Dear Minister Guilbeault:
Thank you for agreeing to serve Canadians as Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
From the beginning of this pandemic, Canadians have faced a once-in-a-century challenge. And through it all, from coast to coast to coast, people have met the moment. When it mattered most, Canadians adapted, helped one another, and stayed true to our values of compassion, courage and determination. That is what has defined our path through this pandemic so far. And that is what will pave our way forward.
During a difficult time, Canadians made a democratic choice. They entrusted us to finish the fight against COVID-19 and support the recovery of a strong middle class. At the same time, they also gave us clear direction: to take bold, concrete action to build a healthier, more resilient future. That is what Canadians have asked us to do and it is exactly what our Government is ready to deliver. We will work to build that brighter future through continued collaboration, engagement, and the use of science and evidence-based decision-making. With an unwavering focus on delivering results, we will work constructively with Parliamentarians and maintain our strong partnerships with provincial, territorial and municipal governments and Indigenous partners. This decade has had an incredibly difficult start, but this is the moment to rebuild a more resilient, inclusive and stronger country for everyone.
The science is clear. Canadians have been clear. We must not only continue taking real climate action, we must also move faster and go further. As Canadians are increasingly experiencing across the country, climate change is an existential threat. Building a cleaner, greener future will require a sustained and collaborative effort from all of us. As Minister, I expect you to seek opportunities within your portfolio to support our whole-of-government effort to reduce emissions, create clean jobs and address the climate-related challenges communities are already facing.
This year, Canadians were horrified by the discovery of unmarked graves and burial sites near former residential schools. These discoveries underscore that we must move faster on the path of reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples. We know that reconciliation cannot come without truth and our Government will continue to invest in that truth. As Ministers, each of us has a duty to further this work, both collectively and as individuals. Consequently, I am directing every Minister to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to work in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to advance their rights.
We must continue to address the profound systemic inequities and disparities that remain present in the core fabric of our society, including our core institutions. To this effect, it is essential that Canadians in every region of the country see themselves reflected in our Government’s priorities and our work. As Minister, I expect you to include and collaborate with various communities, and actively seek out and incorporate in your work, the diverse views of Canadians. This includes women, Indigenous Peoples, Black and racialized Canadians, newcomers, faith-based communities, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ2 Canadians, and, in both official languages.
Across our work, we remain committed to ensuring that public policies are informed and developed through an intersectional lens, including applying frameworks such as Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA Plus) and the quality of life indicators in decision-making.
Canadians continue to rely on journalists and journalism for accurate and timely news. I expect you to maintain professional and respectful relationships with journalists to ensure that Canadians are well informed and have the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe.
Throughout the course of the pandemic, Canadians and their governments have adapted to new realities. Governments must draw on lessons learned from the pandemic to further adapt and develop more agile and effective ways to serve Canadians. To this end, I expect all Ministers to evaluate ways we can update our practices to ensure our Government continues to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.
The success of this Parliament will require Parliamentarians, both in the House of Commons and the Senate, to work together across all parties to get big things done for Canadians. I expect you to maintain constructive relationships with your Opposition Critics and coordinate any legislation with the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. As Minister, you are accountable to Parliament both individually, for your style of leadership and the performance of your responsibilities, and collectively, in support of our Ministry and decisions taken by Cabinet. Open and Accountable Government sets out these core principles and the standards of conduct expected of you and your office. I expect you to familiarize yourself with this document, which outlines my expectations for each member of the Ministry.
Our platform lays out an ambitious agenda. While finishing the fight against the pandemic must remain our central focus, we must continue building a strong middle class and work toward a better future where everyone has a real and fair chance at success and no one is left behind.
As Minister of Environment and Climate Change, you will drive our Government’s Climate Plan, delivering on policy and fiscal measures outlined in the Strengthened Climate Plan, adopting additional measures to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. As a matter of priority, you will accelerate the important work of adapting to the impacts of climate change. You will also set out by the end of March 2022, how we will meet our legislated 2030 climate goals. This will include new measures related to capping and cutting oil and gas sector emissions, further reducing methane emissions across the economy, mandating the sale of zero-emissions vehicles and setting us on a path to achieve an electricity grid with net-zero emissions by 2035. You will also work with your colleagues and crown corporations to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies by 2023. Your work to protect communities and our abundant and diverse natural habitats and waters, including by advancing Indigenous-led conservation efforts, will also be crucial to secure a cleaner, healthier and greener future for Canadians.
To realize these objectives, I ask that you achieve results for Canadians by delivering the following commitments.
- Support colleagues across government to ensure delivery of all policy and fiscal measures outlined in our Strengthened Climate Plan, implement the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, and, by the end of March 2022, bring forward an updated Emissions Reduction Plan to achieve a 40 to 45 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels. This will include continuing to engage with Canadian to better communicate the impact of climate changes.
- Work with all Canadians and the Net-Zero Advisory Body to identify ways to further accelerate climate action to achieve net-zero emissions as soon as possible and no later than 2050 and to pursue efforts to limit the increase in average global temperatures to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
- With the support of the Minister of Natural Resources, cap oil and gas sector emissions at current levels and ensure that the sector makes an ambitious and achievable contribution to meeting the country’s 2030 climate goals. This effort will take into account the advice of the Net-Zero Advisory Body and others, including provinces and territories, Indigenous Peoples, industry and civil society, and require the oil and gas sector to reduce emissions at a pace and on a scale needed to align with the achievement of net-zero emissions by 2050, with five-year targets to stay on track.
- Make progress on methane emission reductions by developing a plan to reduce emissions across the broader Canadian economy consistent with the Global Methane Pledge and require through regulations the reduction of oil and gas methane emissions in Canada by at least 75 per cent below 2012 levels by 2030.
- In collaboration with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, continue Canadian leadership in international efforts to combat climate change.
- Work with the Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development to continue Canada’s leadership on the global effort to phase out coal-powered electricity and the mining of thermal coal and ban thermal coal exports from and through Canada as swiftly as possible, and no later than 2030.
- Work with the Minister of International Development to mobilize and provide climate finance in order to support developing country adaptation, mitigation and resilience, including support for small island states at particular risk of climate-related emergencies.
- Support the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry in the implementation of the Net Zero Accelerator initiative, with an emphasis on ensuring that investments drive industrial transition and significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions on a scale consistent with achieving Canada’s climate goals and meaningfully transform Canadian industry to lead and compete in a net-zero emissions future.
- Work with industry, labour and other stakeholders to develop a regulated sales mandate that at least 50 per cent of all new light duty vehicle sales be zero emissions vehicles in 2030 as an interim step toward achieving Canada’s mandatory target of 100 per cent by 2035, and a regulated sales requirement that 100 per cent of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles sales be zero emission by 2040, where feasible.
- With the support of the Minister of Natural Resources, introduce a Clean Electricity Standard to achieve a net-zero clean electricity grid by 2035 and achieve a 100 per cent net-zero emitting electricity future.
- Support efforts to advance the Atlantic Loop initiative to connect surplus clean power to regions transitioning away from coal and to help transform how we power our economy and communities.
- Continue to put a rising price on pollution and protect Canadian jobs and competitiveness through smart carbon pricing design.
- Finalize Canada’s first National Adaptation Strategy in 2022, setting clear goals and indicators to measure progress and strengthen the business case for adaptation.
- Work with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, and with the support of the Minister of Natural Resources, to accelerate our G20 commitment to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies from 2025 to 2023, and develop a plan to phase out public financing of the fossil fuel sector, including by federal Crown corporations.
- Support the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance in working with provinces and territories to move toward mandatory climate-related financial disclosures based on the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures framework, and in requiring federally regulated institutions, including financial institutions, pension funds and government agencies, to issue climate-related financial disclosures and net-zero plans.
- Work with the President of the Treasury Board on the application of a climate lens to ensure climate adaptation and mitigation considerations are integrated throughout federal government decision-making.
- Work with the Minister of Public Safety and the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness, with support of the Minister of Natural Resources, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry and the Sustainable Finance Action Council, to develop a climate data strategy to ensure that the private sector and communities have access to data to inform planning and infrastructure investments.
- With the support of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, establish a Canada Water Agency and implement a strengthened Freshwater Action Plan, including a historic investment to provide funding to protect and restore large lakes and river systems, starting with the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River System, Lake Simcoe, the Lake Winnipeg Basin, the Fraser River Basin and the Mackenzie River Basin. Invest in the Experimental Lakes Area in northern Ontario to support international freshwater science and research.
- Following the establishment of a Canada Water Agency, advance the modernization of the Canada Water Act to reflect Canada’s freshwater reality, including climate change and Indigenous rights.
- To achieve Zero Plastic Waste by 2030:
- Continue to implement the national ban on harmful single-use plastics;
- Require that all plastic packaging in Canada contain at least 50 per cent recycled content by 2030;
- Accelerate the implementation of the zero plastic waste action plan, in partnership with provinces and territories;
- Continue to work with provinces and territories to ensure that producers, not taxpayers, are responsible for the cost of managing their plastic waste;
- Work with provinces and territories to implement and enforce an ambitious recycling target of 90 per cent – aligned with Quebec and the European Union – for plastic beverage containers;
- Introduce labelling rules that prohibit the use of the chasing-arrows symbol unless 80 per cent of Canada’s recycling facilities accept, and have reliable end markets for, these products; and
- Support provincial and territorial producer responsibility efforts by establishing a federal public registry and requiring producers to report annually on plastics in the Canadian economy.
- Work with the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry on the creation of a new infrastructure and innovation fund that will scale-up and commercialize made-in-Canada technologies and solutions for the reuse and recycling of plastics.
- Build on the Ocean Plastics Charter by working with leading countries on the development of a new global agreement on plastics.
- Enact a strengthened Canadian Environmental Protection Act to protect everyone, including people most vulnerable to harm from toxic substances and those living in communities where exposure is high.
- Identify, and prioritize the clean-up of, contaminated sites in areas where Indigenous Peoples, racialized and low- income Canadians live.
- Recognize the “right to a healthy environment” in federal law and introduce legislation to require the development of an environmental justice strategy and the examination of the link between race, socio-economic status and exposure to environmental risk.
- Work with the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry to implement a “right to repair” to extend the life of home appliances, particularly electronics, and require businesses to inform Canadians of the environmental impacts of consumer products.
- Work with the Minister of Health to implement a comprehensive action plan to protect Canadians, including firefighters, from exposure to toxic flame retardants found in household products.
- Continue to work with the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard and partners to ensure Canada meets its goals to conserve 25 per cent of our lands and waters by 2025 and 30 per cent of each by 2030, working to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030 in Canada, achieve a full recovery for nature by 2050 and champion this goal internationally. You will ensure that this work remains grounded in science, Indigenous knowledge and local perspectives.
- Work with First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners to support new Indigenous Guardians programs and establish new Indigenous Guardians Networks, and support Indigenous communities to build capacity to establish more Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas.
- Establish 10 new national parks and 10 new national marine conservation areas (NMCAs) in the next five years, working with Indigenous communities on co-management agreements for these national parks and NMCAs.
- To ensure all Canadians have access to green space, establish at least one new national urban park in every province and territory, with a target of 15 new urban parks by 2030. You will also invest in existing national parks, with more Canadians than ever before visiting these sites.
- Support the Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance in developing a national trails tourism strategy.
- In collaboration with the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and the Minister of Indigenous Services, continue to work in partnership with First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation to address climate change and its impacts, and chart collaborative strategies.
- Work with the Minister of Natural Resources to help protect old growth forests, notably in British Columbia, by reaching a nature agreement with B.C., establishing a $50 million B.C. Old Growth Nature Fund, and ensuring First Nations, local communities and workers are partners in shaping the path forward for nature protection.
- Continue to build and connect the Trans Canada Trail and create new opportunities for Canadians to access it, by increasing annual funding and growing the trail network to help create 10,000 jobs over the next five years.
- Invest in the Meteorological Service of Canada to upgrade infrastructure, including information technology, to ensure it continues to effectively perform its vital functions of monitoring changes in the weather, climate, water, ice and air quality, and predicting weather and environmental conditions.
- Work with partners to curb illegal wildlife trade and end elephant and rhinoceros tusk trade in Canada.
- Introduce legislation to protect animals in captivity.
- Introduce comprehensive legislation to protect federally-owned historic places.
As Minister, you are also responsible for actively engaging with your Cabinet and Caucus colleagues. As we deliver on our platform commitments, it will be important that members of the Ministry continue to collaborate and work constructively to support rigorous and productive Cabinet decision-making. I expect you to support your colleagues in delivering their commitments, leveraging the expertise of your department and your own lived experiences.
To best achieve results for Canadians, Ministers must be rigorous and coordinated in our approach to implementation. I would therefore ask that you return to me with a proposed approach for the delivery of your mandate commitments, including priorities for early implementation. Furthermore, to ensure we are accountable for our work, I will be asking you to publicly report to me, and all Canadians, on your progress toward these commitments on a regular basis.
As we have been reminded throughout the pandemic, adapting to change is not only something government should do, it is something government must do. As you work to fulfil our commitments, I expect you to actively consider new ideas and issues as they emerge, whether through public engagement, your work with Parliamentarians or advice from the public service. I also expect you to work with your Deputy Minister to assess priorities on a continual basis as we build a better future for all Canadians. In addition to achieving results, you are responsible for overseeing the work of your department and ensuring the effective operation of your portfolio.
As you staff your office and implement outreach and recruitment strategies for federally appointed leadership positions and boards, I ask that you uphold the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion. This helps ensure that federal workplaces are dynamic and reflective of the Canadians we serve. You will also ensure your Minister’s office and portfolio are reflective of our commitment to healthy and safe workplaces.
Canadians expect us to work hard, speak truthfully and be committed to advancing their interests and aspirations. When we make mistakes – as we all will – Canadians expect us to acknowledge them, and most importantly, to learn from them.
I know I can count on you to fulfill the important responsibilities entrusted in you, and to turn to me, and the Deputy Prime Minister, early and often to support you in your role as Minister.
Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
*This Ministerial Mandate Letter was signed by the Prime Minister in the Minister’s first official language.