United States-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC): What the Joint Action Plan means for the environment

Washington, D.C.
7 December 2011

Canada and the U.S. have a long history of collaborating on joint environmental challenges, from the shared stewardship of trans-boundary waters to the protection of migratory wildlife. Air emissions are an important area of collaboration, given that air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions cross national boundaries. The 1991 Canada-U.S. Air Quality Agreement, for example, committed both countries to reducing acid rain, and has since been expanded to address other challenges.

The highly integrated nature of our economies also makes it essential for both countries to work together to pursue common regulations where appropriate. To combat climate change and air quality issues, Canada and the U.S. have implemented aggressive and aligned emissions standards in the transportation sector. Continuing progressive action to reduce greenhouse gases from vehicles is a priority for both countries as is maintaining safety, environmental standards and protections.

The following is a summary of the ways in which the Joint Action Plan aims to enhance regulatory cooperation on environmental issues:

  • Increase technical cooperation and testing for vehicle greenhouse gas emission standards for cars and light trucks (model years 2017-25);
  • Work jointly to develop potential greenhouse gas emissions regulations for locomotives; and
  • Aim to expand the Canada-U.S. Air Quality Agreement to address particulate matter.

More details on these and other Regulatory Cooperation Council Joint Action Plan measures are available at http://actionplan.gc.ca/border.