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The Senate passed the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act (Bill C-12), confirming the first-ever climate accountability legislation in Canada — a historic moment for climate action in Canada! Bill C-12 enshrines Canada’s commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 in law, and establishes the country’s first comprehensive climate governance system. While the Bill is by no means perfect and we will work to ensure its robust implementation, this moment is a testament to people power, and a big step forward for Canadian climate action.

The House and Senate votes in favour of climate accountability legislation are the culmination of years of advocacy from Canadian civil society.
The Act will:
  • Establish a long-term target of reaching net zero emissions in 2050;
  • Legislate setting five-year milestone emissions reductions targets starting in 2030, with an interim objective in 2026;
  • Require climate targets to be set 10 years in advance;
  • Create a framework for detailed climate policy planning and progress reporting;
  • Legislate a Net-Zero Advisory Body composed of diverse stakeholders and rights-holders to advise the Environment and Climate Change Minister on targets and plans;
  • Require the Minister to consider the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in climate planning and target-setting;
  • Mandate a legislative review of the Bill 5 years after its adoption.
Canada has missed every climate target it has set, and previous attempts at climate accountability legislation, such as then NDP Leader Jack Layton’s bill in 2009, have failed to make it  through the country’s legislative process. Multi-partisan collaboration in Parliament and swift work in the Senate allowed a strengthened bill to pass before the summer recess. While Bill C-12 falls short of the international gold standard, it will provide a foundation that can be built upon with strong implementation to ensure that Canada never misses another climate target.

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