Liberal Party Climate Change Platform

Since 2015, the Liberal government has enacted all of the legislation set out in the Overall Summary of Canada’s climate change policies and legislation that we have posted on this website.

They also purchased the Trans-Mountain Pipeline from the Kinder Morgan Corporation and are paying to expand its volume by building a second pipe along the pipeline. This is often colloquially referred to as “TMX” or the “TMX extension”.

The Liberals’ full 2021 platform, entitled “Forward for Everyone”, was released on or about 30 August 2021. Significant policies from the platform are listed in the order in which they appear in that document. 

The Liberal Party would:

  • Continue the increases to the carbon tax, both within the “fuel charge” and the OBPS, under the GGPPA. [The “carbon tax” is now $40 per tonne. It would increase by $15 per tonne each year, until it reaches $170 per tonne in 2030.]
  • Continue other laws and policies previously implemented, such as the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act and the Net-Zero Accelerator Fund.
  • Work with the United States, the European Union and possibly other partners to implement Border Carbon Adjustments (“BCAs”). [N.B.: BCAs are like tariffs on imports from countries that do not have climate change policies as stringent as Canada’s. For example, if Canadian steel is produced with less GHG emissions than Chinese steel but, because of that, Chinese steel is cheaper, BCAs would increase the cost of Chinese steel imports coming into Canada, so that Canada’s steel is competitive. Alternatively, if a Canadian steel manufacturer is exporting steel to China, it could be given  a sum of money to compensate for the fact that it can only sell its steel in China for less money because Chinese steelmakers did not need pay any carbon tax in China. The first industries that could benefit from BCAs include steel, cement, and aluminum. Conceivably, once BCAs are in place, the “carbon tax” on these emissions could be made more stringent, so that something less than the current 80 to 95% of emissions would be “tax free”.]
  • Require the oil and gas sector to reduce emissions “at a pace and scale needed to achieve net-zero by 2050, with 5-year targets to stay on track”. This includes ensuring that emissions from the oil and gas sector do not go up from current levels. They would consult the Net Zero Advisory Body under the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act about 2025 and 2030 reduction targets.
  • Implement more stringent methane regulations, requiring oil and gas companies to reduce methane emissions by at least 75% below 2012 levels by 2030. The Liberals would seek similar methane reduction commitments from other major economies.
  • Ban thermal coal exports from and through Canada by no later than 2030. Thermal coal is burned to create heat for electricity generation and for many industrial processes. Metallurgical coal is used to create coke, which is used in the most common method of making steel, where the coke strips the oxygen from iron ore at extremely high temperatures, to create pure iron, and eventually steel. The ban would only be for thermal coal. See the Net-Zero Accelerator fund, above, about government investments in steel making techniques that emit less GHGs.
  • Eliminate fossil fuel subsidies by 2023. [N.B.: No definition is given of fossil fuel subsidies and opinion varies greatly on what they constitute.]
  • Introduce a “Clean Electricity Standard” that will cut more emissions from electricity generation by 2030 and “achieve a 100% net-zero emitting electricity system by 2035. As part of this, the Liberals would “[c]reate a Pan-Canadian Grid Council to promote infrastructure investments, smart grids, grid integration, [etc.].”
  • Spend a further $1.75 billion, targeted at the aerospace sector, in addition to the $8 billion already announced for the Net Zero Accelerator.
  • Reduce GHGs from heating buildings by providing grants of up to $5,000 for home retrofits.
  • Accelerate the development of the national net-zero emissions model building code and take other actions to reduce GHGs from heating buildings.
  • Extend the $5,000 rebate program for the purchase of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs).
  • Spend an additional $700 million to add 50,000 new electric vehicle chargers.
  • Introduce ZEV regulations (also called a ZEV mandate) by which a fixed and increasing percentage of every automaker’s annual sales must be ZEVs. If the automakers don’t achieve the percentage, they pay a penalty per vehicle missed that makes it economically important to achieve the percentage. The target is that at least 50% of all new light-vehicle sales be zero emissions vehicles in 2030. (The pre-election announcement was that 100% of new vehicle sales would be ZEVs by 2035.)
  • Move forward with Just Transition legislation. In this regard, also establish a $2 billion “Futures Fund” for Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • Accelerate major public transit projects.
  • “[M]ake High Frequency Rail a reality. “We will move forward with the project in the Toronto to Quebec City corridor, with stops in Trois-Rivieres and Peterborough, among others, using electrified technology.”
  • The Liberal target for emissions reduction is 40% to 45% below 2005 levels by 2030.