Federal Government Introduces Bill C-12: 2050 Net-Zero Emissions

On November 19, 2020, the Federal Government introduced Bill C-12, the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act (the “Act”). The Act’s objective is to achieve net-zero emissions in Canada by 2050 and meet Canada’s international commitments in respect of mitigating climate change.

The Act sets a national greenhouse gas emissions target of net-zero emissions in 2050. The Minister of Environment is required to set national greenhouse gas emissions targets and emissions reduction plans to achieving the targets for 2030, 2035, 2040 and 2045 respectively, with the aim of achieving the net-zero target. Provincial governments, Indigenous peoples of Canada, an advisory body created under the Act and any interested persons will be able to make submissions regarding the targets and emissions reduction plans.

Other key elements of the Act include:

  • Progress and assessment reports, including explanations and measures in response if targets are not being met.
  • The creation of an advisory body to provide the Minister of Environment with advice with respect to meeting Canada’s 2050 net-zero emissions goal.
  • Independent reviews with respect to the Government of Canada’s implementation of measures aimed at mitigating climate change conducted by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development at least once every five years.

Importantly, the Act does not outline the mechanisms or progressive targets the government will employ to meet the 2050 goal of net-zero emissions. These specifics will be seen in the rolling targets and emissions reduction plans to be developed. If and when the Act comes into force, the government will have six months to set the target and emissions reduction plan for 2030.

If you have further questions about Bill C-12, our Environmental Law group would be pleased to assist you.

Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.