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432-00559 (Environment)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English

PETITION TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS

We, the undersigned Citizens of Canada, draw the attention of the House of Commons to the following:

WHEREAS, Climate change has escalated into a global climate emergency; the world is on pace to warm nearly 4 degrees Celsius by 2100 and extreme weather events are growing with increasingly severe impacts, including floods, forest fires, rising temperatures, killer heat-waves, massive storms, sea level rise and disruption to marine and land ecosystems;

WHEREAS, in order to act to avert further catastrophic climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) states that the scientific consensus is that we need to immediately move to reduce net human-caused greenhouse gas emissions to 45 per cent below 2010 levels by 2030 and net-zero by 2050;

WHEREAS, Canada must address this climatic emergency with the ambition and urgency required, on behalf of present and future generations;

WHEREAS, Canadians are living through unprecedented, catastrophic climate events and at the same time, our society is suffering from worsening socio-economic inequalities, with almost half of Canada's population reporting they are $200 away from insolvency at the end of each month;

WHEREAS, climate change impacts threaten physical & mental health (particularly young people, the elderly and persons with disabilities), surrounding environments by affecting the food we eat, the world's water supply, the air we breathe, the weather we experience, and how well local communities can adapt to climate change;

WHEREAS, the impacts of climate emergency are far more severe for those living through the immediate consequences of climate change; Indigenous Peoples, frontline and vulnerable communities, like people seeking refugee status or asylum and those displaced by climate change, are disproportionality affected, resulting in the increased risks to their health;

WHEREAS, it has never been more urgent that Canada reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and transition to a low-carbon economy to meet the scale and urgency of the climate crisis, while ensuring that all Indigenous Peoples and Canadians benefit from the substantial public investments a low-carbon economy requires, like energy efficiency retrofits, affordable housing, renewable energy, infrastructure, public transit, pharmacare, dental care, childcare and eliminating student debt and tuition fees;

WHEREAS, reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and the recognition of inherent rights, title and treaty rights, while fully implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), must be at the heart of Canada's approach to addressing the climate emergency;

THEREFORE, your petitioners call on the Government of Canada to support Motion M-1, a made-in-Canada Green New Deal, the first initiative before the House of Commons, which calls on Canada to take bold & rapid action to adopt socially equitable climate action to tackle the climate emergency and address worsening socio-economic & racial inequalities at the same time; while ending fossil fuel subsidies, closing offshore tax havens, and supporting workers impacted by the transition and creating well-paying, unionized jobs in the shift to a clean and renewable energy economy.

Response by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable JONATHAN WILKINSON

In pursuit of efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, the Government of Canada is committed to exceed Canada’s Paris Agreement 2030 emissions reduction goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels, and achieving net-zero emissionsby 2050.

To ensure Canada has a solid foundation to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, the Government has announced a plan to exceed Canada’s 2030 climate goal. A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy is Canada’s strengthened climate plan of federal policies, programs and investments to build a stronger, cleaner, more resilient and inclusive economy. This plan builds on the important accomplishments of and work underway with provinces, territories and Indigenous partners under the 2016 Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

The Pan Canadian Framework has done more to cut pollution in a practical and affordable way than any other climate plan in Canada’s history. Canada’s 2019 greenhouse gas emissions projections show a widespread decline in projected emissions across the economy, reflecting the breadth and depth of the Pan-Canadian Framework. In fact, the policies and measures now in place, including those introduced in 2019, are projected to reduce emissions by 227 million tonnes in 2030. Taken together with A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy, Canada will exceed its 2030 greenhouse-gas-reduction target—making it the first time ever this country has set a climate target and outlined a path to not only meet it but exceed it.

A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy outlines 64 new and strengthened federal climate measures and $15 billion in new investments. While some of these investments will begin immediately, other measures require engagement with provinces and territories, Indigenous partners, stakeholders, and with Canadians. Over the next few months, the Government of Canada will work with partners to ensure a strong, workable plan that can be delivered together.

As part of its plan, key initiatives included:

  • Proposing to continue to put a price on pollution through to 2030, rising at $15 per tonne after 2022, while returning the proceeds back to households such that the majority receive more money back than they pay in provinces where the federal system applies;
  • Creating thousands of jobs retrofitting homes and buildings, including an investment of $2.6 billion over seven years to help homeowners make their homes more energy efficient, cutting energy costs for Canadian families and businesses;
  • Investing $1.5 billion over three years for green and inclusive community buildings, and require that at least 10 percent of this funding be allocated to projects serving First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities;
  • Building on historic investments in public transit in the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to develop next steps on public transit, including the government’s plan to help electrify public transit systems, and provide permanent public transit funding;
  • Developing a national active transportation strategy, and explore ways to deliver more active transportation options;
  • Continuing to make zero-emissions vehicles more affordable by extending the Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles (iZEV) program until March 2022, while investing an additional $150 million over three years in more charging stations across the country;
  • Investing in renewable energy and next-generation clean energy and technology solutions;
  • Working with businesses to make Canada the best place to start and grow clean technology companies; and,
  • Planting 2 billion incremental trees over the next 10 years, as part of a broader commitment to nature-based solutions that also encompasses wetlands and urban forests.

In addition, the Government of Canada also recently tabled the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, which delivers on the government’s commitment to legislate Canada’s target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Once the bill becomes law, it will establish a legally binding process for the Government to set five-year emissions reduction targets based on the advice of experts and Canadians to ensure transparency and accountability as Canada charts a path to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. The Act also requires emissions reduction plans for each target and the publication of interim and final reports on implementation of the plans and the emissions reductions they achieve, as well as periodic examination and reporting by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development on the implementation of these mitigation measures. The Act will also enshrine greater accountability and public transparency into Canada’s plan for meeting net-zero emissions by 2050. To provide independent advice to the Government on the best pathways to reach its targets, a Net-Zero Advisory Body was established in February 2021.

To support the participation of youth in the clean growth economy, in August 2017, Environment and Climate Change Canada announced that it would invest more than $14 million to support almost 1,000 green jobs for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduates across the country through the Science Horizons Youth Internship Program. Similarly, Natural Resources Canada announced that it is investing more than $16 million to create 1,200 green STEM jobs for Canadian youth in the natural resources sector, via the Green Jobs - Science and Technology Internship Program. The abovementioned funding is part of Budget 2017’s additional $395.5 million investment over three years, starting in 2017-2018, for the Youth Employment Strategy, in which 11 federal departments committed to providing opportunities for Canada’s youth.

The Government of Canada recognizes that Indigenous peoples are among the most vulnerable populations to a rapidly changing environment and is committed to renewing the relationship between the Government of Canada and First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation on a nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown, and government-to-government basis. This includes collaborating with Indigenous partners on climate change action through structured, collaborative approaches, based on robust, ongoing and meaningful engagement based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership, consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including free, prior and informed consent.

In taking action on climate change and in moving forward on the implementation of Canada’s climate plan, the Prime Minister issued joint statements with each of the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, the President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the President of the Métis National Council. These joint statements committed to establishing three senior bilateral distinctions-based tables between the Government of Canada and First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation. These partnerships seek to ensure that Indigenous Peoples are full and effective partners in advancing clean growth and achieving climate change goals to mitigate and reduce emissions as a necessary precursor to the mitigation of climate impacts.

The economic impacts of COVID-19 have been unprecedented, with millions of jobs lost at the height of the lockdown in Spring 2020, continued hardships throughout the year, and an unequal distribution of who feels these impacts more deeply. The Government of Canada is committed to helping Canada build back a better and more resilient economy, including by creating over 1 million jobs to bring employment back to pre-pandemic levels, with climate action and clean growth serving as a cornerstone for these efforts. This includes a variety of measures in our strengthened climate plan that will help create jobs, from retrofitting homes and buildings, to building the infrastructure needed for clean transportation across the country, to helping clean technology firms grow.

At the same time, we know that achieving Canada’s climate goals will require nothing short of a transformation of the Canadian economy, with corresponding impacts on and opportunities for Canadian workers. Climate action and clean growth is a cornerstone of this commitment, and Canadians must be at the center of our climate policies, which is why we need to support workers and communities affected by the transition to a low carbon economy. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, we established a Just Transition Task Force in 2018 to provide advice on how to make the transition away from traditional coal-fired electricity fair to those affected. In response to the Task Force’s recommendations, Budget 2019 proposed that we:

  • Create worker transition centres that will offer skills development initiatives and diversification activities in western and eastern Canada.
  • Work with those affected to explore new ways to protect wages and pensions.
  • Establish a $150 million infrastructure fund to support priority projects and economic diversification in impacted communities.

Adding to these efforts, the Government of Canada is working to prepare the workforce for a decarbonized economy by identifying skills that are in demand now and in the future, developing new approaches to skills development, and providing new opportunities for Canadian workers. The Future Skills program (led by Employment and Social Development Canada) provides an opportunity to support the deep transformations that will be required across a range of economic sectors in order to meet our climate change targets, and provide new opportunities for Canadian workers. Learn more about Future Skills at the following link: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/future-skills.html.

 

 

Presented to the House of Commons
Matthew Green (Hamilton Centre)
February 25, 2021 (Petition No. 432-00559)
Government response tabled
April 12, 2021
Photo - Matthew Green
Hamilton Centre
New Democratic Party Caucus
Ontario

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