West Coast Reacts: Federal climate bill is a critical juncture for Canada

Lawyers say changes are needed for the law to show true climate leadership

VICTORIA, BC, Lekwungen Territories – Environmental lawyers say the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act tabled today by the federal government contains some of the key ingredients needed to ensure Canada does its fair share to avoid a global climate catastrophe, but express concern that the bill may push off ambitious action into the future. 
According to lawyers with West Coast Environmental Law, to be effective a federal climate law must include mandatory emissions reductions targets based on expert advice, plans to achieve those targets, and measures to hold government to account.

 Statements from West Coast lawyers:

"Climate accountability legislation is critical to ensuring Canada meets its climate obligations. But to be effective, the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act will need to prioritize immediate climate action by setting a 2025 target, and ensure that all the targets we set are as ambitious as possible. It also needs stronger requirements to ensure those targets are actually met. 
We will be looking to all federal parties in the upcoming weeks to work together to strengthen this bill so that Canadians can trust it will help secure the future of our children and meaningfully address the climate crisis.”

- Andrew Gage, Staff Lawyer

“Climate accountability laws have been successful in other jurisdictions, such as the United Kingdom, gaining cross-partisan support and helping countries make meaningful progress on reducing GHG emissions. We look forward to working with the government to ensure this legislation is as strong or stronger than the models we’ve seen internationally. 
There’s no time left to waste. The Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act is a crucial opportunity for Canada to move towards climate accountability, and our legal team will be analyzing the details in the coming days to determine whether and how the proposed law can actually get us where we need to go.”


For more information, please contact:

Andrew Gage | Staff Lawyer
250-412-9784, agage@wcel.org 

Anna Johnston | Staff Lawyer
604-340-2304, ajohnston@wcel.org