Ottawa, June 29, 2021 – In its last sitting before adjournment for the summer, the Senate of Canada adopted Bill C-12, the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, without amendment, making it Canada’s first government-initiated climate accountability law.

Climate accountability legislation is crucial to achieve Canada’s international commitments under the Paris Agreement and finally addressing the climate emergency by joining the global race to net-zero. Since Canada has consistently failed to set rigorous targets and failed to achieve said targets, this bill is the first step in correcting our trajectory and finally embarking on a path to climate action founded in science and Indigenous knowledge.

The bill, composed of 29 sections, was significantly strengthened by more than 30 amendments adopted by the House of Commons. Meanwhile, the Senate Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources had undertaken a pre-study of the bill in anticipation that the bill would be received at the Senate at the 11th hour.

As the Senate sponsor of the bill, the Honourable Rosa Galvez (independent Senator for Québec) celebrates the passage of this historic piece of legislation while also recognizing the need to improve accountability measures, the administrative independence of its staple Net-Zero Advisory Body, and the inclusion scientific expertise at every opportunity.

A comprehensive parliamentary review will give parliamentarians an opportunity to assess implementation efforts and identify improvements to the law five years after its coming into force.

Rosa Galvez is an environmental engineer, a professor at Laval University in Québec, an independent senator for Québec and president of the Parliamentary Network on Climate Change of ParlAmericas. She was sponsor in the Senate for Bill C-12.

Quotes

On the importance of climate accountability

“Finally, Canada adopts a comprehensive climate accountability framework joining 14 other countries which have followed the lead of the tried and tested UK Climate Change Act that has guided the UK through record greenhouse gas emissions reductions since 2008. We are late to the race and given our history of failures to meet unambitious targets, we need this methodically planned framework to hold this and all consecutive governments accountable for demonstrating how they will achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Governments will no longer be able to set climate targets without being accountable to Canadians on their plan to achieve our objectives.”

On the history of climate legislation in the Senate of Canada

“In the past, the Senate has rubberstamped the dismantling of environmental legislation in Canada and twice killed climate legislation adopted by a majority in the House of Commons. By adopting Bill C‑12, the Senate has finally broken with its shameful record of killing climate and environmental legislation and has given future generations their best chance with early action crucial to address the climate emergency.”

On climate and Indigenous issues

“In its amendments of Bill C-12 at the House of Commons, the government has acknowledged the unquestionable importance of respecting Indigenous knowledge and rights in achieving our climate targets. Indigenous Peoples of Canada have deep-rooted traditions of climate protection and environmental stewardship; thus, climate accountability is also a step towards reconciliation.”

Find more resources on Bill C-12 here
Find the Senate pre-study report on Bill C-12 here
Learn more about Senator Rosa Galvez
Follow Senator Rosa Galvez on Twitter or Facebook @SenRosaGalvez

For more information please contact

Karine Péloffy | Parliamentary Affairs Advisor | Office of Senator Rosa Galvez
343-548-1495 | Karine.Peloffy@sen.parl.gc.ca