Canada is at a climate governance inflection point. To confront the threat of a warming and increasingly volatile climate, the federal government has committed to reducing greenhouse gas pollution by 40 to 45 per cent by 2030 on the path to net zero emissions by 2050.

To reach its 2030 and 2050 climate goals, Canada must now shift toward the implementation of ambitious climate policy that builds on the established framework.

The first Emissions Reduction Plan that was published in March 2022 is an important first requirement of the Emissions Accountability Act. It must establish an emissions reduction objective for 2026, aligned with the 2030 milestone, and, crucially, it must be both credible and adaptive to ensure Canada can develop and implement a policy package to reach those targets.

Our report proposes a framework for an effective Emissions Reduction Plan that draws on the Emissions Accountability Act, international best practices in stocktaking, policy expertise from the Institute’s Expert Panels, and the Institute’s experience in independent policy assessment.


As a first level of credibility, the Emissions Reduction Plan must identify, as per the Emissions Accountability Act, national milestones that are consistent with a national emissions pathway to net zero by 2050.

A credible Emissions Reduction Plan should identify federal, provincial, and territorial policy measures capable of delivering on the milestones or objective.

A credible Emissions Reduction Plan would support governance processes to take stock, update, and course correct, adjusting for uncertainty and updating policy on a routine basis consistent with changing circumstances and new information. The Plan would embrace an iterative process by design.


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