Background

Bill C-311 passed third reading (149-136) in the House of Commons on May 5, and was introduced in the Senate on May 6. The bill was originally tabled as Bill C-377 (it died when the 2008 election was called). View the full text of Bill C-311 as posted on the Parliament of Canada’s website, www.parl.gc.ca

Bill C-311 summary:

  • Sets Canada’s long-term Green House Gas (GHG) emissions target to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 and medium-term target of 25% below 1990 levels by 2020.  The current Canadian government target is 17% below 2005 levels by 2020.  Bill C-311 would change this target to an estimated 40% below 2005 levels.
  • Requires the minister of the environment to establish targets for five-year intervals from 2015 to 2045, along with the evidence used to determine these targets.
  • Provides authority and obligation to regulate.
  • Requires regulations to be in place by December 31, 2009 for 2015 targets and 10 years prior to each successive target.
  • Requires the minister of the environment to report on progress by May 31 each year.
  • Regular reviews of GHG emission reduction plans by the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE) 

Expected progress

  • Second reading debate of the bill is expected to occur in early June.
  • It will likely be referred to Senate Committee on Energy, Environment and Natural Resources; this committee is busy with energy issues until at least mid-June.
  • Current senate standings: Conservatives: 51, Liberal: 49, Other: 5 (McCoy [PC], Murray [PC], Pitfield [Ind], Rivest [Ind], Cools). 

What this means for Canadian business

  • If Bill C-311 passes, the federal government would be required to develop emission reduction plans and regulations for 2015 and 2020 targets immediately.
  • The gap between the U.S. target of 17% and a Canadian target of 40% (from 2005 levels) would have a fundamental impact on Canada’s competitiveness. 

What you can do

Bill C-311 must die in the Senate. This will require significant lobbying by Canadian business. Personalize the template letter that we have prepared for our chamber/board of trade members and send it to the senators from your region to ensure that they plan to vote against this bill. 

For a current listing of senators, please visit the Parliament of Canada’s website: www.parl.gc.ca/common/senmemb/senate/isenator.asp

For more information on this bill, contact Scott Campbell, director, environment and energy policy, at [email protected] or at 416.868.6415 (228).