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Bill C-12: The Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act Explained

Updated: Jan 21, 2021

The federal government has announced Bill C-12: the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act. The purpose of this bill is to reiterate their commitment to meeting the net-zero emissions goal for 2050. It provides a legally-binding process for the federal government to set national targets and bring forward climate action plans every 5 years on a rolling basis from 2030 to 2050.

Under the act, it is required that:

  • Climate action plans presented by the federal government be independently reviewed by the Commissioner of Environment and Sustainable Development in order to provide third-party critique of climate action plans to Canadians

  • A report to be tabled in parliament detailing reasons and corrective actions to be taken for targets that are not met

  • A report to be published annually by the federal government detailing how departments and Crown Corporations are considering financial risks and opportunities of climate change in all of their decision-making

The planning and reporting required under this act is intended to ensure that accountability is taken by the federal government moving forward for their plans to meet the 2050 net-zero emissions goal, provide transparency for Canadians with regards to these plans and their implications, and ensure better decision-making in terms of climate action moving forward. This bill is at its first reading in the House of Commons as of November 19.


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