Bill C-12: Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act
Bill C-12 is now law: the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act. It was passed by the House of Commons on June 23 and by the Senate on June 29. It has now received Royal Assent.
The act is intended to make the federal government accountable for reaching our greenhouse-gas-reduction targets. This is crucial. Canada has never come close to meeting its targets, while the rest of the G7 countries’ emissions are falling.
The legislation isn’t as strong as Climate Messengers Canada and many other groups were pushing for. However, many amendments are headed in the right direction, including a requirement that the act be reviewed in five years. The new climate accountability act is better than the original Bill C-12, and far better than having no climate accountability legislation in Canada.
Our Report Card on Bill C-12’s Amendments
The House of Commons ENVI Committee — tasked with examining and amending the original bill — gets a C-. This report card outlines the changes needed to adequately strengthen the bill, and how well the committee addressed them in their amendments:
~ Bill C-12 Report Card (PDF)
Failing Grade: The ENVI Committee Read Only a Small Fraction of the Bill C-12 Briefs
Sixty-five of the 73 briefs submitted to the ENVI Committee were sent to the committee after the deadline for committee members to propose amendments. That means the members didn’t get to read them before the amendment process, and the excellent information in the briefs was not taken into account.
The briefs included Indigenous groups, individuals, scientists and environmental groups. Climate Messengers Canada submitted a brief, and a separate brief was submitted by one of our members.
The briefs were submitted by the deadline on May 17. But then on May 20, the committee chair, Francis Scarpaleggia informed the committee that amendment proposals must be done by the next day! Most of the briefs were not translated and given to members until May 25-28, after the “clause-by-clause” amendment process started.
This video expains the whole story:
The Flaws in the Original Bill C-12
These short videos explain the problems with the original draft of Bill C-12 and why improving it was so important: