Media Release: Act C12 Sets Canada on a Course for a Better Tomorrow

Media Release: Act C12 Sets Canada on a Course for a Better Tomorrow

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, June 30, 2021
Media Contact: Cathy Orlando 705-929-4043

Sudbury ON: The planet is in a moment that will be talked about for centuries. A world heat record has been crushed on three consecutive days by a statistically unfathomable margin of +4.6°C (+8°F) in Lytton, British Columbia.

And during this historical moment, Canadian Senators voted for science and cooperation to lead the way forward in dealing with the climate emergency.  On Tuesday, June 29, 2021, the Senate passed Bill C12, the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act.

“C-12 is not a plan to make a plan. [It’s] about Canada finally joining the club. Climate accountability is greatly needed in Canada to set the path for a better future for our children and grandchildren,” said Senator Rosa Galvez.

The Act will:

  • Establish a long-term target of reaching net-zero emissions in 2050;
  • Legislate setting five-year milestone emissions reductions targets starting in 2030, with an interim objective in 2026;
  • Require climate targets to be set 10 years in advance;
  • Create a framework for detailed climate policy planning and progress reporting;
  • Legislate a Net-Zero Advisory Body composed of diverse stakeholders and rights-holders to advise the Environment and Climate Change Minister on targets and plans;
  • Require the Minister to consider the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in climate planning and target-setting;
  • Mandate a legislative review of the Bill 5 years after its adoption.

The passing of Act C12 comes on the backdrop of a leaked IPCC draft about climate tipping points. The impacts are likely to be much closer than most people realize,  and will fundamentally reshape life in the coming decades even if greenhouse gas emissions are brought under some control.

Although Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) Canada is known for pushing for carbon pricing legislation, in the spring of 2019, their volunteers determined that they would also lobby parliamentarians for legislation akin to the climate accountability legislation in countries such as the United Kingdom and New Zealand.  Since May 2019, volunteers in CCL Canada have recorded 303 lobbying sessions with parliamentarians. The volunteers also collaborated with other grassroots organizations to kick-start the second reading of bill C12 in the House of Commons by participating in a series of coordinated Twitter actions in the spring of 2021.

“It is an undeniable fact that we are in a climate emergency,” says Cathy Orlando, National Director of Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada. “We have been in a state of climate confusion as a country since the early 2000s, instigated by a heinous climate denial machine. The next generation needs us to shift the paradigm fast. We will do this by listening to the experts and cooperating using Act C12 as the framework.”

Citizens’ Climate Lobby has come full-circle. In 2010, the core group that began Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada was formed from a group that created the political will for Jack Layton’s Climate Accountability Bill C311.  A decade later almost to the day Bill C311 was killed in the senate under unfortunate circumstances, Bill C12 was introduced. This time around, many environmental groups across Canada were fighting for climate accountability.

“Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast from many organizations spoke truth to power and were heard. This is what a healthy democracy looks like,” says Orlando. “Act C12 set us on a course for a better tomorrow. We have only just begun.”