Newfoundland and Labrador
Current majority government:
Premier: Andrew Furey, Liberal Party
Number of Members of Legislative Assembly in NL: 40
Liberal Party: 23
Progressive Conservative: 12
New Democratic Party: 3
Find your Member of the Legislative Assembly here: (2)
Environmental stance of majority party:
According to the government’s mid-term update on the progress of its climate action plan, of the 45 commitments detailed in The Way Forward Plan, 30 are completed, and the remaining 15 are in the works. Some of the completed commitments include the implementation of a provincially-developed carbon pricing system, and creating a program to support the retrofitting of heavy-duty trucks and trailers through the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund (3).
Despite the completion of some of these commitments, working towards the ultimate goal of being net zero by 2050, the current provincial government actively advocated for and continues to support the progress of the Bay du Nord project that will result in deepwater drilling for oil in the ocean floor off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. The government claims that the Bay du Nord project will only contribute 0.1% to national oil and gas emissions, and 0.03% of national emissions (4).
Percentage of 2020/2021 budget estimated to be allocated to the environment:
Total 2023-2024 Estimated Budget: $9,912,038,000
Total 2022-2023 Estimated Spending: $8,472,998,000
Environment and Climate Change:
Estimated Budget for 2023-2024: $87,135,000 (0.88% of the budget)
Estimated 2022-2023 Spending: $28,015,200 (0.33% of the budget)
$59,119,800 projected funding increase from 2022-2023 to 2023-2024
Fisheries, Forestry, and Agriculture:
Estimated Budget for 2023-2024: $107,104,000 (1.08% of the budget)
Estimated 2022-2023 Spending: $76,981,900 (0.91% of the budget)
$30,122,100 projected funding increase from 2022-2023 to 2023-2024
Industry, Energy, and Technology:
Estimated Budget for 2023-2024: $198,450,700 (2.00% of the budget)
Estimated 2022-2023 Spending: $437,965,600 (5.17% of the budget)
$239,514,900 projected funding decrease from 2022-2023 to 2023-2024 (5)
Main provincial-level legislation for environment protection:
Forest Protection Act (1990):
Develop and maintain forest conservation.
Aquaculture Act (1991):
Govern the conduct of aquaculture in order to promote the prudent and orderly development of the aquaculture industry.
Environmental Protection Act (2002):
Protect the environment and quality of life of the province’s people and facilitate the management of the province’s natural resources.
Sustainable Development Act (2007):
To respect the sustainable development of natural resources in the province.
Management of Greenhouse Gas Act (2016):
Regulate the greenhouse gas emissions from industrial facilities in the province. (6)
Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Act (2006):
An Act granting the Lieutenant-Governor in Council the powers to identify different areas of the province as ‘wilderness reserves’ to allow for limited, regulated human interaction with the ecosystem, and ‘ecological reserves’ for the preservation of distinct ecosystems and species, as well as opportunities for research of these areas (7).
Specific government-based environmental programs:
Electric Vehicle Rebate Program:
When purchasing or leasing an all-electric vehicle, citizens are entitled to a $2,500 rebate, and a $1,500 rebate for the leasing or purchase of a plug-in hybrid (8).
Home Energy Savings Program:
Government-provided financial assistance is being provided to allow those in low-income ($32,500 per year or less) households to update their homes to be more energy efficient. The government has committed upwards of $5,000 in grants per single, row, and semi-detached house (9).
Oil to Electric Rebate Program:
The provincial government of Newfoundland and Labrador is offering up to $5,000 in rebates for homeowners transitioning the heating system of their home from being one reliant on oil to being reliant on electricity (10).
Climate Change Challenge Fund:
$33 million in funding is being provided as grants to support business, industries, municipalities, Indigenous communities/organizations, and public sector organizations developing and implementing greenhouse gas reduction projects across the province (11).
The Way Forward - On Climate Change in Newfoundland and Labrador:
The province’s climate change action plan to achieve provincial climate goals like a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030 (12).
Next election date:
On or before October 10th 2023. (13)
In 2020, a public advisory council (the Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Advisory Council or WERAC) released a report about protected areas planning in NL based on public comments. In 2021, 6.9% of the province was protected, and 18.9% of those surveyed believed more land should be under provincial protection (14).
Scientists are predicting sea levels in Newfoundland & Labrador to increase by 70 to 100 cm into 2099. These estimates could occur faster or slower depending on how quickly glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica melt. Similarly, they are predicting more frequent large rain and snow events, with a higher potential for regional flooding.
Newfoundland & Labrador is a province that is highly reliant on oil exploration, exports, sales, and consumption to support its economy and important public services, as well as providing employment to many individuals (15).