Canada has the chance of a lifetime. If we can combine the determination and ambition of the people of Canada with real political will and leadership, Canada can become a global leader in limiting climate change, and in creating one of the most competitive green economies in the world.
Annamie Paul, Leader of the Green Party of Canada
We need you to join us in supporting an ambitious plan to go beyond weak climate targets that have never been met by Liberal or Conservative governments. Green policies are bold and collaborative and can achieve net-zero emissions well before 2050.
Climate Change is Here.
Climate change is already impacting our communities and we need you to help us implement resilient measures to keep them safe. Nearly 600 people died a sudden death from the extreme heat in B.C. in just one week this summer. That is more than the number of people who died in B.C. during the deadliest month of the pandemic. As hundreds of fires burn across Canada, crops wither in the field on the prairies, and marine life bakes in the ocean, people in Canada are experiencing first-hand the destructive impacts of our warming planet in real time.
We have been given an alarm bell to act on climate change. The August 2021 report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was the latest and most explicit warning of the role of human activity in climate change and its impact on our planet. The UN Secretary General has described it as “Code Red for Humanity.”
Human activity is the cause and the solution. The IPCC reported that human-induced climate change is the main driver behind many weather and climate extremes, including heatwaves, fire weather, heavy precipitation, droughts, and tropical cyclones, in every region across the globe. Our actions caused global warming, but the actions we choose to take now can limit it as well.
We need to limit further climate change. The difference to our planet in holding global warming to 1.5°C global average temperature as against pre-industrial levels cannot be overstated. While 1.5°C global warming will cause extreme weather and climate events, at 2°C global warming and above, such events will become much more frequent and intense.
We need to double our resolve to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, because we know that, with every additional increase of global warming, the frequency and intensity of hot extremes, marine heatwaves, flooding, droughts, and intense tropical cyclones, reductions in Arctic Sea ice, snow cover and permafrost will continue to grow.
Six Years of Failure
The Liberal government has caused Canada to fall further and further behind our international partners in climate action ambition and in doing our fair share. The UK has achieved 43 per cent GHG reduction below 1990 levels and recently pledged to achieve 78 per cent below 1990 by 2035. The 27 countries of the European Union recently pledged to cut GHG emissions by 55 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030 and have set out a detailed and ambitious climate plan.
The results of the Liberal government’s lack of ambition for the past six years are clear. Under the Liberal government:
- Emissions are 21 per cent above 1990 levels;
- Canada has never achieved a climate target;
- Canada has an emissions reduction target that is well below global peers;
- GHGs have risen in every year since 2016;
- Liberals bought a pipeline and have increased subsidies to fossil fuels;
- Canada is now one of the top three worst per capita GHG emitters in the G20.
There is a great deal of hope and a great deal we can do.
Moving towards net-zero emissions as quickly as possible is the greatest economic opportunity in generations, and Canada can be at the front of the line.
If we can combine the determination and ambition of Canadians with real political will and leadership, Canada has the chance of a lifetime to become a global leader in limiting climate change, securing our planet’s future, and creating one of the most competitive green economies in the world.
The Green Party of Canada has a plan. We have been calling for a non-partisan, collaborative approach to the climate emergency for years. A Green Future is possible, through an ambitious and doable plan that will secure Canada’s sustainable prosperity.
A Green government will:
1. Achieve net zero emissions as quickly as possible.
- Ensure a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 60 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, with clear enforceable targets and timelines starting in 2023
- Achieve net zero emissions as quickly as possible, while aiming to be net negative in 2050
2. End all extraction of fossil fuels.
- Cancel all new pipeline projects (beginning with Trans Mountain)
- Cancel all new oil exploration projects, including in the off-shore
- End leasing of federal lands for fossil fuel production and retire existing licenses
- Ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking)
- End all subsidies to the fossil fuel sector
- Phase out existing oil and gas operations, so that they continue on a declining basis with bitumen production phased out between 2030 and 2035
- Require federal public investment funds (including the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board) to divest from fossil fuels
- Ensure companies are held accountable for paying for the costs of cleaning up and restoring land, instead of passing these to the public
Green Innovation: Just Transition through Renewable Energy
The renewable energy sector holds tremendous promise in helping to support a just transition for workers in the fossil-fuel sector in Canada. We must protect workers in regions that are still highly dependent on the fossil fuel sector for a significant percentage of their budget, that have been left dangerously exposed to the volatility of global energy markets which they are unable to control, and are in desperate need of economic diversification. If we invest wisely, these regions can use their energy sector expertise to capitalize on a variety of new opportunities in renewable technologies.
A Just Transition for Workers
3. Support a Just Transition for workers
- Introduce a Just Transition Act before the end of 2021 that takes care of workers and communities during the transition.
- Plan for a fair and carefully planned transition of workers towards a decarbonized economy, that protects communities from displacement, and in which affected people (workers in greenhouse gas-intensive industries, Indigenous Peoples, marginalized communities) are leading the preparation of their transition strategies.
- Replace every high paying fossil fuel sector job with a high paying green sector job through wage insurance, retraining programs and early retirement plans.
- Reduce wealth inequality in Canada. Ensure that current wealth holders, particularly those in the fossil fuel sector, pay their fair share. Close tax havens and loopholes to redistribute wealth towards communities that have been underinvested in.
- Introduce laws that incentivize green investment and the creation of green jobs (such as in sustainable transport and energy efficiency), and that disincentivize unsustainable investments (such as by raising taxes on environmentally harmful goods and services).
- Invest in the cleantech sector and in renewable energy, which will create more, and higher paying jobs than those lost in the fossil fuel sector.
- Enact legislation on green jobs training programs, such as the creation of a youth climate corps; for example, jobs related to ecosystem restoration, particularly for people who have been displaced or severely affected by COVID-19.
4. Enact a detailed Carbon Budget, determining the cumulative amount of GHG that Canada can emit to do its part to keep warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
- Revamp the World Trade Organization to the World Trade and Climate Organization to ensure that trade is consistent with a global carbon budget
- Ensure that tariffs are determined based on the carbon intensity of imported products
5. Accelerate the increase in carbon taxes.
- Beginning in 2022 and up to 2030, increase carbon taxes by $25 per tonne each year.
6. Improve waste management and circularity.
- Reduce consumption, waste, and planned obsolescence.
- Promote green procurement practices (procuring goods and services that have a reduced environmental impact), as recommended by the United Nations Environment Programme.
- Promote sustainable waste management practices, such as waste treatment, recycling, and safe handling of healthcare and biochemical waste, by adopting legislative provisions on issues including tax rebates or waivers on recycling initiatives.
- Proceed with regulations to ban non-essential, single-use plastics before the end of the year, and expand the list of items to be banned. Champion a legally binding global plastics agreement, ratify the Basel Ban Amendment and strengthen Canada’s rules for plastic waste trade to ensure Canadian plastic waste doesn’t pollute other countries.
7. Introduce a Carbon Border Adjustment.
- Enact a Carbon Border Adjustment, which will ensure Canadian companies paying carbon taxes are not placed at a competitive disadvantage with foreign companies located in countries with no such taxes.
- Continuously evaluate the impact of the Carbon Border Adjustment on developing countries through a lens of global environmental justice.
Green Innovation: Carbon Border Adjustments
A Carbon Border Adjustment (CBA) could well be the single most impactful action Canada could take to encourage other countries to adopt strong emissions reduction policies. In the fight against the climate emergency, Canada should always be seeking to show leadership in international efforts to reduce global GHG emissions. Not only would a CBA allow us to access the financial benefits that come with a CBA, and protect Canadian companies, it will also signal a strong intention to assume a leadership role in the global fight against the climate emergency.
8. Develop a national renewable energy electricity grid.
- Ensure that 100 per cent of Canadian electricity is produced from renewable sources by 2030
- Create a national coast to coast to coast energy corridor for green renewable energy by building up the inter-ties needed to link existing provincial grids
- Implement a national, non-emitting electricity grid to help Canada meet its target of net-zero GHG emissions
9. Support Green buildings.
- Create and implement a national green retrofit of existing residential, commercial, institutional, and industrial buildings
- Support agencies and institutions working to create innovative, efficient, and cost-effective programs to carry out green retrofits in different areas and for different communities, thereby creating local jobs and reducing emissions
- Change the national building code to require that all new construction and major renovations to older buildings meet net-zero standards by 2030
- Undertake a green retrofit of all federal government buildings, including government agencies
10. Invest in Green transportation.
- Ban the sale of all internal combustion engine passenger vehicles by 2030, and expand charging stations for electric vehicles, including charging stations in smaller communities and rural areas.
- Develop programs to encourage the retirement of existing gas-powered vehicles, including government-funded grants for the purchase of new and used electric vehicles and ‘buy-back’ programs to encourage vehicle users to give up their existing vehicle.
- In every sector, from airline travel to passenger rail, and from freight to ferries, mandate and support a faster transition to renewable energy.
- Ensure access to zero-carbon public transportation, with high-speed rail networks between major cities, and spokes of light rail and electric bus connections across the country
- Guarantee every Canadian safe, reliable and accessible access to affordable, net zero ground transportation by expanding VIA Rail to a rail and bus system. Enact a VIA Rail Act to ensure the VIA Rail mandate for a national passenger transportation network.
- Expand cycling and walking infrastructure, working with municipalities and provincial governments to develop infrastructure that is accessible to all communities and individuals.
11. Ban the development of new nuclear power in Canada.
- Institute a ban on further development of nuclear power in Canada.
12. Invest in state-of-the-art assessment of climate change impact risks and planning with associated disaster management measures.
- Ensure that Canada utilizes the best available scientific expertise to advance research and development for assessing climate change impact risks. The focus will be on mitigating the impacts such as storms, droughts, floods, wildfires and related air quality impacts on health.
- Increase funding for the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF) to support climate resilience projects critically needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change including: wildfire mitigation activities, rehabilitation of storm water systems, and restoration of wetlands, shorelines, and other natural infrastructure.
- Develop transdisciplinary partnerships with governmental, non-profit organizations, academic institutions and industry, and invest in research and the necessary equipment, including the possibility of a shared climate supercomputer.
Green Innovation: Building a Global Climate Super-Computer
Top climate scientists did not predict the intensity of the extreme weather and climate events that hit Europe and North America this summer. That’s because scientists say that their computers aren't powerful enough, and that IPCC climate computer models are inadequate. They are calling on the international community to invest in creating a shared climate super-computer capable of producing the climate models for extreme climate events. The cost of the computer is estimated to be a small fraction of the costs associated with extreme events if Canada and other countries continue to be caught unprepared. Canada can answer this call and demonstrate climate leadership by investing in creating this super-computer, or by bringing together a group of wealthy countries to do so.
13. Develop pathways for Canada to go carbon negative.
- Develop plans and policies to go carbon negative, taking up the challenge of reducing the total amount of CO2 accumulated in the atmosphere and placing Canada on a new path towards addressing the climate emergency.
- Use skills and knowledge from the oil and gas industry to become world leaders in new technologies.
A Green government will:
1. Fulfill existing commitments to international climate change efforts.
- Shape all climate change policies in order to fulfill existing commitments to international climate change efforts, as policies to mitigate climate change will only be effective through international collaboration and coordination
- Submit a revised Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement that reflects Canada’s fair share of emissions reductions (60% reduction below 2005 by 2030) in meeting the 1.5°C warming target
- Ramp up climate finance to $USD 4 billion per year to support climate mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage in developing countries
- Participate actively in future international efforts, positioning Canada as a leader on global climate change initiatives
2. Invest in green infrastructure in developing countries to offset energy poverty.
- As one of the world’s highest per capita emitters of GHGs, Canada has a responsibility to support the climate action efforts of other countries and Indigenous communities. We will do so by supporting local green infrastructure in developing countries to offset energy poverty
3. Ban the export of thermal coal from Canada.
- End the export of millions of tons of US coal from Canadian ports.
A Green government will:
1. Establish a high-level Office of Environmental Justice at Environment and Climate Change Canada.
- Support swift passage of the proposed National Strategy Respecting Environmental Racism and Environmental Justice Act (Bill C-230).
2. Create an independent, scientific, non-partisan, diverse Climate Council to advise the government.
- Create an independent, non-partisan council, composed of First Nations, Inuit and Métis representation, climate scientists and researchers, youth and representatives from communities that are the most affected by the climate emergency, to advise the government on the development and implementation of its climate change policies through a lens of environmental justice and eradicating environmental racism.
3. Provide universal access to safe, inclusive, and accessible green and public spaces.
- Ramp up programs to help all people in Canada benefit from nearby nature, especially racialized communities and others facing systemic barriers. Expand funding for federal programs as well for partnerships with municipalities and local organizations to leverage networks and knowledge in reaching all communities and tackling discrimination and racism in green spaces.
4. Mobilize Canada’s fair share of international climate finance, calculated at approximately $1.84 billion per year to 2025, and lead negotiations towards the achievement of a post-2025 international climate finance target.
Many Indigenous Peoples, researchers, conservation groups, and global citizens have been communicating the same messages for some time: the biodiversity and ecosystems we depend on are degrading rapidly, the trajectory we are on is not sustainable, and our window of opportunity to change course is closing in the next decade. Biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation are largely a result of changes in land use, direct exploitation of organisms, climate change, pollution and invasive species.
Canada has a global responsibility to conserve nature due to our high standard of living as well as our abundant natural resources. Global resources are unevenly distributed - Canada stewards 20% of the earth’s wild forests, 24% of its wetlands and almost one third of its stored land carbon. Canadians overwhelmingly support protecting our abundant natural resources and a few key national policies would result in significant direct and indirect environmental, economic and social benefits in Canada and abroad.
A Green government will:
1. Protect and restore biodiversity and ecosystems.
- Support Indigenous-led protected and conservation areas and fund stewardship of these lands and waters by Indigenous guardians
- Implement Canada’s international commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity and follow-up protocols
- Protect a minimum of 30 per cent of freshwaters and lands in each Canadian ecosystem by 2030 and 50 per cent by 2050, prioritizing carbon-rich ecosystems
- Halt habitat destruction by 2030 and restore the most negatively affected ecosystems such as wetlands by 2050, prioritizing carbon-rich ecosystems
- Expedite recovery plans and implement national and international commitments to reverse species loss
- Scale-up funding for nature-based solutions
- Initiate a national urban biodiversity regeneration strategy to expand greenspace, address environmental racism and protect urban-sensitive species such as birds
- Enhance federal science capacity to inventory and prioritize ecosystems, species at risk, and invasive species
2. Modernize the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.
- Prioritize legislation to modernize the Canadian Environmental Protection Act
- Ensure the right to a healthy environment, enforceable in law
- Prevent exposures to toxins and pollution by requiring labelling of chemicals and GMOs in consumer products, including cosmetics, cleaners and furniture
3. Develop and implement a National Forest Strategy.
- Create fire breaks and fire suppression, provide physical resources to deal with fires quickly and effectively, and include fire mitigation subsidies to owners of rural properties, allowing them to better manage the health of their forests.
4. Protect old growth forests
- Work with the provinces and First Nations to put an immediate halt to the logging of endangered old growth ecosystems. Old growth forests provide ecosystem services both measurable and beyond what can be measured, and hold spiritual and physical significance to Indigenous Peoples.
- Prioritize and fund the long-term protection of endangered old growth forest ecosystems as a key component of Canada’s climate action plan and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples
- Work with First Nations to protect the Canadian boreal forest as part of the climate action plan
- Support value added forestry industry initiatives in partnership with First Nations aimed at ensuring that Canada can have a sustainable and vibrant forestry industry based on the harvesting of second and third growth forests
- Ban the export of raw logs and maximize the use of resources for local jobs
5. Protect oceans and freshwater.
- Include Indigenous Peoples and their governance systems in all aspects of site selection, management, and decision-making around economic development within the marine and freshwater realms
- Transition to sustainable seafood: work with Indigenous and provincial governments to phase out open net-pen finfish aquaculture in Pacific waters by 2025 and all Canadian waters by 2030; support a just transition of impacted workers, and incentivize the move to land-based closed containment facilities.
- Reduce threats to ocean ecosystems, including supporting a moratorium on deep seabed mining at least until 2030
- Protect and restore coastal and marine areas, and support marine nature-based climate solutions
Innovation is the engine to economic growth – it allows Canada to remain competitive on a rapidly evolving global technological landscape. Canadian universities routinely rank among the top in the world and our research laboratories are world renown.
However, Canadian investment in research and development has been declining for years, and at 1.7% of GDP is among the lowest in the OECD. Despite being the country that discovered insulin in 1921, when the pandemic broke Canada had zero capacity to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines. This must change.
There will be massive opportunities for the countries that develop breakthrough solutions to combat climate change. Nearly $150 billion (USD) was invested globally last year in solar installations alone. Emerging clean technologies could soon reach this same scale. A green revolution is coming, and Canada has the opportunity to be at the forefront. Along the way, we can create good jobs and be a global leader in the innovation needed to combat climate change. But we must be bold and act now.
Whether it is the forefront of quantum computing, clean technology, next-generation medicine, or artificial intelligence, the federal government has a crucial role to play in de-risking emerging disruptive technologies so that they may scale. It must invest in scientific research and development, in our incredible university systems, and renew our national lab infrastructure for the 21st century.
Scientific research is the foundation of innovation, and creating a Green Future requires switching to an innovation economy. Previous governments muzzled scientists and cut funding for key research, including funding for clean water and northern science on climate change. Recently, there has been more funding for science and climate change research, but it has fallen well short of what is needed. The Green Party of Canada will make Canada a leader in research and innovation.
A Green government will:
- Invest in scientific research and implement the full funding recommendations from Canada’s Fundamental Science Review.
- Increase R&D spending to 2.5% of GDP, bringing Canada in line with the OECD average.
- Increase funding for the granting councils to $2.3 billion, including the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR). Ensure all grants by the federal granting councils consider Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) outcomes of the research it supports.
- Restore and augment Climate Change and Atmospheric Research (CCAR) funding to NSERC and ensure ongoing funding for the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory, which the Liberals failed to restore after the funding ran out.
- Establish a dedicated innovation agency that focuses on developing joint projects across universities, private industry, and national labs.
- Support NSERC’s Framework on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in scientific research across all federal grant funding programs, and commit to strengthening Canadian scientific and engineering communities to include the full participation of equity-seeking groups, including women, visible minorities, Indigenous Peoples, people with diverse gender identities and people with disabilities.
- Create a dedicated, long-term funding program for water infrastructure, building on the success of the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund that operated between 2016 and 2018
Green Innovation: Entrepreneurs-in-Residence
The Green Party would establish an “Entrepreneur-in-Residence” Program in Canada’s national labs, such as the National Research Council, to spur innovation of breakthrough technologies discovered in our national lab system.
Small businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy, creating more employment in the private sector than the big corporations. They create good, stable jobs. They offer competitive wages and benefits. And, because they’re small, they are nimble in adapting to changing global markets. Best of all, their success stays local. They circulate dollars in regional economies and improve the communities around them.
COVID-19 pandemic restrictions significantly impacted small businesses leading to business closures, debt burdens and loss of jobs. The Liberal government is ending the financial support for small businesses, including Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) before COVID-19 restrictions have been fully lifted, leaving small businesses to deal with post-pandemic recovery alone. CEWS is being replaced with the Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP) which does not cover pay for employees on paid leave, putting both small businesses and employees at risk. Small businesses still need support, and the Green Party will make sure they have it.
A Green government will:
- Extend wage and rent subsidies until COVID-19 pandemic-related restrictions are fully lifted.
- Hold the small business tax rate at no more than 9%.
- Reduce the paperwork burden on small businesses by eliminating duplicative tax filings and red tape.
- Ensure all new legislation considers the impact on small businesses.
- Reduce bureaucracy and streamline approvals for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to adopt technologies.
- Promote entrepreneurship training and business support, especially for women, young, racialized and Indigenous entrepreneurs.
- Provide affordable and accessible internet services across Canada, including rural areas.
- Establish a federally funded Green Venture Capital Fund of $1 billion to support viable small local green business start-ups.
- Subsidize the implementation of new clean technologies across all SMEs
Intellectual Property Commercialization & Innovation
While Canadian innovators are among the most ingenious in the world, they face challenges in translating their inventions and intellectual property (IP) into commercially viable products and services. In order to scale up, domestic companies are increasingly selling their valuable IP to foreign firms in exchange for capital.
Between 1998 and 2017, the number of Canadian-invented U.S. patents that were retained by their original inventor fell from 32% to 13%. Unfortunately, this means that foreign businesses and countries – not Canadians – reap a majority of the economic and social benefits of Canadian innovation.
The ability of Canadian innovators to retain ownership and control over their inventions and IP is critical to exploiting their economic value, for example through licensing use in downstream production or to researchers who can build upon them to make further discoveries.
Capturing revenues from licensing, start-ups and spin-offs is important for economic growth and ensuring that Canada can develop the necessary infrastructure to mitigate and adapt to climate change while funding the health and social programs that foster equity and well-being.
A Green government will:
- Increase direct federal funding for private and student-led business R&D
- Strengthen Canada’s venture capital (VC) ecosystem
- Implement a national Buy Clean strategy to increase government procurement of Canadian low-carbon technologies
- Provide access to federally funded IP at a discount to Canadian companies with Canadian operations
- Fully implement the House of Commons Report on IP and Technology Transfer to:
- Require Statistics Canada to launch an annual survey on technology.
- Collaborate with stakeholders to create a ‘toolkit’ of flexible IP licensing practices.
- Investigate new ways to support Canadian enterprises engaging in technology transfer with post-secondary institutions.
The agriculture and food sector is an engine of the Canadian economy. The system employs more than two million people in Canada (as a comparison, the oil and gas sector employs about 500,000), it is vital to the economic viability and social fabric of rural communities, key to ensuring a safe and secure food supply, and essential to the health of the environment and ecosystem services.
Agriculture and food systems are highly vulnerable to environmental and economic risks. Because of this, they receive significant policy support from the government in the form of subsidies and other transfers. Support for the agriculture sector in Canada totaled over $7 billion CAD in 2020 and is a powerful tool that can tip the scale and determine which food systems prosper and which decline.
Unfortunately, in Canada, federal government policies have contributed to the growing consolidation of agriculture at all levels, including the radical decrease in farm numbers, and a shift from family-owned mixed farms and local processing to industrial production systems based on crop monocultures and intensive livestock operations.
Agriculture and climate
Canada needs to recognise the importance of agriculture and food systems in meeting our climate targets, and there is still a long way to go in reducing the system’s net emissions.
The agriculture sector is the third largest contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Canada (after energy and transportation), with estimates ranging between 8 and 12 % of Canada's total emissions. Nitrogen fertilizer synthesis, fossil fuel use, and livestock enteric fermentation are the main sources of these emissions. Agriculture GHG emissions have grown significantly since the nineties, driven by the growth of fertilizer use in crops and intensive livestock operations, and contributing to Canada's lack of success in achieving its emission reduction targets.
These systems are supported by high levels of inputs of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, genetically engineered seeds, and large, globalized processing, marketing, and distribution. Transnational corporations have benefited directly from taxpayer-funded policies and programs and now control a large share of our food supply and how it is produced.
Threats to Canadian Agriculture and Food Systems
Industrial production systems based on monocultures and intensive livestock operations are less resilient and more vulnerable to pests, diseases, and weather extremes. With climate change and more extreme weather, we are seeing evidence of this vulnerability as drought and floods threaten farms' survival particularly in the Prairies. Corporate buyers transfer most of the business risks to the farmers, who are the first to suffer.
Industrial agriculture models have contributed to land degradation, biodiversity loss, water and air pollution, plant, animal, and human health threats. Factory farms crowd animals in poor welfare conditions and create an artificial abundance of animal products that contribute to unhealthy diets. Estimates of the amount of food waste produced by the system range from 30 to 50 percent while food insecurity persists, even in wealthy countries, including Canada, where the demand for food banks continues to grow.
Scientists have been warning us for decades that, as a result of climate change, extreme weather events will become more prevalent, threatening crops and livestock. In 2021, the Canadian prairies are experiencing what perhaps is the worst drought in the history of the country, together with unprecedented heat waves, with potentially devastating consequences for farms in the region and the communities that depend on them.
The vulnerability of our food systems is not limited to farm losses. Canada, with its large land area and relatively small population, is the world’s fifth largest agricultural exporter but, amazingly, we are also the sixth largest importer and the number one per-capita food importer in the world. This ranking is not because of bananas, oranges and coffee other things that cannot be produced in our climate. It is driven by our imports of massive amounts of other goods, mostly value-added, as well as ingredients for further processing which could be easily produced in Canada but we have chosen, by way of our trade and economic development policies, to source elsewhere.
Labour and succession are also critical risks for this sector, which is increasingly dependent on temporary foreign workers and facing an aging workforce. Squeezed by low profit margins prevalent in the industrial model, too many farmers must rely on off-farm income to survive.
Despite the Liberal government's narrative, investments in policies, programs, R&D, and regulatory modernization to support farming based on ecological principles, localized food systems, small regional value chains, and northern agriculture continue to be very limited in comparison. This constrains the development of these areas and hinders their competitiveness as the bulk of program dollars continue to prop up the industrial model.
A Green government will:
- Restructure the $3 billion Next Policy Framework (NPF- 2023-2028) to shift program dollars from supporting corporate-controlled industrial agriculture to supporting agriculture that is based on ecological and animal welfare principles, including organic and regenerative practices, permaculture, localized food systems, higher welfare farming systems and short value chains.
- Recognize and act on the enormous potential of carbon sequestration in soil and by implementing policies and programs that provide incentives for sustainably increasing organic matter (carbon capture) in the soil through regenerative practices while ensuring that these incentives are equitable, inclusive, and do not disadvantage small farmers.
- Restructure business risk management programs to make them more equitable, inclusive, and responsive in helping farmers cope with climate risk.
- Reallocate research and development priorities, as well as investments in infrastructure to further strengthen support for local and regional value chains by the National Food Policy
Improving the agricultural system's environmental performance
In agriculture, climate change mitigation and adaptation are complementary goals. The changes that contribute to reducing emissions and retaining more carbon in the system - regenerative practices, diversified landscapes, moving away from intensive livestock operations - also improve adaptation by improving resilience in the face of drought, pests, diseases, and other climate-related threats.
A Green government will:
- Invest in science, infrastructure, and business development that supports farming practices which both mitigate climate impacts and improve adaptation.
- Invest in supporting a shift to farming systems based on ecological principles, which work with nature and not against it.
- Work with the provinces to fund the research and development of environmental farm plans to help farmers protect wildlife habitat areas and marginal lands, maintain water quality in streams, lakes and aquifers, and retain and improve soil quality, increase carbon sequestration and decrease water requirements.
- Establish climate change emission targets for all components of the food system, including nitrogen fertilizer use, livestock production and transportation, and food procurement in federal institutions.
- Re-establish the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration measures to support adaptation to drought conditions.
- To support humane and sustainable food systems, promote more plant-based eating and reduced consumption of animal-source foods to levels the ecosystem can sustain, which is consistent with the dietary recommendations of the Canada Food Guide.
Restoring the food system's social, economic, and environmental roles
A Green government will:
- Assist farmers and support small and medium enterprises to transition away from the industrial model controlled by large agri-business and toward locally and regionally based, ecologically sound and humane agriculture and food systems
- Work with the provinces in creating land trusts to set-aside arable land across Canada to help control the price of land and protect it from being permanently removed as viable farmland
- Support research, development and investments in local markets and urban agriculture to increase access to local food
- Protect supply management systems while allowing small scale production for local markets outside this system
- Support the development of a food waste strategy
- Address interprovincial trade barriers that hinder the development of regionally based food systems and value chains
- Support the phase-out of prophylactic antibiotics in farming to promote higher welfare practices and preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics for human medicine
Green Innovation: Replacing Imports with Locally Grown Food
During the early days of the pandemic, we saw how our overreliance on global supply chains can threaten our food security and, with it, our sovereignty. A Green government will replace one-third of Canada’s food imports with domestic production. This would bring $15 billion food dollars back into our economy to foster economic diversification and rural revitalization.
Strengthening social license
- Adopt comprehensive animal welfare legislation to prevent inhumane treatment of farm animals. This will set minimum standards of treatment, housing density, distances live animals can be transported, and conditions for animals in slaughterhouses and auctions
- Protect food sovereignty, the right of farmers to save their own seed, and fund and promote seed banks, seed exchange programs, and agrobiodiversity conservation
- Support the recommendations of the Canada Food Guide and will encourage Canadians to reduce their animal protein consumption as recommended in the Food Guide, while being inclusive of social and cultural diversity in recognizing what constitutes a healthy and environmentally sound diet
- Support mandatory labelling of genetically modified foods
Preserving the system resource base: land, human resources, and succession
- Fund an apprenticeship program to connect young aspiring farmers with operating farmers. This will maintain and increase the workforce, knowledge, and skilled labour necessary to have a robust agricultural sector
- Reinstate the Canada Land Inventory program to provide a comprehensive record of existing and potential agricultural land and provide fiscal incentives to other levels of government to preserve farmlands under their jurisdictions
There is increasing recognition of the critical role our ocean plays in a just, sustainable and healthy society, from providing seafood that supports livelihoods and good nutrition, to ecosystem services from flood protection, recreation.
Record-breaking heatwaves and ocean acidification threaten the integrity of all ocean ecosystems, including shellfish and finfish fisheries they support.
Canada must ensure that our ocean industries and Blue Economy Strategy support the goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, reducing emissions from marine vessels, and advancing nature-based solutions in the marine environment.
Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples in marine conservation and resource management
For tens of thousands of years Indigenous peoples have practiced their own forms of ecosystem-based management. However, the dismantling of Indigenous traditional governance systems and imposition of strict regulations on the lives of Indigenous peoples through treaties and statutes, such as the Indian Act (1876) and the Fisheries Act (1868), gave ultimate power and authority to colonial institutions. Several treaties have sought to recognize and support Indigenous rights and title, but unclear interpretations of those treaties, paired with systemic racism, have given rise to conflict and discrimination against Indigenous communities over their fishing rights.
In Atlantic Canada, the 2020 Mi’kmaq lobster situation revealed racism and a weak commitment to Indigenous treaty rights through unclear interpretations of laws. In 1999, the Supreme Court’s Marshall ruling recognized First Nations’ rights to earn a moderate living from fishing, however the definition of moderate living has yet to be defined by the government.
To further Reconciliation through all marine sectors, and empower Indigenous leadership in the conservation and management of protected areas, a Green government will:
- In partnership with Indigenous governments and organizations, develop a National Framework for Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) that includes collaborative governance arrangements, co-management decision-making bodies, and supporting administrative structures
- Invest in Indigenous-led sustainable ocean economies and Indigenous Guardians Programs
- Include Indigenous Peoples, their worldviews, knowledge, and governance systems in all aspects of design, site selection, management, and decision-making around economic development within the marine and freshwater realms of their territories
- Facilitate and support meaningful Nation-to-Nation engagement at the local and regional levels on the management of shared marine resources to avoid future disputes over lack of clarity on fisheries law
Ensuring Sustainable Seafood
Many of Canada’s marine fisheries are at risk of over-exploitation due to suboptimal management or lack of data. Only 34% of Canada’s fisheries are stable, 13% are known to be in critical condition, and there is not enough data for the remaining fisheries. There is a clear need for more data and resources to prevent the collapse of fisheries, and to ensure sustainable livelihoods for current and future generations of coastal communities.
Canada’s geography and federalist system of governance presents unique challenges where certain marine areas and fisheries might span municipal, provincial, and federal jurisdiction. There currently exist policy inconsistencies among Canada’s different coasts; for example, while the Atlantic inshore fishery has protections against corporate control, in British Columbia fishing licences and quotas can be owned by investors and fish processing companies. This means Canadian fish can be processed in other countries. Fair and consistent fisheries policies must be applied to all fishers, whether in the Atlantic, Arctic or the Pacific, to protect local communities whose livelihoods depend on Canadian fisheries. Canadian fishers must be protected from predatory systems that privilege large corporate interests allowed to hold licences.
Aquaculture may be a sustainable option in several contexts, however certain types of seafood farming can be environmentally harmful. In the case of open net-pen farmed salmon on the coast of British Columbia, the extremely high densities of fish have caused disease outbreaks among the farmed fish which gets transmitted to important wild salmon populations migrating near the farm sites.
A Green government will:
- Allocate funding to fill knowledge gaps for stocks whose sustainability status is uncertain, and where stock assessments have not been completed within a five-year period. Funding will contribute to field surveys, assessments, mortality estimates and monitoring and evaluation of rebuilding plans and management measures
- Complete rebuilding plans by 2024 for the 26 stocks currently in the critical zone by including measures and objectives that are science and ecosystem based
- Work with Indigenous and provincial governments to phase out open net-pen finfish aquaculture in Pacific waters by 2025 and all Canadian waters by 2030.
- Support a just transition of impacted workers and incentivize the move to land-based closed containment facilities.
- Support sustainable shellfish and seaweed aquaculture and community-owned operations and ensure meaningful engagement with Indigenous communities and other stakeholders when making aquaculture siting decisions.
- Protect independent harvesters and coastal communities by entrenching owner-operator and fleet separation policies in the Fisheries Act.
- Commit to timely and transparent access to fisheries management plans and data as well as records of fisheries management advisory committee processes in order to more effectively involve Indigenous peoples, civil society and communities in the process of managing our fisheries as public resources.
- Implement the 20 recommendations of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans report, West Coast Fisheries: Sharing Risks and Benefits.
Reducing threats to ocean ecosystems
Resource extraction such as deep-sea mining, and pollution from sewage and plastics are examples of the many threats to marine ecosystems. Noise pollution from deep sea drilling and shipping traffic threaten endangered marine species such as Southern Resident Killer whales, and plastics from household items and fishing gear alike entangle marine life and impact human health from the accumulation of microplastics in human tissues.
A Green government will:
- Finalize a ban on single-use plastics by the end of 2021, and expand the list of banned plastics to include other harmful long-lived plastics such as polystyrene
- Require that all plastic packaging contain at least 50% recycled content by 2030 and support the shift to reusable products and packaging by (A) adjusting federal procurement practices and supporting municipalities that adopt equivalent or better reuse standards; and (B) introducing targets for refillable beverage containers.
- Implement an Extended Producer Responsibility program for all companies making or selling synthetic fishing gear which would fund the retrieval of lost or abandoned fishing gear, commonly known as ghost nets, and the collection and recycling of old, damaged, and recovered fishing gear.
- Support a moratorium on deep seabed mining until at least 2030, in tandem with increased investment in deep sea science
- Legislate cruise ship waste discharge standards that meet or exceed those of our coastal neighbours.
Protecting and restoring coastal and marine areas
Establishing effective systems of marine protected areas (MPAs) and restoring at-risk ecosystems is a key strategy to reversing environmental degradation and ensuring the long-term integrity of marine ecosystems.
A Green government will:
- Accelerate Canada's commitment to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity of 30% protected marine areas by 2030.
- Deliver a new comprehensive ten-year biodiversity strategy and action plan, with goals, measurable targets, and resources to halt and reverse biodiversity loss in the ocean by 2030 and fulfill Canada’s commitment to the G7 Nature Compact and UN CBD by the end of 2023.
- Commit permanent A-base funding for marine conservation, including the management of MPAs and stewardship of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas by Indigenous partners.
- By 2022, present a clear action plan to achieve this target that includes the implementation of minimum protection standards; completion of Marine Protected Area networks and new MPAs in five priority bioregions; and completion of all current proposed MPAs and National Marine Conservation Areas; and identify new Areas of Interest in the remaining marine ecoregions and bioregions.
- By 2022, develop a Species At Risk Act (SARA) compliance plan with specific actions for all critical habitat protected under Section 58. Compliance promotion should target all users of the critical habitat of each specific Species At Risk.
- By 2025, complete independent scientific reviews of the effectiveness of recovery measures for all threatened and endangered species listed under SARA.
- Align measures under the Fisheries Act with potential measures under SARA for all COSEWIC-assessed species as part of species-at-risk transformation within DFO.
Addressing the ocean-climate nexus
Rising sea temperatures and acidification threaten ocean ecosystems and the species they support. Rising sea levels will require proactive planning to mitigate loss and damage to coastal communities. Conversely, investing in the restoration and protection of marine carbon sinks such as marine sediments, kelp forests, seagrasses, and salt marshes and reducing emissions from marine industries such as shipping will have co-benefits for the oceans and human coastal communities.
A Green government will:
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 emissions, black carbon, Nitrous Oxide, Sulfur Oxide (NOx and SOx)), and methane from the marine transport sector, including shipping, ferries and fishing vessels.
- Setting the achievable target of 100% zero-emission vessels in Canadian inland waters by 2030 and marine vessels by 2040. All federally-owned ferries should be net-zero by 2035.
- Commit to zero-emission ports by 2030 through the development of port hydrogen hubs and develop ties to international ports to support the development of green shipping corridors and hydrogen export markets. This should include a zero- emission port infrastructure fund and a commitment to have all marine vessels at berth connected to shore power by 2030 to dramatically lower port emissions while reducing harmful air pollution for communities living near ports.
- Commit to no further expansion of offshore oil and gas activity while implementing a just transition for offshore oil and gas workers by 2030
- Develop a marine-focused Nature Based Climate Solutions strategy that integrates ocean-based carbon sinks (blue carbon) into Canada’s Climate Plan and emissions counting system. The strategy would include objectives, timelines and funding to prioritize protection and restoration of existing blue carbon sinks, support research to map and quantify blue carbon, and provide guidelines for evaluation of blue carbon in environmental assessments for proposed projects.
- Amend the Oceans Act and Fisheries Act to consider climate impacts on the marine environment and marine species and include climate change in spatial and fisheries management objectives. Conduct climate vulnerability assessments for marine species and habitats.
Twenty per cent of people in Canada live in rural and remote environments. In some regions that number rises to nearly 50 per cent. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, rural communities were struggling.
The prevalent economic model has undermined the social, economic, and cultural fabric of rural communities, and for many years, these communities have been deprived of the resources and investments necessary to strengthen their basic foundations.
Challenges faced by rural communities include:
- Lack of sufficient support for localized economic development
- Lack of infrastructure and services – Municipalities are not permitted to run deficits, yet they own and are responsible for core infrastructure assets. Limited tax bases mean that rural municipalities struggle to generate sufficient revenue to upgrade ageing infrastructure and provide essential services, such as telecommunications, health care and public transport.
- Ageing population - The rural population is ageing faster than their urban counterparts. There are significant disparities between urban and rural health delivery for seniors and people with diverse abilities.
- Youth retention - Limited services and lack of employment opportunities in rural communities, paired with greater access to learning and opportunities in cities have drawn young people away from rural communities. Once young people have left for urban centres, they often do not return: the population of youth aged 15 to 19 in rural Canada declined by 10 per cent between 2011 and 2016.
- Economic challenges – As a result of all the above factors, rural incomes tend to lag behind those of urban communities, and unemployment levels tend to be higher.
A large country like Canada cannot afford to abandon its countryside. Strong rural communities are essential for economic, social, and cultural resilience, as engines for diversification, innovation, and progress toward a more just and equitable society.
In the aftermath of COVID-19, rural and remote communities will be some of the hardest-hit regional economies in the country. It is our goal to ensure that rural and remote communities get their fair share of resources to help kick start their revitalization.
A Green government will:
- Address disparities in delivery, access, and funding for rural services
- Establish a parliamentary committee to collect information on place-based needs in rural and remote communities, including the state of funding for rural services in the context of the economic/social realities faced by those communities, and develop recommendations on how these gaps can be closed in ways that work at the local level.
- Make investments to expand transit services and infrastructure. This will create jobs, provide cleaner and safer alternatives to driving, lower rural Canada’s carbon footprint, and improve access to services for rural Canadians.
- Reevaluate the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) so that rural communities are being covered with an equitable amount of funding to meet the needs of the community.
- Support the provinces in implementing innovative delivery models such as Telemedicine to improve health access in rural Canada.
Green Innovation: Reimagining Canada Post
Reimagining Canada Post could provide rural communities with high-quality public services that have been overlooked by successive governments. A Green government would expand the mandate of Canada Post to include banking, high-speed internet hubs, and EV charging stations. It would also increase the salaries of Canada Post employees operating in rural communities (who are predominantly women) and ensure pay gaps between urban and rural services are closed.
Improving rural connectivity
A Green government will:
- Build up broadband infrastructure in rural areas to help revitalize rural economies and give communities greater access to the services they need.
- Continue to support the Universal Broadband Fund, and retain that funding with an additional $150 M annually over 4 years to reach communities at the lowest end of the eligibility spectrum
- Break up telecom monopolies through changes to CRTC regulation to allow for more equitable treatment of rural consumers.
Green Innovation: Infrastructure Funding
To ensure long-term predictability for rural and northern communities, Greens support the Federation of Canadian Municipalities request for at least $250 million annually in dedicated infrastructure funding starting in 2028-29.
Making the industries upon which rural communities rely more sustainable
A Green government will:
- Support localized investments in renewable energy and green manufacturing which will allow for job transition in communities dependent on the oil and gas sectors
- Assist farmers with transitioning away from the industrial model controlled by large agri-business and toward locally and regionally based food systems
- The Green Party of Canada supports the goal of replacing one-third of Canada’s food imports with domestic production. This would bring $15 billion food dollars back into our economy to foster economic diversification and rural revitalization.
- Promote the creation of land trusts to set-aside arable land across Canada to help control the price of land and protect it from being permanently removed as viable farmland.
- Fund new and innovative value-added forestry-based manufacturing facilities in rural Canada to create jobs and keep profits from our resources in Canada. Work with provinces, territories, and municipalities to make sure that timber, pulp, and paper manufacturing is environmentally and economically sustainable in rural Canada.
- Maintain and improve policies that support owner-operation of inshore fisheries and conservation of fish stocks.
- Support aquaculture development in closed containment facilities to protect wild species and limit pollution and provide support to fish pen workers in the transition.
- Protect the traditional fishing rights of Indigenous Peoples living in Canada including the right to engage in fishing in pursuit of a moderate livelihood.
The municipal level of government is the one that many people most often turn to in their hour of need. In Canada, cities have taken leadership roles on critical issues such as climate change, the pandemic, and social programs. However, Canadian municipalities are limited in their ability to provide services because the 1867 constitutional designation of the municipal order of government as creations of the provinces severely limits their autonomy and authority. With only 10 cents out of every tax dollar flowing to municipalities, and no direct powers of taxation, vast inequities in our governance structures and financial stability have been created.
The Green Party of Canada supports the charter city movement. If cities are to have the tools needed to develop long-range plans for improved public transit and affordable housing, their decisions must be respected by provincial governments. They also require more than 10% of all the taxes that are collected within their boundaries. With stable sources of additional funds, municipalities large and small will no longer have to go cap-in-hand to provincial and federal governments for short-term funding, and will be better able to serve the people in their communities.
The Role of Municipalities
Municipalities across Canada receive only 10.8% of all taxes collected within their boundaries and any decisions they make can be overturned by provincial or territorial governments. The Green Party of Canada supports a greater share of tax revenues for municipalities and greater decision-making powers, including city charters for any Canadian cities that want them.
A Green government will:
- Support the use of city charters to give greater autonomy to cities.
- Make changes to the Canada Infrastructure Bank to reduce interest rates to municipalities on loans for infrastructure projects.
- Institutionalize federal transfers to municipalities through the creation of a Municipal Fund, renaming the Gas Tax funds, which were delinked from gas tax revenue years ago, and retaining the same eligibility as the Gas Tax funds.
- Ensure a permanent doubling of current funding to ensure predictable and reliable funding to municipalities.
- Allocate one per cent of GST to housing and other municipal infrastructure on an ongoing basis to provide a consistent baseline of funding.
- Answer the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ and Vancouver Mayor’s Council’s call for a permanent, dedicated federal public transit fund of $3.4 billion annually starting in 2026-2027, once the existing transit program expires.
- Commit to a multi-year solution to transit operating shortfalls in order to protect and secure shared investments in building out Canada’s transit networks for the decades to come.
Green Innovation: Supporting the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund
Climate change is here, and municipalities need to adapt to limit its impacts on their communities. Greens support the Federation of Canadian Municipalities request for rapidly scaled up funding through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF) to support climate resilience projects critically needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change including: wildfire mitigation activities, rehabilitation of storm water systems, and restoration of wetlands, shorelines, and other natural infrastructure.
The transportation sector produces over a quarter of Canada’s climate pollution and this is growing. A Green government will develop a national transportation strategy with a goal of reaching zero-carbon public ground transportation everywhere in Canada by 2040.
Rail will be the hub, with spokes of light rail and electric bus connections. This includes service to and within rural and remote communities, since everyone in Canada must have access to reliable transportation options at affordable rates. Besides reducing pollution, this measure responds to the findings of the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Intercity bus service is in crisis and passenger rail is non-existent for most communities in Canada. We must establish a bus-rail grid that provides hourly bus transit between towns, and where bus companies are mandated to deliver passengers to local rail stations. With buses delivering rural residents to rail stations, Via Rail can run more and faster trains. This is a cost-effective way to improve public transportation, and set the stage for the building of high-speed rail systems between larger cities.
Green Innovation: Joint Review Panels for Greater Cooperation
Canada should adopt the practice of having joint review panels, in which federal and provincial transportation officials meet regularly to discuss how best to combine their resources to improve public transportation. These panels are needed to ensure coordination between provincial and federal transport expenditures. Establishing review panels in Canada would ensure that Via Rail works with regional bus companies. Commuter rail networks around our biggest cities would also coordinate their services with Via Rail and with local bus services.
Finally, rail safety must remain a top priority. Whether dealing with commuters or freight, we must ensure that the hub of our national transportation strategy includes all the necessary checks that not only addresses the baseline changes implemented following the Lac Megantic derailment, but aim for top of class standards to build this system in and near our communities with confidence.
A Green government will:
Ensure Less Emissions for the Environment
- Ban the sale of internal combustion engine passenger vehicles by 2030.
- Exempt new and used electric and zero-emission vehicles from federal sales tax.
- Expand charging stations for electric vehicles, including all parking lots associated with federal facilities.
- Complete the conversion of all passenger ferries to convert to electric or hybrid systems by 2030.
- Create a national cycling and walking infrastructure fund to help support zero emissions active transportation.
- Develop a Green Freight Transport program to address greenhouse gas emissions and pollution in partnership with the freight industry, shipping companies and delivery businesses.
- Strengthen Canada’s rail safety rules, giving regulators the tools they need to protect neighbourhoods from train shipments of hazardous materials.
- Lead an international effort to bring international shipping and aviation into the Paris framework. Introduce an international tax for aviation and shipping fuels earmarked for the Global Climate Fund.
Create Better Connections for Canadians
- Enact a Via Rail Canada Act to implement a passenger rail transportation policy and protect services from future cuts.
- Invest $500 million in 2022-23, rising to $720 million by 2024 to develop regional rail networks and strengthen rail connections between regions. This will include building several sections of additional track along existing routes to avoid bottlenecks where heavy freight pushes passenger rail to the siding
- Build electrified, 200 km/h or faster, high-speed rail in the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal-Quebec City triangle and the Calgary-Edmonton corridor.
- Exempt rural and intercity public transport from sales taxes, just like urban transit.
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