Protecting our air, land, and water, securing our future
This summer, Canadians watched in horror as temperatures repeatedly smashed record levels, and out of control wildfires endangered lives and communities. Smoke from fires hundreds of kilometres away blanketed major cities throughout the country. And excessive heat has taken hundreds of lives.
Consecutive Liberal and Conservative governments have continuously failed to meaningfully tackle this crisis. Justin Trudeau can’t talk his way out of the climate crisis, and the Conservatives can’t be allowed to drag us back to a time before the climate emergency was acknowledged.
We have seen with COVID-19 that emergencies need to be tackled urgently and with the political will to do what it takes. The climate crisis remains an urgent priority and an existential threat. It calls on all of us to be courageous, act decisively, and be accountable. Future generations are counting on us. We can show that we are equal to the challenge.
Our commitments to you
Taking climate leadership and getting to net-zero
Creating good jobs in all regions
Improving where we live and work
Changing how we get around
Powering our communities carbon-free
Protecting our land and water
Taking climate leadership and getting to net-zero
After having overseen emissions increases every single year in which they have been in power, the Liberals have set a target that is not in line with what the best available science says is needed, and won’t do enough to prevent the catastrophic consequences of warming above 1.5 degrees.
Parliament recently passed C-12, to put in law our collective commitment to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. New Democrats are proud of the role we have played in getting here – from Jack Layton’s advocacy for climate accountability legislation almost 15 years ago, to our success in ensuring C-12 included short-term accountability measures – measures that will be so critical in setting Canada up to meet those targets.
C-12 was a step in the right direction, but it was not the bill New Democrats would have written. New Democrats are committed to helping stabilize the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. To that end we will set a target of reducing Canada’s emissions by at least 50% from 2005 levels by 2030, reaching further wherever possible to account for Canada’s fair share. We know that reaching net-zero by 2050 means taking action now, during the term of this next Parliament. We will work with partners to establish multi-year national and sectoral carbon budgets as a key guiding framework to develop Canada’s path to 2030 and beyond. And we will create and fund a Climate Accountability Office, to provide independent oversight of federal climate progress, to engage the public, and to make recommendations on how to achieve our goals.
Putting a price on carbon has been an important tool in efforts to drive emissions reductions. We will continue with carbon pricing while making it fairer and rolling back loopholes this Liberal government has given to big polluters. But we also recognize that carbon pricing won’t be enough to tackle the climate crisis. Further action is needed.
Building on net-zero legislation will also be a priority for a New Democratic government. We will support Canada’s net-zero target by reviewing financial legislation, such as the Bank of Canada Act, the Export Development Canada Act, and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act, to ensure federal financial levers and Crown corporations are aligned with the goal of net-zero. We will work with provinces to put in place a framework for corporate climate accountability to ensure mandatory transparency on carbon risk from publicly traded companies. And we will ensure that strict rules are in place to prevent big companies from using the purchase of offsets as a way to escape their net-zero obligations.
One thing we won’t do is continue down the path that Liberal and Conservative governments have chosen when it comes to spending public money on oil and gas subsidies. Under Prime Minister Trudeau, the federal government spent $18 billion to support oil and gas exploration, production, refining, transportation and more in 2020 alone – and that’s on top of purchasing the Kinder-Morgan oil pipeline. New Democrats know that public funds are best spent supporting the transition to renewable energy, rather than on profitable oil and gas companies. We will fulfill Canada’s G-20 commitment to eliminate these fossil fuel subsidies and redirect these funds to low carbon initiatives, and make sure that future governments can’t reverse this by putting in place legislation to ban any future oil, gas and pipeline subsidies.
We’ll work with the provinces and territories to make Canada an innovation leader on methane reduction in such areas as real-time monitoring and leakage detection, ensuring that provincial methane regulations are genuinely equivalent with the federal regulations, and increasing the ambition of those targets in the 2025-30 period.
The federal government can also model change, by becoming a trail-blazer in energy efficiency, clean technologies and renewable energy use. We will lead by example and procure from Canadian companies producing clean technology, ensure that federal buildings use renewable energy, and move the vehicle fleets of the federal government to electric by 2025, choosing made-in-Canada wherever possible. We will protect Canadian businesses who are taking action to transition to a low-carbon future with a border carbon adjustment that will level the playing field on imports from areas without a carbon price. And we will appoint a Climate Emergency Committee of Cabinet and establish astrong Climate Emergency Secretariat in the PMO to ensure a whole-of-government approach to responding to the climate emergency.
Creating good jobs in all regions
Canadian workers are worried about their place in the changing global economy. The global climate is changing, and Canadian jobs are changing too. But successive Liberal and Conservative governments have left workers to navigate these shifts on their own. New Democrats know that skilled Canadian workers - construction, trades, engineering and others - will be needed to build a low-carbon economy. We will put those workers front and centre of our climate action plan, and fight for workers and their communities to make sure nobody is left behind.
We have a plan to create over a million new good jobs in all communities and rebuild local economies with meaningful, family-sustaining work in every part of the country, all while helping to make the changes we need to succeed in a low carbon future. This will include jobs building green infrastructure in communities across the country, and because products produced by Canadian workers have some of the lowest carbon emissions in the world, we will require the use of Canadian-made steel, aluminum, cement and wood products for infrastructure projects across the country. And just as climate change disproportionately impacts marginalized communities, we are committed to ensuring these same communities benefit from the job-creation and community-building benefits of these investments.
As we turn the corner on COVID-19 and build an economic recovery for people, we have a precious opportunity to build back better. New Democrats would ensure that recovery funding is used to support our net-zero objectives. To that end we would ensure that large businesses receiving recovery funding agree to plan for net-zero – and we would ensure those funds go to supporting Canadian jobs, not executives or shareholders.
The workers most impacted by the changes in our economy cannot pay the price of inaction on climate change. We will work together with labour, employers and the provinces and territories to find solutions for workers and communities. This includes providing dedicated employment support combining access to expanded EI benefits, re-training and job placement services, ensuring companies retain and redeploy their workers when in transition, and ensuring that workers nearing retirement have the retirement security they have worked their whole lives for, without penalties to their pensions if they retire early.
We will boost clean tech research and manufacturing with new funding, incentives and Buy Canadian procurement of environmentally friendly technologies. This will help bring more innovative Canadian clean technology to market and support Canadian manufacturing of batteries, energy storage solutions and alternative fuels like biofuels made from waste. It will also help keep jobs here in Canada.
We will work to put in place joint workplace environment committees – modelled on the successful joint workplace health and safety committees which have had a major impact on making workplaces safer – to help reduce emissions at the source in every workplace.
And we will support sustainable agriculture, working with Canadian farmers to promote sustainable land-management techniques and methods to reduce GHG emissions. We’ll also work with the agricultural sector to help them access low carbon tools and technology, and adapt to climate-induced weather changes and other impacts of the climate crisis, including the associated increase in pests and invasive species.
Improving where we live and work
Our communities are where we can most clearly feel the impacts of the climate emergency – and one of the best places that we can invest to rapidly reduce emissions, save money and make life better.
At the current pace, it will take 142 years to retrofit all low-rise residential buildings in Canada. New Democrats will undertake a mission-based approach, setting an ambitious retrofitting program to upgrade where people live and work, including requiring large scale building retrofits in all sectors. And we will set a target of retrofitting all buildings in Canada by 2050 – beginning with upgrades to all buildings built before 2020 in the next 20 years. Helping families make energy efficient improvements to their homes through low-interest loans help save families almost $900 or more per year on home energy costs. Targeted supports would be provided to low-income households and to renters. Supporting retrofits to improve indoor air quality will also help prevent further waves of COVID-19.
We will work with provinces, municipalities and Indigenous government to make sure that communities have the resources they need to cope safely with extreme weather events. This National Crisis Strategy will help communities plan for and adapt to the changing climate and the weather extremes we are already facing – particularly for vulnerable, remote, and Indigenous communities. The strategy would be supported with long-term funding for adaptation, disaster mitigation, and climate resilient infrastructure. And a new Civilian Climate Corps would mobilize young people and create new jobs supporting conservation efforts and addressing the threat of climate change by undertaking activities such as helping restore wetlands, and planting the billions of trees that need to be planted in the years ahead.
We’ll improve the National Building Code to ensure that by 2025 every new building built in Canada is net-zero. Energy efficiency and sustainable building practices will be at the core of our national housing strategy, leveraging the power of federal investments to create good jobs all across the country delivering the affordable homes Canadians need.
As more Canadians have become accustomed to working from home as a result of the pandemic, more than half of Canadians living in rural areas still don’t have access to high-speed internet. We will make sure that every Canadian has access to affordable, reliable high-speed broadband within four years. This will include taking the first steps to create a Crown corporation to ensure the delivery of quality, affordable telecom services to every community. Supporting more remote work will reduce commuting times and support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Changing how we get around
Improving how Canadians get to and from work, and how we travel within and between our communities, means investing in better ways to get around. If we make the right choices now, we can create good jobs and build the vehicles and transit infrastructure we need to keep Canadians moving.
Municipalities are already making investments in public transit in their communities, but they need a federal partner to champion public transit throughout the country. New Democrats will modernize and expand public transit within and between communities across Canada, and ensure that federal transit funding flows with an emphasis on scaling up low carbon transit projects like zero-emissions buses and electric trains with the goal of electrifying transit and other municipal fleets by 2030.
For provinces and municipalities that identify it as a priority, we will help them build towards fare-free transit to ease commutes, help people make ends meet and lower emissions. To help replace the loss of Greyhound routes, we’ll develop a public inter-city bus system. We will also support creating high-frequency rail along the Quebec-Windsor corridor, expand rail service options in other regions, and work to restore the Ontario Northlander to support the crucial transportation link for communities and businesses alike in Northern Ontario.
Because we know Canadians want to do their part, we will make it easier to get and use a zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV). As Canada moves towards 100% of all new car sales being zero-emissions by 2035, we will make sure that more of these vehicles are built here in Canada. A New Democrat government will extend federal incentives for ZEVs and provide a break for working families by waiving the federal sales tax on ZEV purchases, and grow these incentives up to $15,000 per family for made-in-Canada vehicles. We will expand the use of ZEVs in the public sector – including Crown Corporations – and by freight vehicles. To make ZEV use easier for Canadians in all regions, we’ll build out Canada’s charging infrastructure and help people purchasing new or used ZEVs cover the cost of installing a plug-in charger. We will create a centre of excellence for research and development of ZEVs to move forward related technologies such as hydrogen, batteries, and energy storage solutions. We will look for further opportunities related to green hydrogen fuel cell technology which could help reduce emissions for heavy trucks, freight, marine and aviation sectors. And we will look at ways to strengthen the low-carbon fuel standard.
Lastly, we will promote smart community planning and active transportation like walking and cycling, helping Canadians make choices that are healthier and more affordable for everyone. And we will work with other levels of government to encourage the use of electric bikes and their safe integration into our active transportation network.
Powering our communities carbon-free
Canada has huge untapped renewable energy potential. With the right leadership, we can build good jobs across the country while making the shift to electricity that meets our emissions targets and the needs of our communities.
The International Energy Agency has called on governments throughout the world to dramatically speed up efforts to build renewable energy. New Democrats will set a target to power Canada with net-zero electricity by 2030, and move to 100% non-emitting electricity by 2040. To drive this progress, we will establish a new Canadian Climate Bank that will help boost investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and low carbon technology across the country. It will also provide support for interested provinces to inter-connect power grids and introduce smart grid technology, to bolster Canada’s energy security and distribute clean power across the country. The Climate Bank will also support made-in-Canada manufacturing of renewable energy components and technologies, and help scale up Canada’s clean energy industry.
Meeting this carbon-free electricity goal in a way that respects local communities and creates good jobs is essential. We’ll support investments in innovative community-owned and operated clean energy projects to keep jobs and expertise local, work in partnership with Indigenous and northern communities to move off diesel, improving energy security and cutting emissions and air pollution.
New Democrats also believe in giving Canadians a stronger voice in energy decisions that impact their communities. That’s why we have committed to overhauling the process for reviewing major projects to ensure adequate time for public consultation, and provide core funding to support Indigenous communities participating in these processes.
Our commitment is to ensure that proposed projects align with our emissions reductions targets, respect Indigenous rights and create good jobs here in Canada.
Protecting our land and water
From our national parks, to our mountain ranges and our coasts, Canadians expect a government to protect natural areas for them and for future generations. Protecting land and waters will help Canada meet its climate change goals while safeguarding a good quality of life for generations of Canadians to come. New Democrats will stand up to the abuse of power by polluters – the harms of which disproportionately impact remote and marginalized communities.
New Democrats are committed to expanding protections for our natural environment, beginning with enshrining the right to a healthy environment in a Canadian Environmental Bill of Rights, to ensure all communities can enjoy a guarantee to clean water, land and air. We will strengthen the Canadian Environmental Protection Act – building and improving on the government’s Bill C-28 – to better protect Canadians from toxic substances in everyday products like cosmetics. And we will strengthen the federal environmental impact assessment process for new coal mines and mine expansion projects. We know that taking action to protect our environment will also support people’s health – with recent projections showing that the impacts of climate change could cost Canada’s healthcare system billions of dollars over the coming decades. .
To reduce waste in our landfills and communities, we will immediately ban single-use plastics, while protecting workers in this sector by supporting the transition of these production facilities to new products. We will hold companies responsible for the entire lifecycle of their plastic products and packaging, help municipalities improve their waste management and recycling systems, and support improved standards for what products can be labelled as recyclable. New legislation will also ban the export of plastic waste and help reduce electronic waste by removing unnecessary restrictions preventing people from repairing their devices.
We are committed to pursuing a Nature agenda, anchored by our commitment to safeguarding ecosystems and biodiversity by protecting 30% of our land, freshwater and oceans by 2030. We will expand urban national parks and restore urban biodiversity, and ensure the Species at Risk Act is enforced. We will launch a 10-year nature plan to reverse species loss and we would curb the import and domestic trade of wild animals. We will further protect our oceans and our freshwater, by reducing emissions from shipping and fishing, expanding marine protected areas, reducing key threats to ocean ecosystems and implementing a national freshwater strategy. And we will support Indigenous-led nature conservation and land-use and climate planning, including by growing the Indigenous Guardians Program and working hand-in-hand to advance the protection and restoration of wild Pacific salmon populations on the west coast.
Focused investments in forest management will help reduce forest fire risk, and we’ll take steps to encourage innovation in forestry, including valuea dded wood production and re-forestation.
We will support environmental remediation and job creation by getting tough on polluters and forcing big oil companies to pay to clean up inactive wells. If done right, this alone could quickly create jobs for workers and clean up the environmental hazards these wells represent.
The way we grow crops, raise livestock and use food also has an impact on our climate future – and nutrition for all Canadians. We’ll work to connect communities to farmers through local food hubs, and develop a national food waste strategy to reduce the huge amounts of food that currently go to waste in Canada. A New Democrat government will also partner with farmers and communities to support biodiversity and to monitor and protect pollinator health.
New Democrats will fight for you, putting people at the centre of our climate policy by prioritizing the needs of workers, addressing inequities at home, and upholding Indigenous rights.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has been passed into law. As a next step, New Democrats will build reconciliation into the heart of our plan to address the climate crisis, ensuring First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples are full and equal partners in Canada’s efforts to confront the climate crisis.
Indigenous peoples are best placed to protect cultural and biological diversity through control over their territory. We are committed to working with indigenous governments, respecting Indigenous knowledge, and upholding Indigenous rights to protect lands, waterways and biodiversity. The means making First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples full and equal partners in Canada’s efforts to build a low-carbon future, including encouraging energy sustainability in remote communities and equity opportunities for renewable energy projects. And it means ensuring Indigenous people - as the original peoples and stewards of their territories. - a seat at high-level decision-making tables to help direct Canada’s efforts to confront the climate crisis.
Too often the effects of climate change and of pollution are disproportionately borne in marginalized communities. On top of driving us towards net zero, New Democrats will ensure that climate investments are directed towards reducing inequality, honoring Indigenous rights and supporting communities that have been left behind by decades of Liberal and Conservative inaction. And we will create an Office of Environmental Justice to address the disproportionate impacts of pollution and loss of biodiversity on low-income, racialized and other marginalized communities.