The Hon. Steven Guilbeault’s prioritises to help reach Canada’s net-zero targets by 2050, as charted here by Open Access Government, including the health angle
The Government of Canada is determined to fight climate change and lower greenhouse gas emissions boldly and immediately while strengthening its economy with clean industrial growth and sustainable jobs. The 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan, announced in March 2022, is a roadmap that aims to reach Canada’s net-zero targets.
This roadmap will chart a sector-by-sector road for Canada to achieve their “climate target of 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels”, as The Hon. Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change puts it – an ambition that lies on the road towards net-zero emissions by 2050. (1)
The Net-Zero Challenge for Canada
In August 2022, Minister Guilbeault heralded the Net-Zero Challenge, a national voluntary initiative for businesses in Canada. Participating companies commit to developing and implementing reasonable measures to help the transition to Canada’s net-zero targets before 2050.
We must take climate change action seriously is the spirit of this initiative. For firms who join and stay with the program, there are minimum requirements plus annual progress reports submitted and five-year updates produced.
As a result, companies gain technical guidance, learn best practices, and can highlight their dedication to reaching Canada’s net-zero targets. In addition, the steps will complement the regulatory measures and investments of the Government of Canada to strengthen the clean economy and fight climate change.
Minister Guilbeault encourages businesses to participate: “Businesses planning for the future can see already that it pays to be part of the low-carbon economy of the 21st century. The Net-Zero Challenge is designed to challenge businesses, big and small, to transition to cleaner ways of doing business, and offers both the tools and recognition to support their efforts. At the same time, the Net-Zero Challenge will be backed by solid reporting requirements so that we can be sure that businesses are meeting its high standards. I encourage businesses to look into joining!” the Minister says. (2)
Government of Canada suppliers must disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and set targets for reduction through a recent update on the Net-Zero Challenge. “Since its launch, over 40 companies have joined the Net-Zero Challenge, and we are now expanding the program to include public entities and local government. Climate change means business and businesses are stepping up,” Minister Guilbeault explains. (3)
Net-Zero Government Initiative
The Government of Canada pledged to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from its operations before 2050 by employing the Greening Government Strategy. At COP 27, Minister Guilbeault, with the Honourable Mona Fortier, President of the Treasury Board of Canada, proclaimed that Canada is now part of the Net-Zero Government Initiative. Minister Guilbeault commended the United States for its leadership in initiating the Net-Zero Government Initiative to nations globally at COP 27.
“We must aggressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions while building a clean and low-carbon economy. The Government of Canada is leading by example by greening our own operations,” Minister Guilbeault added. (4)
We also learn that the Government of Canada invests in 24 science and technology projects to help reach the net-zero greenhouse gas emissions goal by 2050 and advance science and technology to combat climate change.
“Scientific research underpins everything we do to fight climate change. This funding provides critical support, allowing government and academia to work together in exploring practical and achievable climate change solutions. By leveraging our unique expertise, we can foster collaboration across disciplines, sectors, communities, and research bodies, the Minister comments. (5)
Health & climate change in Canada
The Chief Public Health Officer of Canada’s Report on the State of Public Health in Canada 2022 Executive summary says climate change is the most significant health threat people in Canada and globally face. (6) Climate change is also burdening Canada’s health care system. Still, with the Climate Change and Health Adaptation Capacity Building Program (HealthADAPT), the Government of Canada is acting to support the health sector to respond to, and prepare for, the effects of climate change.
Through HealthADAPT, 10 Canadian health authorities received federal funding for projects that look at climate-driven health risks. Most of the HealthADAPT projects, reported as wrapping up in November 2022, incorporated an assessment to increase the understanding of how communities could be vulnerable to climate change impacts from a health standpoint.
Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health in Canada, explains how Canada’s health care system adapts to climate change better. “Climate change is the single biggest threat to human health and without urgent action, it will continue to result in injury, illness, and death. A strengthened public health system is a key partner on climate action, including by helping communities understand and adapt to the inevitable effects of a changing climate. These HealthADAPT projects will help us achieve just that.” (7)
The road to Canada’s net-zero targets
In January 2023, Minister Guilbeault welcomed the 2022 Annual Report from the Net-Zero Advisory Body, detailing information and advice concerning practices and policies on the journey to net-zero. In a statement, the Minister noted that Canada increased its greenhouse gas emissions reduction target under the Paris Agreement to 40-45 per cent below 2005 levels before 2030, which will help the country on the journey towards net-zero emissions by 2050. A good place to close this article is with the words of the Minister himself about the report inspiring confidence to achieve Canada’s net-zero targets.
“The Net-Zero Advisory Body’s thorough report not only helps inspire confidence in our goal of achieving net zero, but also provides important advice on pathways for action. Importantly, the Net-Zero Advisory Body makes the case that this must be an all-hands-on-deck effort, with buy-in from finance and industry groups, provinces, territories, and municipalities. Indigenous engagement is vital. The federal government cannot achieve this alone, but we will continue to make the investments and policy choices required to help foster the conditions for successful, sustainable improvement.
“I would like to thank the Net-Zero Advisory Body members for their advice. Gathering ideas, conducting research, and analyzing pathways are key to informing the actions necessary to reach our climate goals.” (8)
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