- Net-zero by 2050 is necessary: Canada has a responsibility to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis.
- Net-zero is not just government policy: national and global economic and policy trends are driving towards net-zero—and building momentum.
- There remains uncertainty about what net-zero will mean concretely for daily life, like the reliability of cars, the affordability of energy, the availability of products, and the nature of work: better communication will be essential to help people understand the benefits and trade-offs.
- There are interrelated crises facing Canadians: public health, nature and biodiversity, social and economic inequities, and climate change should be viewed and addressed holistically, with common solutions.
We heard that there is no silver bullet— we cannot leave ANY tools in the toolbox
Canadians expect the right combination of public policy tools to be used to enable the net-zero transformation. Problems that require intervention must be understood at the root, so that they
can be appropriately addressed. We heard agreement that—from permits, standards, contracting, incentives, and regulations—
the government should use the full suite of policy instruments, effectively and cohesively.
We heard that workers should have supports to seize new opportunities and lead the transition
There is broad support for a fair and equitable transition for workers employed in emissions-intensive industries. However, many believe that current plans and resources are insufficient and too slow. There is support to re-prioritize and introduce a Just Transition Act. Many agree there is an unmet demand for strategies to develop a net-zero workforce with the potential for significant job and local economy benefits. For example, a mass effort to retrofit buildings for net-zero can drive employment and economic development; realizing these advantages will require a strategy for training, skills development, and certification in related trades.
We heard that collaboration and shared leadership are essential
Within a coherent national net-zero framework, there is support for net-zero policies that respect regional challenges in northern, rural and western communities. This is a recognition that there are different barriers, unique opportunities, and uneven impacts across Canada, notably for Indigenous peoples. Beyond governmental collaboration, there is broad agreement that working across a diverse group of rights-holders and stakeholders is
important. Many raised the potential to work with large, medium, and small businesses as partners, to ensure the entire value
chain is included. We frequently heard how communities need a greater role in the net- zero transition. We heard that collaboration and support for environmental non-profits and youth associations with sustainability objectives could help increase community- level advocacy.
CANADIANS EXPECT THE PATH TO NET-ZERO WILL:
See Canada do its fair share to reduce GHG emissions
- Eliminate emissions wherever possible
- Minimize or capture emissions that cannot be eliminated
- Use legitimate offsets as a last resort
Go beyond mitigating GHGs emissions
- Apply trade, social, economic, and labour lenses
- Expand sustainable supply chains, products, and practices
- Reposition and leverage the assets and competitive advances of every sector in the Canadian economy
Turn best practices into applied practices
- Increase transparency, feasibility, and collaboration
- Reflect the best available science and Indigenous knowledge to prevent global warming beyond 1.5 degrees C
- Use credible and transparent data, measurement, and modelling assumptions
Increase the demand and supply of non-emitting electricity
- Meet or exceed commitment to produce 90% non-emitting electricity
- Increase stringency of emissions pricing and regulation in the electricity sector
- Support households to switch to electricity-powered products (e.g., home heating/cooling and cars)
- Fund resilient, efficient, localized electricity infrastructure
Support justice, fairness, and equity
- Advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and the full implementation of domestic and international rights
- Maintain a high quality of life for Canadians
- Ensure benefits of a net-zero economy are distributed fairly and equitably to benefit historically marginalized groups
“It’s important to re-imagine more sustainable lifestyles, and more equitable systems within which we want to live.”
“Recognise that Canada is a vast country and housing home heating in Downtown Toronto is not the same as housing and home heating is in Nunavut. We all have different needs and our opinions are shaped by our circumstances so we need to include everyone and not let one group’s voices drown out another’s.”
“All Canadians and every level of government need to understand that this is going to be a huge shift. At present, the feds are more motivated than most provinces on this issue. We need provinces to be equal leaders, to keep pace with other nations.”
“Maintaining energy affordability by ensuring reliable supply to meet demand is key for the public acceptance and long-term durability of Canadian climate policy.”
“There is a strategic place for the electrification of the economy but right now, the major decision makers are provinces and territories. How will this change to electrification be coordinated and funded with so many actors?”
NZAB’S CROSSCUTTING THEMES
The five crosscutting themes we identified when we began our work clearly emerged throughout the engagement process.
Jobs and Economic Recovery
- Capitalize on domestic manufacturing potential
- Grow and recover activities lost or reduced during COVID-19, including use of public services
- Connect COVID-19 displaced workers with jobs in clean economy
- Maintain and grow Canada’s economic competitiveness
- Prioritize support for industries that are set to grow in a net-zero economy
- Establish net-zero project investment criteria for technology and infrastructure projects
- Support research and sustainable project demonstrations
- Invest in research and development for technologies needed to get to 2050
Indigenous Rights and Reconciliation
- Honour and uphold international and domestic Indigenous rights and knowledge, by adhering to UNDRIP (articles 18, 20 and 32) and Section 35 rights
- Support Indigenous-led strategies and increase participation in federal strategies
- Encourage ownership in clean energy and other Indigenous-led opportunities
Equitable and Inclusive Transition
- Invest in affected workers and communities
- Consider social and economic impacts of decisions
- Support marginalized and equity seeking groups
- Provide direct community supports and involvement
Finance and Capital Mobilization
- Create the conditions for necessary public and private finance, while avoiding investing in assets at risk of being stranded or dead-ends
- Invest in Canadian-made technologies to eliminate, reduce, or capture emissions
- Prioritize investments that achieve the biggest reductions