1, 2024;

    • (b) for the 2040 milestone year, no later than December 1, 2029; and

    • (c) for the 2045 milestone year, no later than December 1, 2034.

  • Marginal note: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.

Marginal note:Setting emissions target

 When 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) Indigenous knowledge; and

  • (d) submissions provided by the advisory body under section 13 and advice it provided in its report under subsection 22(1).

Marginal note:Emissions reduction plan

  •  (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.

  • Marginal note: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.

  • Marginal note:Interim objective for 2026

    (2.1) The emissions reduction plan for 2030 must include an interim greenhouse gas emissions objective for 2026.

  • Marginal note: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.

  • Marginal note: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.

  • Marginal note: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.

Marginal note:Emissions reduction plan — contents

  •  (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.

  • Marginal note: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.

  • Marginal note: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.

Marginal note:Amendments

 The 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.

Marginal note:Other ministers

 When 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.

Marginal note:Public participation

 When 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.

Marginal note:Report

 The 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

Marginal note:Progress report

  •  (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.

  • Marginal note: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.

  • Marginal note: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.

  • Marginal note: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.

  • Marginal note: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.

Marginal note:Assessment report

  •  (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.

  • Marginal note: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.

Marginal note:Failure to achieve target

 If 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

Marginal note:Publication of target

 The 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.

Marginal note:Emissions reduction plan — tabling

  •  (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.

  • Marginal note: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.

  • Marginal note: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.

 

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