2021 platform analysis: Climate change
Gen Squeeze's analysis of the 2021 federal election platforms on climate change.

Climate change scorecard

We scored the parties' platforms to see how close they get us to achieving our goal to ensure all Canadians benefit from holding climate change to 1.5 degrees C. Download the scorecard and check out the full analysis below!

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Climate change solutions

This analysis is current as of September 10, 2021. You can find the complete Voter's Guide (covering housing, family, climate and wellbeing budgets here

Table of Contents

 

Introduction

This election, Generation Squeeze is undertaking a rigorous assessment of federal party platforms and commitments on four key issues: housing affordability, family affordability, climate change, and overall plans to budget for wellbeing for all generations.

Our mission: to help voters better understand how far each party's platform goes towards actually solving big problems facing young people today.

Instead of simply listing party promises, our assessment attempts to make meaning of these promises, individually and in aggregate.  We do this by assessing the degree to which each major party’s platform advances the evidence-based actions needed to address the key issues squeezing younger Canadians.  You can find detailed information on the methodology we use to analyze and assess party platforms.

In this document, you will find:

  • Summary score table: The commitments made by each party in their platform are assigned a score.  This score is determined based on the extent to which the actions proposed by the party will move us towards the solutions identified in Gen Squeeze’s game plans on housing and family affordability, climate change, and wellbeing budgeting for all generations.
  • Detailed commentary: In depth discussion of the platform commitments made by each party that informed the scores, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each commitment.

Gen Squeeze does not tell you who to vote for.  And we don’t aim to portray any party in a favourable or unfavourable light.  Our goal is to help voters be as informed as possible about the positions of all of the parties on the big issues squeezing younger Canadians.  You can get more information on our commitments to be non-partisan and evidence based.



Punchlines

The World Health Organization identifies climate change as the greatest risk to human health in the 21st century.

The Greens, NDP and Liberals commit to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.  The Conservative party does not.

The Greens have the most ambitious short-term goal for reducing emissions: 60% below 2005-levels compared to 50% for the NDP and 40-45% for the Liberals.  However, the Liberal platform offers the most details showing how Canada can achieve net-zero by 2050 by comparison with the other parties.

Our analysis identifies 24 clusters of action items that Canada needs to take in order to give our citizens the greatest chance to benefit from a climate that does not warm (much) above 1.5 degrees Celsius.  

  • The Liberals propose ideas that advance 73% of the action items.
  • The NDP propose ideas that advance 65% of the action items.
  • The Greens propose ideas that advance 63% of the action items.
  • The Conservatives propose ideas that advance 29% of the action items.

Since we are already experiencing the extreme weather of climate change, we need all parties to perform 100% of the action items now to fight climate change as aggressively as possible. This means we still need better from all parties.  There’s no time to lose.

In terms of the action items, there is a lot of convergence between the parties in terms of commitments to upgrade our lives via a carbon makeover that will advance clean and renewable electricity; clean industry; zero emission homes and buildings, smart land-use and carbon draw down (eg. regenerative agriculture and carbon sequestration and storage).

The Greens and NDP explicitly commit to provide regular carbon budgets that document our national plan to “spend” our atmosphere’s remaining scarce capacity to absorb carbon as carefully as we spend our money. The Liberals allude to this idea; but don’t yet make an explicit commitment. The Conservatives are silent.  

The Greens, Liberals and NDP all promise to price pollution at levels that will incentivize our economy to shift away from reliance on fossil fuels at a pace that is quick enough to achieve net-zero by 2050. The Liberals are more explicit than the other parties that they will recycle revenue from pollution pricing to reduce other taxes.  

The Liberal platform aligns more than the other parties with the evidence about what is required to bake sustainability into the financial system; excite investors to invest in the green transition that our economy requires; and support businesses to adopt green technologies. 

While the Conservative platform stands out for its strong support for Research & Development and the exporting of Canadian technology and expertise, Conservatives continues to resist using the market to price pollution at levels that align with what research recommends to ensure our economy transitions quickly enough to achieve net-zero by 2050.

All of the parties could do better in proposing adaptation strategies now to help Canadians fend off the harm imposed by extreme weather. 

By comparison with the other parties, the Conservative party does not emphasize the principle that the transition to a green economy should not leave anyone behind.  This is surprising, given that Conservatives have particularly strong political roots in regions of Canada that will need the most support to upgrade their economies to align with the requirements of net-zero by 2050.

 

Approach to Platform Analysis

For the 2021 federal election, Gen Squeeze is focusing our analysis on the four major parties that began the race with at least one MP who was elected as a representative of that party, and that are running a national slate of candidates. This includes the Conservative Party, the Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party, and the Green Party. 

Our assessment of party commitments on climate change is based on our climate change solutions framework. The framework begins by adopting the most ambitious goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement (to limit climate change to 1.5°) and combines it with a simultaneous goal to increase the wellbeing of all Canadians through the transition to a clean economy. The framework then aggregates and adds to existing policy frameworks including the Pan Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project, the Generation Energy framework, the Re-energizing Canada pathways, the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance, and the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience. Read more about our framework design here.

We are indebted to Dave Sawyer of EnviroEconomics for leading our analysis.

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To support the analysis of party platforms, we've translated our climate change policy framework into 24 key criteria. Parties are assigned points based on their platform's response to each of these criteria. Score range from +1.0 to -1.0, assessed as follows:

Assessment Points
No discernible commitments 0
Commitments are somewhat capable of achieving the goal 0.5
Commitments are capable of achieving the goal 1.0
Commitments somewhat undermine progress towards the goal -0.5
Commitments undermine progress towards the goal -1.0

 

You can learn more the full scoring methodology, the rationale for this approach, and its limitations, by reading our detailed methodology.


Summary score table

The table below summarizes the scores of the Conservative party, the Green Party, the Liberal party and the New Democratic party on each of the 24 climate change criteria.

We welcome feedback from parties, including concerns that we may have misinterpreted elements of their platforms when assigning our scores. We commit to revising our scores in light of party evidence that their platforms or other election documents include commitments that align with the evaluation criteria.

Note for mobile/smartphone device users: The table below may not display properly on your smartphone screen. If the table appears to be cut-off, please return to this page on laptop or desktop. We apologize for the inconvenience.

 

Criteria used to assess party platforms

Party scores

 

CPC

GPC

LPC

NDP

 

 CLEAR GOALS AND PRINCIPLES

 

 

 

 

1

Commits to a clear goal of holding climate change to 1.5 degrees

-1

1

1

1

2

Demonstrates a commitment to the principle of “All Hands on Deck 

0.5

0.5

1

0.5

3

Demonstrates a commitment to the principle of “No One Left Behind 

0

1

1

1

PILLAR 1 – MOBILIZE THE MARKET

 

 

 

 

 

Send the Right Signals

 

 

 

 

4

Do the platforms take action to lower income taxes? 

0.5

0

0.5

0

5

Do the platforms take action to increase pollution taxes?

-0.5

1

1

1

6

Do the platforms take action to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies

-0.5

0.5

0.5

0.5

 

Raise $ to Make $

 

 

 

 

7

Do the platforms take action to get investors excited?

0.5

0

1

0

8

Do the platforms take action to bake sustainability into financial system?

0

0.5

1

1

 

Carbon Budgeting 

 

 

 

 

9

Do the platforms take action to ensure that governments provide regular carbons budgets?

0.5 

PILLAR TWO – HELP CANADIANS BECOME CLIMATE LEADERS

 

 

 

 

 

Help Canadian Businesses

 

 

 

 

10

Do the platforms take action to support massive adoption of existing technology by private businesses?

0.5

0.5

1

0.5

11

Do the platforms take action to support R&D and export of Canadian technology and expertise?

1

0.5

0.5

0.5

 

Help Canadian Workers

 

 

 

 

12

Do the platforms take action to create a clean economy education and skills strategy?

0

0.5

0

0.5

13

Do the platforms take action to push the hiring of Canadian talent first for well-paying clean economy jobs,?

0

0.5

1

1

 

Help Canadian Communities 

 

 

 

 

14

Do the platforms take action to help towns and cities make transition plans

0

0.5

0

0.5

PILLAR 3 – UPGRADE OUR LIVES WITH A CARBON MAKEOVER

 

 

 

 

15

Do the platforms take action to advance 100% clean and renewable electricity?

0

1

1

1

16

Do the platforms take action to advance clean energy and industry?

0.5

0.5

0.5

0.5

17

Do the platforms take action to advance clean transportation?

1

1

1

1

18

Do the platforms take action to advance zero-emission homes and buildings?

0.5

1

1

1

19

Do the platforms take action to advance smart land use and zero waste?

1

1

1

1

20

 Do the platforms take action to advance carbon draw down and sequestration technologies and approaches?

1

1

1

0.5

WEATHER THE STORM

 

 

 

 

21

Do the platforms take action to reduce risks?

0.5

0.5

0.5

0.5

22

Do the platforms take action to protect health and wellbeing?

0

0

0

0

23

Do the platforms take action to build resilient infrastructure?

1

0.5

0.5

0.5

24

Do the platforms take action to support vulnerable regions and people

0.5

0.5

1

0.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL SCORE (out of a possible 24)

7

15

17.5

15.5

 

Weighted to a total score out of 10 (to more easily compare to other issue areas)

2.9

6.3

7.3

6.5

Detailed Commentary 

Below is a comprehensive explanation of why Gen Squeeze assigned the scores we did to each party for each criterion, and the strengths and weaknesses of individual policy proposals.

For each section, we generally begin our commentary with the party we see as having the strongest platform on that criteria and then move to parties we see as having the weakest platform or the least to say.   

The analysis of each criterion includes: a summary, a breakdown of the scores earned by each party, and a list of specific policy commitments from each party. This is a slightly different format from our detailed housing, family and intergenerational budgeting analyses – this difference simply reflects the style of our analyst on this topic.

 

CLEAR GOALS AND PRINCIPLES

 

Criterion 1: Goal - Do the platforms commit to a clear goal of holding climate change to 1.5 degrees?


This includes committing to specific emissions reduction targets in line with that goal, e.g. as published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.


All parties except the Conservatives commit to goals for 2030 that are consistent with an emission pathway to get to net zero by mid-century. It is debatable whether the Liberal enhanced emission target of 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030 represents Canada's “fair share” in reducing global emissions. The Green Party target of 60% and the NDP target of 50% would likely be more consistent with Canada's fair share. The Greens clearly have the most ambitious target; and the closer we approximate it, the more we minimize Canada’s cumulative emissions to 2050.  

The Conservative Party's commitment to Canada’s previous Nationally Determined Contribution of 30% below 2005 by 2030 would represent a rollback of Canada's current ambition, and would certainly not be consistent with Canada's fair share of emissions trajectory to reach net zero. The Conservatives do not commit to net zero in their platform, although the leader voted “Yea” for Bill C-12 respecting transparency and accountability in Canada's efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050.  

Scoring 

Green party: The Green Party is proposing a more ambitious 2030 target, equivalent to 60% reduction in emissions below 2005 levels. Net zero before 2050 if with net negative emissions by 2050. These are all very ambitious targets. A full point is awarded. 

Liberal party: The Liberals propose to achieve a 40-45% reduction in emissions below 2005 levels by 2030, with a further commitment to become net zero by 2050. While the target is less ambitious than the Greens, it is nevertheless compliant with holding climate change to 1.5 degrees.  A half point is awarded. 

NDP: The NDP committed to stabilizing global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and commit to the ambitious targets of a 50% reduction below 2005 levels by 2030, and net zero by 2050. A half point is awarded. 

Conservative party: The Conservatives do commit to achieve emissions reductions of 30% below 2005 levels by 2030 – but they do not commit to net zero emissions by mid-century – which would be consistent with holding climate change to 1.5 degrees.  Since the Conservatives’ plan is not compliant with the 1.5 degree goal, one point is subtracted. 

Specific policies  

Green party: 

  • Achieve net zero emissions as quickly as possible, while aiming to be net negative in 2050 (p. 5). 
  • 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  
  • 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 (p. 7) 

Liberal party: 

  • Deliver on all policy and fiscal measures outlined in the December 2020 Strengthened Climate Plan, implement the recently passed Net Zero Emissions Accountability Act, and advance new measures to achieve an ambitious 40-45% reduction in emissions by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. 
  • Cut pollution in heavy industry and make sure the oil and gas sector is net zero by 2050.
  • Set 2025 and 2030 milestones based on the advice of the Net-Zero Advisory Body to ensure reduction levels are ambitious and achievable and that the oil and gas sector makes a meaningful contribution to meeting the nation’s 2030 climate goals.

NDP:

  • New Democrats are committed to helping stabilize the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius (p. 43). 
  • Set an ambitious target of reducing our emissions by at least 50% from 2005 levels by 2030. Reaching further wherever possible to account for Canada’s fair share. 
  • 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 (p. 43).  

Conservative party: 

  • No commitment to net zero: “Since Canada only produces less than 2% of global emissions we have to accept the fact that even if we reach net zero by 2050 we will still have to deal with the effects of climate change” (p. 84).
  • Develop a Net Zero Foundations program to begin putting in place the building blocks required to meet our net zero goals (p. 82). 

 

Criterion 2: Principle 1 - Do the platforms demonstrate a commitment to the principle of “All Hands on Deck”?


By including commitments to (a) share responsibility between all levels of society - from industry to households - and (b) ensure positive collaboration between all levels of government, nationally and internationally.


All the platforms make some commitment to the principle of “all hands-on deck”. Most of the platforms discuss working with various levels of society with the exception of the Conservative platform. That said, the Conservative platform explicitly recognizes the importance of working with provinces and territories on coordinating climate policy, which is conspicuously absent from the Green and NDP platforms – although perhaps it is implied they would work with the provinces and territories since it is such an important piece of climate policy success within Canada. 

The Liberal platform has the most comprehensive listing of actions that would bring in various aspects of civil society, industry and labour.  This includes explicit mention about with working with the provinces and territories on various pieces of climate policy period.  

Scoring 

Liberal party: The Liberal platform provides the most comprehensive governance frame in which decision-making is influenced by external advisory bodies, such as the Net Zero Advisory Council. Also explicitly recognized is the role of provinces and territories – for example, exploring modernization of the electrical grid through a Pan-Canadian Grid Council. Working with both industry and labour is also mentioned in the Liberal platform. For these reasons, a full point is assigned. 

Conservative party: The Conservatives place a narrow focus on achieving greenhouse gas reductions in partnership with the provinces and territories. There is very little focus on including civil society or other governance mechanisms in the decision-making process. Only a half point is therefore awarded 

Green party: The Green platform proposes the creation of an independent, nonpartisan council comprised of a broad cross section of civil society. There is also mention of joint review panels that bring together federal and provincial officials to discuss improved public transportation. However, the platform doesn’t adequality recognize the shared jurisdiction of climate policy between provinces, territories and the federal government, so only a half point is awarded. 

NDP: The platform proposes to work with partners to develop a multi-year national and sectoral carbon budgeting process. While the partners are not explicitly identified, discussion of national and sectoral carbon budgets does imply that a broad cross section of interests would be involved in the process. The creation of a Climate Accountability Office to make transparent federal efforts and performance on climate policy also indicates that groups outside of the federal government would have the information required to influence the policy making process. Only a half point is awarded, however, given the lack of explicit discussion about working with provinces and territories, and the absence of explicit recognition of the various partners to be included. 

Specific policies 

Liberal party: 

  • Work with all Canadians and the Net Zero Advisory Body to identify ways to further accelerate climate action that will put us on trajectory to achieve net zero emissions as soon as possible and no later than 2050 (p. 43). 
  • Just as past Canadian governments invested in the national railway and highways, we can partner with provinces and territories to develop a truly national power grid that will secure affordable and net-zero power for all Canadians and create good jobs (p. 44).
  • Create a Pan-Canadian Grid Council to promote infrastructure investments, smart grids, grid integration, and electricity sector innovation with the goal of making Canada the most reliable, cost-effective, and carbon-free electricity producer in the world (p. 44). 
  • Work with industry, labour, and other stakeholders to develop a regulated sales requirement that at least 50% of all new light duty vehicle sales be zero emissions vehicles in 2030 (p. 45).  
  • Provide $100 million to make sure existing buildings can install charging stations, removing a barrier to adopting a clean car (p. 45).  
  • Launch a Canada-U.S. Battery Alliance for stakeholders in both countries to identify shared priorities and create environmental requirements that lead to an integrated, world-scale battery supply chain (p. 46). 
  • Work with stakeholders to identify new strategic priorities, including future battery types, ways to optimize batteries for cold weather performance and long-duration storage, and applications in heavy-duty transportation (p. 46).

Conservative party: 

  • Work with the provinces, to give Canada the best chance to be a leader in climate action. We’ll bring the provinces together to talk about the next steps in climate action and how we can work together to meet Canada’s goal (p. 3). 
  • Canada’s Conservatives will work with the provinces to implement an innovative, national, Personal Low Carbon Savings Account. This will put a price on carbon for consumers without one penny going to the government. It will be completely transparent and engage consumers in the process of building a lower carbon future (p. 4). 
  • Work with provinces, territories and the agriculture and forestry sectors to identify and support ways in which the sectors can contribute to enhancing carbon sequestration (p. 8).

Green party:

  • Create an independent, non-partisan council to advise the government on the development and implementation of its climate change policies, through a lens of environmental justice and eradicating environmental racism. The council would be composed of First Nations, Inuit and Métis representatives, climate scientists and researchers, youth, and representatives from communities most affected by the climate emergency (p. 12). 
  • 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 (p. 34). 

 NDP: 

  • 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 (p. 45). 
  • 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 (p. 45). 
  • Appoint a Climate Emergency Committee of Cabinet and establish a strong Climate Emergency Secretariat in the PMO to ensure a whole-of-government approach to responding to the climate emergency (p. 46).

 

Criterion 3: Principle 2 - Do the platforms demonstrate a commitment to the principle of “No One Left Behind”?


By including commitments to (a) ensure that regions most impacted by a transition receive extra support, (b) ensure that individual workers most impacted by a transition receive extra support, (c) the benefits of a clean energy transition are equitably spread, and (d) ensure that reconciliation between Canada and indigenous people and nations is advanced through the transition to a clean economy.


All party platforms, except for the Conservatives, support the principle of “no one left behind”. There is strong support across the Liberal, Green and NDP parties for a just transition, and action to help workers navigate changes in the economy as fossil fuel demand falls. The Greens and the NDP commit to environmental justice principles, whereas the Liberals explicitly commit to helping marginalized populations such as youth, women, and Indigenous People. There is no mention in the Conservative platform about a just transition, spreading the benefits of the clean energy transition, or linking the transition of a green economy to reconciliation with Indigenous People. Only the Green Party identifies international finance to help developing countries address climate change mitigation and adaptation.  

Scoring 

Green party: The Greens commit to introducing a Just Transition Act to take care of workers and communities as demand for fossil fuels falls. Uniquely across the platforms, the Green party also promises to provide international climate finance to support mitigation and adaptation efforts in affected regions, and to support passage of legislation addressing environmental racism and environmental justice. A full point is given to the Greens. 

Liberal party: The Liberals promise a specific fund to support Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador through the clean energy transition. Support is mentioned for a wide range of groups, including, Indigenous People, local workers, unions, and educational institutions. Legislation to support a just transition is also mentioned, designed to help a broad cross section of civil society and communities, including specific at-risk sectors, Indigenous Peoples, youth, and women to help them take advantage of clean growth. A full point is awarded given the breadth of proposals, and range of regions, vulnerable populations and economic sectors mentioned. 

NDP: The NDP platform speaks to indirect support for regions through job creation stemming from green infrastructure investments, and to ‘putting into action’ the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The NDP also propose to create an Office of Environmental Justice to address the disproportionate impacts of climate change on low income, racialized, and marginalized communities. We award a full point for the party’s commitment to the principle, but observe in subsequent parts of the analysis that the platform contains limited detail about how the NDP will address the needs of disproportionately impacted regions, or support workers through the transition. 

Conservative party: There is no mention of need to provide extra support for regions impacted by the transition, no discussion of support for individual workers, and no commitments regarding how reconciliation can be advanced through the transition. As such, no points are awarded. 

Specific policies  

Green party: 

  • Introduce a Just Transition Act before the end of 2021 that takes care of workers and communities during the transition (p. 6).  
  • 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 (p. 6).  
  • Replace every high paying fossil fuel sector job with a high paying green sector job through wage insurance, retraining programs and early retirement plans (p. 6). 
  • Ramp up climate finance to $USD 4 billion per year to support climate mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage in developing countries (p. 10). 
  • Support swift passage of the proposed National Strategy Respecting Environmental Racism and Environmental Justice Act (Bill C-230) (p. 12) 

Liberal party: 

  • Establish a $2 billion Futures Fund for Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador that will be designed in collaboration with local workers, unions, educational institutions, environmental groups, investors, and Indigenous peoples who know their communities best. We will support local and regional economic diversification and specific place-based strategies (p. 46).
  • Move forward with Just Transition Legislation, guided by the feedback we receive from workers, unions, Indigenous peoples, communities, and provinces and territories (p. 46).
  • Partner with post-secondary institutions and Indigenous organizations to accelerate the creation and growth of Indigenous clean technology businesses (p. 47). 
  • We are committed to facilitating a just and equitable transition to clean growth. 75% of workers in the mining, oil and gas sectors are men. Our green jobs and clean tech investment plan applies an intersectional lens so that women, Indigenous people, and youth can benefit from these opportunities (p. 53).  

NDP:

  • Create good jobs in all regions, with green infrastructure investments that will ensure that working people are not left behind as the world moves to a zero-carbon economy (p. 43). 
  • Putting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – which is now law – into action in our collective fight against the climate crisis (p. 43).  
  • 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 (p. 43). 

Conservative party:

  • No specific commitments relevant to this criterion.  

 

PILLAR 1 – MOBILIZE THE MARKET

Send the Right Signals 

Criterion 4: Do the platforms include action to lower income taxes?


Specifically by using revenue from growing taxes on pollution (see the next criterion). Lower income taxes can be achieved by way of a tax cut, a tax rebate, a dividend or similar mechanism. The point is to send a paired signal to the market which simultaneously incentivizes labour and work (this criterion), and disincentivizes pollution (the next criterion).


Both the Conservatives and Liberals have proposals to recycle revenue back to households. The Conservatives also propose recycling carbon price revenue back to small businesses. The NDP and Green platforms do not mention revenue recycling or lowering income taxes. 

Scoring 

Conservative party: The platform proposes a low carbon savings account that, in theory, returns carbon payments to households – and importantly, to small business. However, it’s unclear whether this proposal is feasible from an operational perspective, and for this reason, only half a point is awarded. 

Liberal party: The platform proposes to continue with the approach initiated by the Liberal government of returning carbon proceeds back to households. However, the Liberals do not address a major gap in the current policy, which is addressing competitiveness concerns for small businesses with limited access to carbon proceeds. A half point is therefore awarded.  

Green party: The Green party does not mention reducing income taxes or using revenue to reduce the impact of carbon pricing.  No points are awarded. 

NDP: The NDP also does not address reducing income taxes or using revenue to reduce the impact of carbon pricing. No points are awarded. 

Specific policies 

Conservative party:

  • Implement an innovative, national, Personal Low Carbon Savings Account. This will put a price on carbon for consumers without one penny going to the government. It will be completely transparent and engage consumers in the process of building a lower carbon future. Canadians will pay into their Personal Low Carbon Savings Account each time they buy hydrocarbon based fuel. They will be able to apply the money in their account towards things that help them live a greener life (p. 77). 
  • Businesses that aren’t subject to the Output Based Pricing System but buy fuel will have a Small Business Low Carbon Savings Account that will operate similarly (p. 78). 

Liberal party: 

  • Continue to put a rising price on pollution, while putting more money back into the pockets of Canadians. 

 Green party:

  • No specific commitments relevant to this criterion.  

NDP:

  • No specific commitments relevant to this criterion.  

 

Criterion 5: Do the platforms include action to increase pollution taxes?


With direct carbon prices, cap and trade, or some combination. Taxes should be increased to a level that – in combination with other policy measures – is capable of helping Canada do its part towards limiting climate change to 1.5 degrees. This means continuing to increase carbon taxes beyond 2022, and in a way that specifically directs revenue back to Canadians (see previous criteria); the pollution tax can take the form of a direct carbon price, cap and trade or some combination. The point is to send a paired signal to the market which simultaneously incentivizes labour and work (this criterion), and disincentivizes pollution (the next criterion).


There is cross-party consensus that carbon pricing is a key plank of Canada’s efforts to reduce emissions. The Green Party proposes the most aggressive price schedule to 2030, while the NDP plans to reduce the cost discount given to large emitters that are trade exposed. The Conservatives propose maintaining the current $50 per tonne carbon price on the fuels to which it applies, which include gasoline, diesel, and home heating fuels. This Conservative commitment would effectively reduce the current price trajectory for these covered fuels, thereby unwinding the incentive to reduce emissions. 

Scoring 

Green party: An aggressive price trajectory is proposed by the Green Party, climbing by $25 per ton, per year, to 2030. A full point is therefore awarded.  

Liberal party: The Liberals commit to keep increasing the price of carbon to 2030.  They receive a full point on this criterion. 

NDP: The NDP proposes to continue carbon pricing – but importantly, to increase the average cost of the policy for large emitters. This essentially means that emissions will not be ‘free’ for large, emissions intensive, and trade exposed economic sectors such as cement, steel, and oil and gas. A full point is therefore awarded.  

Conservative party: The Conservatives commit to freezing the current carbon price at $50 per tonne, with no further increases to 2030.  They also do not make a clear commitment to an increasing carbon price for large industrial emitters.  They suggest an openness to “set industrial carbon prices on a path to $170/tonne by 2030” (p. 79) but this is contingent on the actions of other jurisdictions (notably the US), and on whether sufficient progress has already been made for Canada to meet its 2030 targets.  A half point is deducted from the Conservatives on this criterion, given that their proposal will unwind the current carbon price trajectory.   

Specific policies 

Green party:

  • Accelerate the increase in carbon taxes: Beginning in 2022 and up to 2030, increase carbon taxes by $25 per tonne each year (p. 7). 

Liberal party:

  • Continue to put a rising price on pollution, while putting more money back into the pockets of Canadians (p. 43). 

NDP:

  • Continue with carbon pricing while making it fairer and rolling back loopholes this Liberal government has given to big polluters (p. 45).   

Conservative party:

  • Scrap the consumer carbon tax backstop (p. 78).
  • Ensure that all Canadians can do their part to fight climate change, in the way that works best for them, and at a carbon price that is affordable: starting at $20/tonne and increasing to $50/tonne but no further (p. 78).  
  • Rather than choosing an arbitrary carbon price in advance, we’ll tie Canada’s industrial carbon price to that of our biggest trading partners… We will assess progress after two years and be prepared to set industrial carbon prices on a path to $170/tonne by 2030, but only if the combination of adopting a price based on that of our major trading partners and working with the U.S. on North American standards has not assured us that we are on a path to our Paris commitment (p. 79). 
  • Study the potential for introducing new taxes on frequent flyers, non-electric luxury vehicles and second homes to deter activities that hurt the environment (p. 83).

 

Criterion 6: Do the platforms include action to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies?


A.k.a. negative carbon pricing. Subsidies can take a number of forms, including those that are clearly listed as line item expenditures in government budgets, as well as less obvious market interventions.


All parties except the Conservatives commit to phasing out fossil fuel subsidies – but the proposals are rather vague.  The NDP would create legislation to ban future federal subsidies, while both the Greens and the Liberals would direct crown corporations and federal financial bodies to stop supporting oil and gas development, for example, through divestment. The Conservatives are proposing to increase subsidies to the oil and gas sector, notably through supporting the development of LNG exports.  

Scoring 

NDP: The platform commits to phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, and to implementing legislation to curtail future federal oil and gas subsidies – including those for pipelines. The NDP receives a half point on this criterion. 

Liberal party: The Liberal platform reiterates a commitment to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, and accelerates the timeline from 2025 to 2023. This includes developing plans to phase out public financing of the oil and gas sector, including from crown corporations.  We give the Liberals a half point on this criterion. (The fact that the Liberals commit to eliminating fossil fuel subsidies in their election platform does not align with the earlier decision of the Liberal government to purchase the TransMountain pipeline. For the purposes of this analysis, it is important to note we focus only on commitments in the platform documents – not on previous actions by parties or governments). 

Green party: The platform commits to ending all subsidies to fossil fuel sector but is not specific in how this would be done.  They also receive half a point. 

Conservative party: The Conservatives go in the opposite direction from the other parties, committing to increasing oil and gas subsidies, and specifically support the export of liquefied natural gas.  We deduct half a point from the Conservatives on this criterion. 

Specific policies 

NDP 

  • Eliminate fossil fuel subsidies (p. 43). 
  • 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 (p. 46). 

Green party:

  • End all subsidies to the fossil fuel sector (p. 5). 

Liberal party: 

  • Accelerate our G20 commitment to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies from 2025 to 2023 (p. 44).  
  • Develop a plan to phase-out public financing of the fossil fuel sector, including from Crown corporations, consistent with our commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 (p. 44). 

Conservative party:

  • Implement a Liquified Natural Gas export strategy to displace coal in electricity generation. Using natural gas instead of coal cuts emissions in half, and countries across Asia are eager to buy Canadian natural gas (p. 83).

 

PILLAR 1 – MOBILIZE THE MARKET

Raise $ to Make $

 

Criterion 7: Do the platforms include action to get investors excited?


Including by (a) mapping Canada’s long-term path to a low-emissions, climate-smart economy, sector by sector, (b) providing individual Canadians incentives to connect their savings to climate objectives, (c) giving all Canadians options to invest by expanding Canada’s green fixed income market.


No clear guidance is provided on sustainable investment opportunities, or on providing incentives to Canadians to pursue climate related investments.  The Conservative and Liberal platforms propose tax credits for targeted sectors or industries.  The Liberals and the Greens also point to specific areas for investment, such as clean technology.  Only the Liberals take action on options for investment by individual Canadians, proposing to develop green bonds. 

Scoring  

Liberal party: The Liberal platform proposes tax credits for renewable energy, battery storage, clean technology, as well as mineral development.  The Liberals also promise to issue green bonds totaling $5 billion – with no further details provided. A full point is awarded. 

Conservative party: The Conservatives also propose to support critical minerals for clean energy development, as well as tax credits for Carbon Capture. There are no commitments regarding individual investment vehicles.  We give the Conservatives half a point.  

Green party: The Green platform includes no commitments related to motivating investment in green finance, or helping Canadians to invest in clean technology. No points are awarded. 

NDP: Like the Greens, the NDP platform does not speak to this criterion. No points are awarded. 

Specific policies 

Liberal party:

  • Develop additional investment tax credits for a range of renewable energy and battery storage solutions, to accelerate the deployment of clean energy (p. 44). 
  • Double the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit for materials on the Canadian list of critical minerals which are essential to the manufacturing of vital clean technologies, such as batteries (p. 46) 
  • Use all tools, including the Investment Canada Act, to ensure the protection and development of our critical minerals from both an economic and national security perspective (p. 46).  
  • Develop an investment tax credit of up to 30% for a range of clean technologies including low carbon and net-zero technologies with input from external experts on what technologies should be covered (p. 47). 
  • Issue green bonds, annually, worth a minimum of $5 billion (p. 47). 
  • Develop a climate data strategy to ensure that the private sector and communities have access to decision-useful climate information and to inform infrastructure investments (p. 47). 

Conservative party: 

  • Implement a Critical Minerals Strategy to take advantage of Canada’s abundant resources of the minerals needed to power our clean energy future – creating jobs, supporting the Indigenous economy, contributing to a cleaner environment, and reducing global reliance on critical minerals from China (p. 34). 
  • Introduce a tax credit to rapidly accelerate the deployment of CCUS technology in the energy sector and in important industries that have few alternatives to burning fossil fuels, like fertilizer and chemical production. This tax credit will include an early mover bonus for facilities that have CCUS in place before 2030… In total, we are investing $5 billion in CCUS (p. 80). 
  • We will provide tax relief to the first five facilities that use new technology that provides meaningful emissions reductions and has a high cost to build (p. 81) 

Green party: 

  • 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 (p. 7). 

NDP: 

  • No mention of specific actions.  

 

Criterion 8: Do the platforms include action to bake sustainability into financial system?


Including by (a) establishing the Canadian Centre for Climate Information and Analytics (C3IA) as an authoritative source of climate information and decision analysis, (b) defining and pursuing a Canadian approach to implementing the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), (c) clarifying the scope of fiduciary duty in the context of climate change, (d) promoting a knowledgeable financial support ecosystem, and (e) embedding climate-related risk into monitoring, regulation and supervision of Canada’s financial system.


All parties except the Conservatives have proposals to bake sustainability into the financial system. The NDP and the Liberals have the broadest proposals, focused on requiring corporate reporting of climate-related risks, and changing the way crown corporations disclose their climate-related risks. The Greens do not mention the need for more corporate reporting of climate risks, but do advocate for federal institutions to divest from fossil fuels.    

Scoring  

NDP: A full point is awarded for mentioning the need for more corporate climate accountability, for proposing the creation of Canadian climate bank to de-risk low carbon investment, and for advocating the need for crown corporations to revise their practices. 

Liberal party: The Liberal platform pushes for more climate related financial disclosure, and commits to requiring federally regulated institutions to disclose climate-related related financial risks and to develop net zero plans. The Liberals also mention using the Sustainable Finance Action Council to develop a net zero capital allocation strategy to assist with financing. A full point is awarded.

Green party: Half a point is awarded for mention of using public investment funds to divest from fossil fuels. 

Conservative party: The Conservative platform does not address this criterion. No points are awarded.

Specific policies 

NDP: 

  • Work with provinces to put in place a framework for corporate climate accountability to ensure mandatory transparency on carbon risk from publicly traded companies (p. 45). 
  • Establish a new Canadian Climate Bank that will help boost investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and low carbon technology across the country. (p. 50). 
  • Change the mandate of the Bank of Canada to focus on contributing to net zero (p. 43). 
  • 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 (p. 45). 

Liberal party:

  • Deliver on the commitment that we made with G7 Finance Ministers earlier this year to move toward mandatory climate-related financial disclosures that provide consistent and decision-useful information for market participants and that are based on the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework, in cooperation with provinces and territories (p. 47).  
  • Require climate-related financial disclosures and the development of net-zero plans for federally regulated institutions, which includes financial institutions, pension funds, and government agencies (p. 47). 
  • Work with financial experts through the Sustainable Finance Action Council to develop a net-zero capital allocation strategy to move capital into the types of investments needed to accelerate Canada’s transition to a prosperous net-zero future (p. 47). 

Green party: 

  • Require federal public investment funds (including the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board) to divest from fossil fuels (p. 5).  

Conservative party: 

  • No specific proposals are included in the platform.  

 

PILLAR 1 – MOBILIZE THE MARKET

Carbon Budgeting

 

Criterion 9: Do the platforms include action to ensure that governments provide regular carbons budgets?


Just as governments provide annual budgets identifying priorities and plans for allocating taxpayer dollars, we need governments to provide regular carbon budgets documenting how much carbon absorbing capacity is left, and what we will use this capacity for while we are on route to achieving net-Zero by 2050.


The Greens, Liberals and NDP include commitments to carbon budgeting in their platforms – a key tool that needed to ensure that we ‘spend’ our atmosphere’s remaining scarce capacity to absorb carbon as carefully as we spend our money.  The Conservatives are silent on this topic.       

Scoring 

Green party: The Green platform commits to enacting a detailed Carbon Budget to help steer Canada towards climate change targets.  The Greens also propose a global carbon budget within a revamped World Trade and Climate Organization, and to tie tariffs to emissions intensity.  The feasibility of changes to multilateral global institutions like the WTO may be questionable, at least without support from other member nations.  However, we give the Greens a full point for committing to domestic carbon budgeting.  

NDP: The NDP also promise to put in place carbon budgets, both at the national level, and for individual sectors, as a “key guiding framework to develop Canada’s path to 2030 and beyond” (p. 45).  The NDP also receive a full point. 

Liberal party: The Net Zero Emissions Accountability Act includes provisions for five-year milestones, which the liberals have expanded in their platform to include milestones prior to 2030. These milestones can be operationalized as carbon budgets. We therefore award half a point. 

Conservative party: The Conservative platform includes no discussion of carbon budgeting.  No points are awarded. 

Specific policies 

Green party:

  • Created detailed carbon budgets to determine the cumulative amount of greenhouses gases Canada can emit to do its part to hold climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius (p. 7). 
  • Revamp the World Trade Organization to the World Trade and Climate Organization, to ensure that trade is consistent with a global carbon budget  (p. 7).
  • Ensure that tariffs are determined based on the carbon intensity of imported products  (p. 7).   

NDP: 

  • 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 (p. 45) 

Liberal party:

  • Deliver on all policy and fiscal measures outlined in our Strengthened Climate Plan from December 2020, implement the recently passed Net Zero Emissions Accountability Act, and advance new measures to achieve an ambitious 40-45% reduction in emissions by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.  (p. 43).  
  • Set 2025 and 2030 milestones based on the advice of the Net-Zero Advisory Body to ensure reduction levels are ambitious and achievable and that the oil and gas sector makes a meaningful contribution to meeting the nation’s 2030 climate goals (p. 44).

Conservative party:

  • No specific commitments on this criterion.

 

PILLAR TWO – HELP CANADIANS BECOME CLIMATE LEADERS

Help Canadian Businesses

 

Criterion 10: Do the platforms include action to support massive adoption of existing technology by private businesses?


Including any action that reduces cost or other barriers to the internal deployment of clean technology, with a particular emphasis on non-industrial businesses.


The Conservatives, Greens and NDP platforms all propose narrowly focused support programs for industry. The Conservative platform provides a significant amount of funding for carbon capture storage and utilization. Liberal funding is proposed to be about double that amount, and much broader based, supporting the deployment of clean technology across industry. 

Scoring 

Liberal party: The Liberal platform provides broad based funding focused on industrial solutions to achieve net zero, including significant financial support of almost $10 billion. A full point is awarded given the scope and scale of the proposal 

Conservative party: The Conservatives propose narrowly focused subsidies to carbon capture and utilization in industry, along with support for improving Canada’s electric vehicle battery supply chain. These proposals are limited in terms of the economic sectors covered, so half a point is awarded. 

Green party: The Green platform proposes a clean strategy for government procurement, and focusing on low carbon Canadian technologies including in small to medium enterprise. Half a point is awarded, given the limited scope of these proposals. 

NDP: The NDP platform provides for a limited intervention to support technology deployment, with a focus on green public procurement incentives for zero emission vehicles. Half a point is awarded, given the limited scope of the proposal.  

Specific policies  

Liberal party: 

  • Created the Strategic Innovation Fund and Net Zero Accelerator to spur innovation and accelerate growth in Canada’s businesses.
  • Invest $8 billion [through the Net Zero Accelerator] to accelerate green jobs and Canada’s industrial transformation, with an extra $1.75 billion of targeted support for the aerospace sector to accelerate the transition. 
  • Advance green industrial strategies and continue investing funds from the Net Zero Accelerator in strategic opportunities and make sure that Canada claims more than our fair share of growing clean growth opportunities (p. 45). 

Conservative party:

  • Introduce a tax credit to rapidly accelerate the deployment of CCUS technology in the energy sector and in important industries that have few alternatives to burning fossil fuels, like fertilizer and chemical production. This tax credit will include an early mover bonus for facilities that have CCUS in place before 2030… In total, we are investing $5 billion in CCUS. (p. 80).
  • Tax relief to the first five facilities that use new technology that provides meaningful emissions reductions and has a high cost to build (p. 81) 
  • Support improved electric vehicle battery repurposing and recycling in order to lower the environmental impact of these batteries and lower the cost of vehicles on the resale market (p. 78). 

Green party:

  • Implement a national Buy Clean strategy to increase government procurement of Canadian low-carbon technologies (p. 18).

NDP:

  • 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 (p. 46). 
  • Waive the federal sales tax on ZEV purchases, and grow these incentives up to $15,000 per family for made-in-Canada vehicles (p. 49). 
  • 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 plugin charger (p. 49). 

 

Criterion 11: Do the platforms include action to support R&D and export of Canadian technology and expertise?


Including the early-stage innovation, development, commercialization, and export of Canadian clean economy solutions, both goods and services.


The Conservative platform is the most comprehensive with respect to supporting R&D and exporting Canadian technology and expertise. Several programs are identified, including a whole series of technologies that will be supported. That said, the Liberal, NDP and Green platforms also recognize the importance of innovation in R&D and supporting Canadian technology. Proposed actions centre on green public procurement and buy-Canadian programs. Significant investments in innovation programs are vaguely mentioned in most of the platforms, with the Liberal net zero accelerator fund explicitly targeting innovation. 

Scoring 

Conservative party: The platform is heavily focused on using research and development to help with the low carbon transition. But without broad-based signals like carbon pricing, the innovation signal of these targeted programs likely will be weak. Still, a full point is awarded given the platform’s extensive focus on R&D.   

Liberal party: The Liberal platform proposes using green public procurement and buy clean programs to help drive domestic innovation and commercialization. The net zero accelerator fund would also help with innovation. Only a half point is awarded, given the lack of specificity.  

NDP: The platform proposes the creation of a centre of excellence for zero emission vehicles, to look for opportunities to scale up energy storage hydrogen and batteries. It also proposes development of climate bank to support renewable energy components and technologies to be manufactured in Canada. Half a point is awarded. 

Green party: There is vague reference to innovation and R&D.  A half point is awarded given the lack of specificity.   

Specific policies 

Conservative party:

  • Invest a billion dollars in building out electric vehicle manufacturing in Canada, including investing in battery production, parts manufacturing, micro-mobility solutions and electric trucks (p. 5). 
  • Invest a billion dollars in deploying hydrogen technology including hydrogen vehicles (p. 5). 
  • Pilot the use of Canadian renewable fuels by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), a major user of fuel, with the goal of using CAF purchases to stimulate an increase in renewable fuel production in Canada (p. 7). 
  • Invest in Direct Air Capture, a promising technology that captures carbon dioxide from the air. Canada is a technology leader in this area (p. 7).  
  • Develop initiatives to pilot new technologies and solutions that will lower the cost and speed up the pace of retrofits, particularly residential retrofits (p. 11) 
  • Invest a billion dollars in Small Modular Reactors, to get this zero emissions source of electricity and heat to the point that it starts to be deployed across the country, including in the oilsands (p. 12). 
  • Develop export markets for Canadian nuclear technology and uranium, to help countries generate more electricity with this zero emission energy source (p. 12). 
  • Increase exports of our cleanest resources and products to replace items made with higher pollution (p. 12).

Liberal party: 

  • Double down to attract investments and jobs in manufacturing zero emissions vehicles in Canada through the $8 billion Net Zero Accelerator (p. 45). 
  • Provide support and incentives for domestic procurement of Canadian clean technology. By partnering with other levels of government and existing large companies, we can help emerging Canadian clean technology firms secure customers here in Canada (p. 47). 
  • Introduce a new Buy Clean Strategy to support and prioritize the use of made-in-Canada low-carbon products in public and private infrastructure projects (p. 47). 

NDP:

  • Create a centre of excellence for research and development of ZEVs to move forward related technologies such as hydrogen, batteries, and energy storage solutions (p. 49).  
  • Look for further opportunities related to green hydrogen fuel cell technology which could help reduce emissions for heavy trucks, freight, marine and aviation sectors (p. 49). 
  • Establish a Climate Bank… that will also support made-in-Canada manufacturing of renewable energy components and technologies, and help scale up Canada’s clean energy industry (p. 50).  

Green party: 

  • Promote green procurement practices (procuring goods and services that have a reduced environmental impact), as recommended by the United Nations Environment Programme (p. 7) 

Use skills and knowledge from the oil and gas industry to become world leaders in new technologies (p. 10).

 

PILLAR TWO – HELP CANADIANS BECOME CLIMATE LEADERS

Help Canadian Workers

 

Criterion 12: Do the platforms include action to create a clean economy education and skills strategy?

 

Including an overarching transition workforce needs study, retraining/skills upgrades for existing industrial workers, an education and training strategy to foster a steady stream of new workers from Canada, and skilled labour immigration strategies.


With the exception of the NDP, all platforms include only a limited scope of actions to support a shift towards clean economy education and skills. Given the need for skills training to deploy vast amounts of low carbon technology, and to transition workers away from industries that will see a drop in demand (such as oil and gas extraction), the limited attention by all parties to supporting education and skills is surprising. 

Scoring 

NDP: Skills training is proposed by the NDP, mostly focused on vehicle manufacturing. The platform includes a commitment to create a new Workers Development and Opportunities Fund, as well as developing national training priorities to assist marginalized workers and those impacted workers in sectors transitioning away from fossil fuels. Only half a point is awarded, given the vagueness of the proposal and limited areas of focus.   

Green party: The platform proposes to enact legislation to support green jobs training programs, as well as providing funding that supports academic research. Only a half point is awarded given the limited scope of these proposals.  

Liberal party: The Liberals make vague references to helping workers upgrade or acquire new skills, and addressing skills gaps, primarily to support the battery industry.  Given the vague language and narrow focus, no points are awarded. 

Conservative party: There Conservatives have limited references to skills training in their platform, with a focus on improving trade certification and providing curriculums to trade schools and other institutions. No points are awarded. 

Specific policies 

NDP:

  • Work with labour and industry to make sure that Canadian workers have the skills they need to benefit from the adoption of these new technologies – and drive demand by ensuring that federal incentives for zero-emissions automobiles prioritize made-in-Canada vehicles (p. 37) 
  • Establish national training priorities, and create a new Workers Development and Opportunities Fund to expand training options beyond people who qualify for EI. This fund will be provincially directed, with dedicated support for marginalized workers, those in transitioning sectors and for efforts to improve literacy and essential skills (p. 33). 

Green party: 

  • 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 (p. 7). 
  • 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 (p. 16). 

Liberal party:  

  • Launch a Clean Jobs Training Centre to help industrial, skill and trade workers across sectors to upgrade or gain new skills to be on the leading edge of zero carbon industry (p. 46). 
  • Address gaps in training and upskilling to ensure that all Canadians workers can take advantage of battery industry opportunities (p. 46).  

Conservative party:

  • Develop curriculum for trade schools and institutes that support building design and construction, and improve certification standards (p. 82).

 

Criterion 13: Do the platforms include action to push the hiring of Canadian talent first?

 

Specifically for good-paying clean economy jobs, leveraging the new supply of skilled workers with procurement and training requirements for public works, and requirements and/or incentives for private works.


Supporting the hiring of Canadian talent is occasionally mentioned directly in election platforms – but generally, the parties appear to assume that commitments to green public procurement and buy Canadian provisions will support Canadian talent first. All platforms except for the Conservatives list green public procurement as a priority.  The Liberal and NDP platforms are the strongest, with the most comprehensive support on procuring Canadian green technologies. 

Scoring 

Liberal party: The Liberal platform explicitly identifies vulnerable groups to be supported for green employment, and lists green public procurement as a priority for federal operations and public and private infrastructure spending. A full point is awarded. 

NDP: The NDP platform lists several measures to support green jobs and green public procurement. A full point is awarded.    

Green party: Green procurement policies are mentioned in the Green party platform, along with laws to incentivize green investment and the creation of green jobs. Half a point is awarded given the limited scope of these proposals. 

Conservative party: The Conservative platform includes no measures relevant to this criterion, so no points are assigned. 

Specific policies 

Liberal party:

  • Create more opportunities for women, LGBTQ2 and other underrepresented people in the energy sector. Because when we include everyone, we get the best (p. 46).  
  • Provide support and incentives for domestic procurement of Canadian clean technology. By partnering with other levels of government and existing large companies, we can help emerging Canadian clean technology firms secure customers here in Canada (p. 47). 
  • Introduce a new Buy Clean Strategy to support and prioritize the use of made-in-Canada low-carbon products in public and private infrastructure projects (p. 47). 

NDP:

  • 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 (p. 50). 
  • Require the use of Canadian-made steel and aluminum for infrastructure projects across the country. 
  • 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. 
  • Boost clean tech research and manufacturing with new funding, incentives and Buy Canadian procurement of environmentally friendly technologies (p. 47).

Green party: 

  • Promote green procurement practices (procuring goods and services that have a reduced environmental impact), as recommended by the United Nations Environment Programme (p. 7) 
  • 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) (p. 6). 

Conservative party:

  • No commitments relevant to this criterion.  

 

PILLAR TWO – HELP CANADIANS BECOME CLIMATE LEADERS

Help Canadian Communities

 

Criterion 14: Do the platforms include action to help towns and cities make transition plans?

 

Which here refers to all manner of sustainable planning exercises to help combat sprawl, transition energy, transportation, and building systems to zero-emission, and the development of local economic diversification plans (adaptation and forest planning support are captured in other criteria).


There is limited attention in the party platform on supporting communities to make the transitions required to adapt to and address climate change. The Greens and NDP both mention communities as a focus of just transition planning, to help workers and communities adjust to changing circumstances as fossil fuel production falls. The Liberals do not specifically mention communities as a focus of their proposals concerning a just transition – though it is possible that communities would be an explicit focus of efforts under transition planning. No mention of transitioning workers or communities is made by the Conservatives. 

Scoring 

Green party: The platform mentions a range of supports for community transition plans. The Greens also propose introduce to enact a Just Transition Act before the end of 2021 to support workers and communities through the green energy transition.  Only half a point is awarded given the lack of detail, and the limited focus on natural resource communities or urban areas.   

NDP: The platform indirectly mentions supporting community transition plans. Half a point is awarded. 

Conservative party: The platform does not mention supporting community transition plans. No points are awarded. 

Liberal party: The platform does not mention of supporting community transition plans. No points are awarded. 

Specific policies 

Green party: 

  • Introduce a Just Transition Act before the end of 2021 that takes care of workers and communities during the transition (p. 6). 

NDP: 

  • This job-creation plan will be paired with new access to training and education for the low carbon future, and targeted support for impacted workers, families and communities so that the changing economy works for them (p. 24).

Conservative party:

  • No commitments relevant to this criterion.  

Liberal party:

  • No commitments relevant to this criterion.  

 

PILLAR 3 – UPGRADE OUR LIVES WITH A CARBON MAKEOVER

 

Criterion 15: Do the platforms include action to advance 100% clean power?

 

Which here specifically refers to 100% clean electricity generation (not including nuclear because it is not renewable). The actual electrification of fossil fuel-powered systems is captured in the next criterion.


All party platforms indicate targeted actions that support decarbonizing Canada’s electricity sector. The Liberal, NDP, and Green platforms all support deep decarbonization of the electricity sector by 2030. The Liberal platform is the only one that provides explicit policy actions, including tax credits, a ban on thermal coal exports, and a clean electricity standard. The Conservative platform only has a passing reference to decarbonizing the electricity sector, placing a heavy on emphasis on small modular nuclear reactors (which are unproven).  

Scoring 

Green party: The Green party commits to deep decarbonisation of the electricity sector by 2030 as well as building interties between provinces. A full point is therefore awarded. 

Liberal party: The Liberals commit to a fully decarbonized grid by 2035, as well as a ban on the export of thermal coal by 2030.  A full point is therefore awarded. 

NDP: The NDP platforms includes commitments to both short- and long-term electricity sector decarbonization. A full point is therefore awarded. 

Conservative party: No points are awarded to the Conservatives, given that the platform does not include explicit electricity sector targets or polices – and places a heavy emphasis on a technology that is not yet commercial.   

Specific Policies  

Green party: 

  • 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 (p. 8).  
  • Institute a ban on further development of nuclear power in Canada (p. 10).  

Liberal party:

  • Introduce a Clean Electricity Standard that will set Canada on a path to cut more emissions by 2030 and to achieve a 100% net-zero emitting electricity system by 2035. 
  • Develop additional investment tax credits for a range of renewable energy and battery storage solutions, to accelerate the deployment of clean energy. 
  • Ban thermal coal exports from and through Canada no later than 2030. 

NDP: 

  • Set a target of net carbon-free electricity by 2030, and move to 100% non-emitting electricity by 2040 (p. 43). 
  • A target to power Canada with net-zero electricity by 2030, and move to 100% non-emitting electricity by 2040 (p. 50). 
  • 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 (p. 50). 

Conservative party:

  • Invest in transmission infrastructure to bring clean energy to where it’s needed and ensure that our electricity grid can support the growth in electric vehicle (p. 5). 
  • Invest a billion dollars in Small Modular Reactors, to get this zero emissions source of electricity and heat to the point that it starts to be deployed across the country, including in the oilsands

 

Criterion 16: Do the platforms include action to advance clean energy and industry?

 

Including the clean electrification of industrial energy/power systems, the capture of industrial non-energy emissions (such as methane leakage from oil & gas), and the transition away from oil and non-renewable gas production entirely (hopefully) in line with aggressive reductions in domestic and global demand.


All platforms link clean industry with Canada's oil and gas sector. While Canada’s oil and gas sector is a significant source of emissions and emissions growth, this is not the full story on the need to advance clean industry. The Conservatives, Liberals and NDP have a limited focus on oil and gas emissions. The Green party proposes canceling or banning oil and gas development and operations – a plan that does not reflect the fact that energy development is an area of shared jurisdiction between the federal government, provinces and territories, and which may therefore be impractical.  Interestingly, there is cross party agreement on developing border carbon adjustments, which seek to level the playing field between Canada and international competitors that do not have similar carbon policies. Note that all parties support carbon pricing for large industrial emitters, which is captured in criterion 1.2. 

Scoring 

Conservative party: The Conservative platform proposes a renewable natural gas mandate to decarbonize the natural gas sector, and the development of standards in cooperation with the US to help align carbon costs across large emitters that are trade exposed. At the same time, the Conservatives propose to develop liquefied natural gas for export – which would only increase Canada’s emissions. The Conservatives also identify a number of incentives for carbon capture, utilization and storage. Overall, a half point is awarded. 

Liberal party: The primary focus of the Liberal platform is significantly reducing emissions from Canada’s oil and gas sector. Only a half point is awarded, given the lack of attention to significant emissions from other industrial sectors. 

Green party: The Green Party proposes canceling or banning oil and gas development and operations – an action that is likely to be infeasible as it falls outside of the scope of federal jurisdiction, given that most operations are licensed by provincial and territorial governments. Given that resource approvals rest largely with provinces and territories, only a half point is awarded. 

NDP: The NDP platform proposes a few specific policies, including banning the use of offsets, which are emission reductions bought from projects outside of the facility. Methane regulations in the oil and gas sector are mentioned. Half a point is awarded, given the narrow focus of NDP proposals. 

Specific policies  

Conservative party:

  • Introduce a tax credit to rapidly accelerate the deployment of CCUS technology in the energy sector and in important industries that have few alternatives to burning fossil fuels, like fertilizer and chemical production. This tax credit will include an early mover bonus for facilities that have CCUS in place before 2030… In total, we are investing $5 billion in CCUS. (p. 80). 
  • Provide tax relief to the first five facilities that use new technology that provides meaningful emissions reductions and has a high cost to build (p. 81) 
  • Introduce a Renewable Natural Gas Mandate, based on British Columbia’s policy, requiring 15% of downstream consumption to be renewable by 2030 (p. 79). 
  • Propose to the Biden administration minimum North American standards for key industrial sectors, backed up by border carbon adjustments to prevent leakage of emissions - and jobs - to countries with lower environmental and emissions standards like China (p. 79). 
  • Implement a Liquified Natural Gas export strategy to displace coal in electricity generation (p. 83). 

Liberal party:

  • Keep protecting Canadian jobs and competitiveness through smart carbon pricing design. (p. 43) 
  • Move forward, in collaboration with key trading partners, like the United States and European Union, on applying Border Carbon Adjustments to imports from countries that aren’t doing their part to reduce carbon pollution and fight climate change. This includes considering applying Border Carbon Adjustments on imports of steel, cement, aluminum, and other emissions-intensive industries, similar to the European Union’s approach. (p. 43) 
  • Make sure the oil and gas sector reduces emissions at a pace and scale needed to achieve net-zero by 2050, with 5-year targets to stay on track to achieving this shared goal. And driving down pollution starts with ensuring that pollution from the oil and gas sector doesn’t go up from current levels. 
  • Establish Canada as a global leader in battery recycling and reuse, to improve the environmental impact and build a competitive advantage (p.46).

Green party:

  • Cancel all new pipeline projects (beginning with Trans Mountain) and all new oil exploration projects, including in the off-shore (p. 5)
  • End leasing of federal lands for fossil fuel production and retire existing licenses (p. 5)
  • Ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking) (p. 5)
  • Phase out existing oil and gas operations, so that they continue on a declining basis with bitumen production phased out between 2030 and 2035 (all p. 5).  
  • 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 (p. 8)  
  • Continuously evaluate the impact of the Carbon Border Adjustment on developing countries through a lens of global environmental justice (p. 8). 
  • Ban the export of thermal coal from Canada, and end the export of millions of tons of US coal from Canadian ports (p. 11). 

NDP: 

  • 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 (p. 46). 
  • 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 (p. 46). 
  • 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 (p. 46). 

 

Criterion 17: Do the platforms include action to advance clean transportation?

 

Including the electrification of transportation (whether by battery or hydrogen storage; not including synthetic fuels here), and the expansion of both active transportation and public transportation infrastructure.


There is cross-party alignment on several issues under this criterion.  All the parties place a heavy emphasis on electrifying the transportation sector and decarbonizing fuels. The Greens and NDP seek to ban internal combustion engines in passenger vehicles by 2030. The Conservatives follow BC’s example and set a sales target of 30% for no emissions vehicles by 2030, while the Liberals propose that 100% of vehicles sold in Canada be zero-emission by 2035.    

Scoring 

Conservative party: The Conservatives propose a strong package of measures to decarbonize Canada's transportation system. This includes a zero-emission vehicle mandate, decarbonizing fuel including investments in hydrogen, and working with the provinces and territories to expand charging networks. It also proposes to increase the stringency of the Low Carbon Fuel standard. They receive a full point. 

Green party: The Green platform provides a comprehensive policy package to decarbonize transportation, including a National Transportation strategy ban on internal combustion engines by 2030, and various other policies to improve Canada's transportation network. A full point is awarded. 

Liberal party: A comprehensive set of policy measures are proposed by the Liberals to address public transit, vehicle emission intensity (including electrification), and decarbonizing fuels.  A full point is awarded. 

NDP: The NDP platform places a heavy emphasis on the electrification of Canada's transit network, as well as providing incentives for an increase in the uptake of zero emission vehicles. The NDP also address the carbon content of liquid fuels through a proposal to increase the stringency of the federal Clean Fuel Standard. They also receive a full point. 

Specific policies  

Conservative party:

  • Invest a billion dollars in deploying hydrogen technology including hydrogen vehicles (p. 78).  
  • Introduce a zero emission vehicle mandate based on British Columbia’s, requiring 30% of light duty vehicles sold to be zero emissions by 2030 (p. 78).  
  • Work with the Biden administration to strengthen vehicle emission standards in North America (p. 78).
  • Work with the U.S. to set a standard for charging and then add mandatory charging stations or wiring required for chargers to the national building code (p. 78)
  • Work with provinces, territories and municipalities to encourage the inclusion of a minimum number of EV charging spaces for new developments (p. 78).  
  • Base our Low Carbon Fuel Standard on British Columbia’s policy to achieve a 20% reduction in carbon intensity for transport fuels (p. 80). 

Green party:

  • Develop a national transportation strategy with a goal of reaching zero-carbon public ground transportation everywhere in Canada by 2040 (p. 36). 
  • 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 (p. 9).  
  • 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 (p. 30). 

Liberal party: 

  • Launched iZEV program to provide purchase rebates of up to $5000 to Canadians who want to get behind the wheel of an electric vehicle. Invest an additional $1.5 billion in the iZev rebate program and broaden eligibility to a wider range of vehicle types, including used vehicles, to help over 500,000 Canadians get into a zero emissions vehicle (p. 45). 
  • Set a mandatory target that all new light-duty cars and passenger trucks sales be zero-emissions by 2035, accelerating Canada’s target by 5 years. 
  • Invest an additional $700 million to add 50,000 new electric vehicle chargers and hydrogen stations to Canada’s network (p. 45). 
  • Accelerate our Greening Government commitments to electrify the entire federal fleet of light duty vehicles by 2030, up from our existing target of 80% by 2030 (p. 45). 
  • Require 100% of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles sales to be zero emission by 2040, where feasible (p. 45).  
  • Invest $200 million to retrofit large trucks currently on the road to cut pollution now (p. 45). 
  • Accelerating major public transit projects (p. 47). 
  • Supporting the switch to zero-emission buses (p. 47). 
  • Developing rural transit solutions (p. 47). 
  • Advancing a National Active Transportation Strategy to build bike lanes, wider sidewalks, pathways, and multi-use trails (p. 47). 
  • Committing to make High Frequency Rail a reality. We will move forward with the project in the Toronto to Quebec City corridor, with stops in TroisRivieres and Peterborough, among others, using electrified technology. We will launch a procurement process by the end of 2021, and also explore other opportunities to extend the rail toward London and Windsor (p. 47).

NDP: 

  • Support transit by permanently doubling the Canada Community-Building Fund and we will develop a public inter-city bus program (p. 43).  
  • Modernize and expand public transit within and between communities across Canada (p. 49).
  • 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 (p. 49). 
  • Waive the federal sales tax on ZEV purchases, and grow these incentives up to $15,000 per family for made-in-Canada vehicles (p. 49). 
  • Look at ways to strengthen the low-carbon fuel standard (p. 49).  
  • Promote smart community planning and active transportation like walking and cycling (p. 49). 

 

Criterion 18: Do the platforms include action to advance zero-emission homes and buildings?

 

Emphasizing the electrification of heating systems and energy efficiency, with a nod to the limited capacity of renewable natural gas to play a niche role.


All platforms except the Conservatives place a heavy emphasis on transitioning the building sector to emit less carbon. The Liberal, Green and NDP platforms identify incentives and programs to drive deep retrofits, and propose to strengthen building codes towards net zero standards. The Conservatives also support the use of building codes, but their plan is not focused explicitly on investing in retrofit programs. Without measures to address retrofits for existing building stock – which is known to be a difficult sector in which to address emissions – it’s unlikely that the proposed Conservative approach will deliver many emission reductions. 

Scoring 

Green party: The Greens promise a national green retrofit program for existing residential, commercial, institutional, and industrial buildings. This is complemented by a national building code that would apply to both new construction and major renovations in older buildings, and a focus on greening federal operations. A full point is awarded. 

Liberal party: The Liberal platform includes a comprehensive policy package focused on decarbonizing buildings, including a mix of subsidies, carbon pricing, and standards to accelerate the transition to low carbon buildings.  A full point is awarded. 

NDP: The NDP provides a strong and comprehensive list of measures to move towards zero emissions buildings, including ambitious retrofit targets (all buildings in Canada by 2050 – beginning with upgrades to all buildings built before 2020 in the next 20 years), changes to building codes, incentives, information programs, and targeted assistance for vulnerable groups. A full point is awarded. 

Conservative party: Although the Conservatives propose a series of measures, they don’t appear sufficiently stringent to drive real change in the building sector. For example, developing a “concierge service” as a “one-stop shop” (p. 82) to help home owners better understand the programs available may prove to be a valuable service, but aren’t likely to yield significant change. A half point is awarded. 

Specific policies 

Green party: 

  • Create and implement a national green retrofit of existing residential, commercial, institutional, and industrial buildings (p. 8). 
  • 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 (p. 9).  
  • Change the national building code to require that all new construction and major renovations to older buildings meet net-zero standards by 2030 (p. 9)
  • Undertake a green retrofit of all federal government buildings, including government agencies (p. 9). 

Liberal party:

  • Continue to help Canadians improve the energy efficiency of their homes and reduce their energy bills, providing grants of up to $5,000 for home retrofits and interest-free loans of up to $40,000 for deep retrofits (p. 45). 
  • Launch a National Net-zero Emissions Building Strategy, which will chart a path to net-zero emissions from buildings by 2050 with ambitious milestones along the way. 
  • Accelerate the development of the national net-zero emissions model building code for 2025 adoption (p. 45).  
  • Accelerate the transition from fossil fuel-based heating systems to electrification through incentives and standards, including investing $250 million to help low-income Canadians get off home-heating oil (p. 45).  
  • Create a Low-Carbon Building Materials Innovation Hub to work directly with entrepreneurs, municipalities, provinces and territories, and Indigenous governments to ensure Canadian innovations are best positioned to succeed (p. 45).  
  • Enhance investments in the Forest Industry Transformation program, working with partners to create jobs in the forest-based economy and bring forward new innovations in sustainable, low-carbon building materials (p. 45).  
  • Launch a community-led net-zero homes initiative that supports projects that pursue multiple concurrent retrofits in a community or neighbourhood, to reduce overall costs. This initiative will be modeled on the Dutch “Energiesprong” program (p. 45). 

NDP: 

  • Retrofitting all buildings in Canada by 2050. (p. 43).  
  • 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 (p. 46).  
  • Improve the National Building Code to ensure that by 2025 every new building built in Canada is net-zero (p.486) 
  • 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 (p. 48). 
  • Help 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, with targeted supports for low income households and renters (p. 48). 

Conservative party: 

  • Work with provinces and territories to promote Energy Savings Performance    
  •     Contracting for government and publicly funded institutional buildings, including a “2030 Bonus” that will provide an additional benefit for those buildings that complete their retrofits prior to 2030 (p. 82). 
  • Continue to develop the building codes and standards necessary to support net zero goals for both new builds and retrofits (p. 82).
  • Provide an “efficiency concierge” service for homeowners that acts as a one-stop-shop to access programs and information (p. 82). 

 

Criterion 19: Do the platforms include action to advance smart land use and zero waste?

 

Including landfill gas capture, regional forest/agricultural/ecosystem carbon emissions and sequestration, and action to combat urban sprawl.


There is a strong cross-party consensus to significantly expand protected lands and waters within Canada. All platforms make proposals to significantly scale up levels of protection. The Conservatives also proposed increasing funding for conservation projects including recreational fisheries. All the parties support banning or limiting single-use plastics as well as more broadly supporting waste reduction through improved recycling and reuse. 

Scoring 

Liberal party:  A full point is awarded given a focus on significantly expanding protected areas and enhancing habitat conservation. The Liberals also have a significant focus on reducing plastic waste and improving recycling, and propose a food waste strategy. 

Conservative party: A full point is awarded given that conservation targets are proposed, including the creation of new parks. The Conservatives also propose to increase conservation funding, reduce single use plastics – and uniquely, promise a ban on the export of plastic wastes. 

Green party: A full point is awarded given that a broad conservation strategy and approach to improving ecosystem health is proposed in the NDP platform. There is also a push for zero plastic wastes. 

NDP: A full point is awarded given a focus on protecting land freshwater and oceans, as well as expanding urban parks and helping municipalities improve waste management and recycling systems. A national food waste strategy is proposed, as well as a ban on single use plastics. 

Specific policies 

Liberal party:

  • Work with partners to ensure Canada meets its goals to conserve 25% of our lands and waters by 2025 and 30% of each by 2030 (p. 49). 
  • Establish 10 new national parks and 10 new national marine conservation areas in the next 5 years. Establish at least one new national urban park in every province and territory, with a target of establishing 15 national urban parks by 2030 (p. 49). 
  • Work to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030, achieving a full recovery for nature by 2050. Invest an additional $200 million in the Natural Infrastructure Fund for community-led public green space projects, and increase funding for the TransCanada trail network (p. 49). 
  • Create a national, interdisciplinary working group around climate-resilient ocean conservation planning (p. 50). Invest $50 million over 5 years to support shoreline and oceans plastic cleanup (p. 50). 
  • Require that all plastic packaging in Canada contain at least 50% recycled content by 2030 (p. 51); accelerate the implementation of our zero plastic waste action plan; improve recycling, reusable products, and labelling (p. 52). 
  • Measures to support repair of home appliance (p. 52), and tackling food waste (p. 52). 

Conservative party: 

  • Reach the previous Conservative government target of conserving 17% of terrestrial lands through protected areas and conservation measures – and work towards a goal of 25%, through area-based conservation measures, working with Indigenous communities, and creating new parks (p. 74). 
  • Restore funding for the National Wetland Conservation Fund and the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnership Program and support wetlands and watershed protection (p. 74). 
  • Reduce the use of single-use plastics, ensuring that plastic products are produced in a more environmentally responsible way, and ensuring that plastic waste is responsibly recycled (p. 75). 
  • Ban the export of plastic waste, work with partners to combat oceans plastic, improve value recovery from plastic (p. 75).

Green party: 

  • 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 (p. 13). 
  • Halt habitat destruction by 2030 and restore the most negatively affected ecosystems such as wetlands by 2050, prioritizing carbon-rich ecosystems; initiate a national urban biodiversity regeneration strategy to expand greenspace (p. 13). 
  • Protect and restore coastal and marine areas (p. 14); commit permanent A-base funding for marine conservation (p. 27); complete all current proposed MPAs and National Marine Conservation Areas and explore new opportunities (p. 28). 
  • In partnership with Indigenous governments and organizations, develop a National Framework for Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (p. 25). 
  • Support the development of a food waste strategy (p. 22) 
  • Finalize a ban on single-use plastics by the end of 2021, and expand the list of banned plastics; require that all plastic packaging contain at least 50% recycled content by 2030 and support the shift to reusable products and packaging (p. 27); and champion a legally binding global plastics agreement (p. 7). 

NDP:

  • Protect 30% of our land, freshwater and oceans by 2030 (p. 51) 
  • Expand urban national parks; and help municipalities improve their waste management and recycling systems (p. 51) 
  • Support Indigenous-led nature conservation and land-use and climate planning (p. 51). 
  • Create a new Civilian Climate Corps to support conservation efforts and addressing the threat of climate change (p. 48). 
  • Immediately ban single-use plastics; ban the export of plastic waste; help reduce electronic waste; improve standards for what products can be labelled as recyclable (p. 51). 
  • Develop a national food waste strategy (p. 51) 

 

Criterion 20: Do the platforms include action to advance carbon draw down and sequestration?

 

Including planting trees, transforming agricultural practices to restore the carbon holding capacity of soil (regenerative agriculture), restoring coastal ecosystems to increase the carbon content of oceans, and through technological solutions like direct air capture and sequestering carbon underground.


Nature based solutions to sequester carbon is a strong focus in all the platforms, along with the role that agriculture can play in sequestering carbon. This has clearly become an area of cross-party consensus, with all the platforms making promises to move the needle forward on sequestering carbon through practices like capturing methane from farms to help decarbonize natural gas.

Scoring  

Green party: A wide range of measures are proposed by the Green party to support nature-based climate solutions focussed increasing carbon capture in soils through regenerative agricultural practices, and interestingly, in the ocean (blue carbon).  One point is awarded. 

Liberal party: The Liberal platform proposes significantly increasing current funding to farms to aid with of carbon sequestration, but also capturing methane to displace natural gas. The Liberals also plan to continue implementing their previous commitment to plant two billion trees as well as new investments in coastal ecosystems. A full point is awarded given the specific funding and targets identified in the platform.  

Conservative party: Conservatives also propose numerous actions to increase the sequestration of carbon in soils in the agriculture and forestry sector, as well as through nature-based solutions.  The platform includes methane capture on farms to help reduce the carbon content of natural gas. Full points are awarded given the comprehensive proposal contained in the platform, and the inclusion of specific funding levels. 

NDP: The NDP propose to develop programs that provide employment and support habitat rehabilitation to increase sequestration of carbon. Also proposed are a few measures to support carbon sequestration on farms. Half a point is awarded given that the proposal is limited relative to the other platforms. 

Specific policies

Green party:

  • 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 (p. 11). 
  • 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 (p. 13). 
  • Halt habitat destruction by 2030 and restore the most negatively affected ecosystems such as wetlands by 2050, prioritizing carbon-rich ecosystems (p. 13).  
  • 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 (p. 21). 
  • 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 (p. 22). 
  • 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 (p. 22). 
  • Develop a marine-focused Nature Based Climate Solutions strategy that integrates ocean-based carbon sinks (blue carbon) into Canada’s Climate Plan 28 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 

Liberal party:

  • Triple funding for cleantech on farms, including for renewable energy, precision agriculture, and energy efficiency (p. 47). 
  • Continue planting 2 billion trees across the country, creating roughly 4,300 jobs (p. 50). 
  • Restore and enhance more wetlands, grasslands, and peatlands, to capture & store carbon (p. 50).  
  • Increase support to farmers to develop and adopt agricultural management practices to reduce emissions, store carbon in healthy soil, and enhance resiliency. Cover cropping, rotational grazing and nitrogen management are all part of a green farming plan for Canada (p. 50). 
  • Make new investments in areas like tidal wetlands, seagrass meadows, and riparian habitats that have a high potential to absorb and store carbon.   

Conservative party: 

  • Capture methane from organic sources such as farms and landfills to reduce carbon emissions and creates a renewable source of energy. We will put in place a minimum requirement for 15% renewable content in natural gas by 2030 (p. 79). 
  • Increase the ability of the agricultural and forestry sectors to create land-based offset credits by improving the carbon sequestration of agricultural lands and managed forests, and incenting environmental protection in those sectors. This will generate emissions reductions at lower cost, and protect Canadian jobs (p. 80). 
  • Allow clean, carbon-neutral biomass energy, including wood waste or agricultural waste, to be eligible for carbon credits where appropriate (p. 80).  
  • Invest an additional $3 billion between now and 2030 in natural climate solutions focused on management of forest, crop and grazing lands and restoration of grasslands, wetlands and forests (p. 74).
  • Establish transparent and reliable standards for carbon credits associated with land management practices with the eventual goal of establishing a national carbon offset market. This market would link together existing compliance programs associated with federal and provincial regulations (p. 81). 
  • Explore the use of incentives to preserve and enhance natural infrastructure on private lands that contribute to climate mitigation and adaptation, with a particular focus on working landscapes with downstream impacts on populated areas (p. 81).  

NDP: 

  • 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 (p. 46). 
  • Support sustainable agriculture, working with Canadian farmers to promote sustainable land-management techniques and methods to reduce GHG emissions.  
  • 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 (p. 47). 

 

WEATHER THE STORM

 

Criterion 21: Do the platforms include action to reduce risks?

 

Including from rapid-onset climate-related events (e.g. floods, wildfires and other events), aligning action with the four components of emergency management: prevention, preparedness, response and recovery (as outlined by the Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience).


All the platforms are disappointing in their commitment to reduce risks associated with climate change. Climate change impacts are so pervasive that more action is needed, beyond just increasing the number of firefighters, or identifying areas prone to flooding – as proposed in the Liberal platform. For addressing risk reduction, the Conservative platform is marginally better than the other three parties.  

Scoring 

Conservative party: The Conservatives identify a number of actions to reduce risks, including in forestry and agriculture. They commit to investing in technology for the early detection of wildfires, and to better predict fire behavior. Interestingly, the platform also proposes to create a national disaster resilience advisor in the Privy Council office, at the centre of the Canadian government, which would improve overall coordination and strengthen climate governance. Half a point is awarded.  

Green party: The Green platform indicates that a number of investment streams will be developed to reduce climate change risks across a number of areas, including from extreme events.  The Greens also propose to develop partnerships to invest in research and technology to help a range of stakeholders better understand the risks posed by the changing climate. A half point is given to the Greens on this criterion. 

Liberal party: The Liberal platform makes limited commitments on risk reduction, focusing on training more firefighters and developing flood maps to help identify assets at risk. The Liberals also propose to provide Open Access climate toolkits to help with infrastructure resilience. Half a point is awarded.  

NDP: The NDP platform does indicate investments will be made to reduce the risks of extreme events, but the proposals are fairly vague. A generous half a point is awarded. 

Specific policies 

Conservative party: 

  • Investing in forest health and wildfire prevention and early detection (p. 81); invest in technology that can improve the early detection of wildfires and better predict their behaviour (p. 84). 
  • Implement a national action plan on floods, including establishing a residential high risk flood insurance program to ensure all Canadians are financially protected while avoiding future government bailouts (p. 84). 
  • Implement a national climate adaptation strategy that Addresses existing provincial concerns on flood readiness while leveraging private sector solutions to reduce government exposure and spending; and addresses wildfire and drought exposure in collaboration with farmers, ranchers, foresters (p. 84)
  • Appoint a national disaster resilience advisor to the Privy Council Office. This office would be analogous to the National Security and Intelligence Advisor established after 9/11 and would advise Cabinet and the Prime Minister’s Office, helping ensure that the government is prepared for future risks (p. 84).

Green party: 

  • 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 (p. 10). 
  • Invest in measures to limit the impact of the extreme weather and climate events that are already occurring, and will continue to occur, as a result of irreversible climate change (p. 53). 
  • Invest in science, infrastructure, and business development that supports farming practices which both mitigate climate impacts and improve adaptation (p. 19). 
  • 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 (p. 20). 
  • 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 (p. 10).  

NDP: 

  • Long-term funding for adaptation, disaster mitigation, and climate resilient infrastructure (p. 46). 
  • Work with the agricultural sector to help them … adapt to climate-induced weather changes and other impacts of the climate crisis, including the associated increase in pests and invasive species (p. 47).  

Liberal party: 

  • Complete flood maps in "next three years" and "create a nation-wide flood ready portal so that Canadians have the information they need..." Complete our work with provinces and territories to develop flood maps for higher-risk areas in the next three years (p. 48). 
  • Train 1,000 new community-based firefighters to ensure we are ready for future fire seasons (p. 48). 
  • Finalize Canada’s first-ever National Adaptation Strategy by the end of 2022, which will set clear targets and indicators to measure progress on—and strengthen the business case for—adaptation (p. 48). 
  • Create open-access climate toolkits to help infrastructure owners and investors develop projects that ensure Canada is on the path to a net-zero emissions and resilient future. Building on our existing climate lens requirement for federally funded infrastructure projects, these toolkits will offer resiliency assessment methodologies, opportunities for incorporating low-carbon technologies and building materials, and carbon emission calculation guidelines (p. 48). 

 

Criterion 22: Do the platforms include action to protect health and wellbeing?

 

By focusing on the key determinants of health as they relate to climate change impacts and by increasing the resilience of people, communities, and health practitioners to a broad range of health impacts associated with climate change (as outlined by the Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience).


The platforms are relatively quiet about protecting health and wellbeing as part of their commitments on the changing climate. This is a quite a surprise, given that health impacts are likely to be one of the largest risks that Canadians are facing – and certainly one of the largest areas of economic damage.   

Given the limited attention to this issue, no party receives any points.

 

Criterion 23: Do the platforms include action to build resilient infrastructure?

 

Including Canada’s traditional, cultural, and natural infrastructure, new and existing infrastructure, critical and non-critical infrastructure, and the interdependencies of our infrastructure systems (as outlined by the Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience).


All parties recognize the importance of building resilience into infrastructure. The Conservative platform has the most detail, and the most comprehensive focus on all types of infrastructure. 

Scoring 

Conservative party: The Conservative platform recognizes the importance of building resilience into a range of types of infrastructure. A full point is awarded given the specific and actionable measures proposed.   

Green party: The Green party identifies actionable measures that could build climate resilience into infrastructure decision-making, but as the proposal is quite vague only half a point is awarded. 

Liberal party: The Liberals commit to build infrastructure resilience into current housing programs. Half a point is awarded, given the limited focus on infrastructure resilience in other sectors. 

NDP: The NDP commits to scale-up a current infrastructure program designed to build infrastructure resilience. Like the Greens, the proposal is not specific, so a half point is awarded. 

Specific policies 

Conservative party:

  • Incorporate a mitigation and adaptation lens to the government’s infrastructure investments… An adaptation lens can include designing infrastructure to be resilient to extreme weather events, but it also might include designing other infrastructure to protect against known hazards (p. 84). 
  • Work with provinces and territories to develop a natural infrastructure plan that includes: the development of a national standard to assess the value of natural infrastructure; requirements that public sector accounting practices be updated to include a proper valuation of existing natural infrastructure; requirements to incorporate retention of natural infrastructure into community design; and incentives for farmers and landowners to protect and restore natural infrastructure (p. 84).

Green party:

  • 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 (10). 

NDP 

  • Expand federal funding to respond to disasters, and support communities in proactively adapting their infrastructure to withstand floods, forest fires and other extreme weather events (p. 86) 

Liberal party:

  • Create a Climate Adaptation Home Rating Program that will be developed as a companion to the EnerGuide home energy audits (p. 48). 
  • Expand the eligibility requirements of the CMHC deep home retrofit program and Canada Greener Home Grants to include more climate resilience measures (p. 48).

 

Criterion 24: Do the platforms include action to support vulnerable regions and people?

 

With (a) a special emphasis on Canada’s northern, coastal, and remote regions and the particular vulnerability of these regions to slow onset climate change impacts e.g. permafrost thaw and coastal erosion (as outlined by the Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience) and (b) individual households who may be particularly exposed to disasters and/or slow onset impacts.


There is a surprising lack of attention paid in many platforms to supporting those who are particularly vulnerable to the risks and impacts of climate change. The Liberal platform provides the broadest view of supporting vulnerable regions and populations, including Indigenous Peoples, youth, homeowners, and farmers.  

Scoring 

Liberal party: Relative to other platforms, the Liberals propose a much broader set of policies aimed at supporting vulnerable groups, including Indigenous Peoples. Actions address the insurance sector, fire and flood risks, and effective community and farm planning. The Liberals receive one point on this criterion. 

NDP: The NDP platform commits to working with provinces, municipalities, and Indigenous governments to allocate resources to cope safely with extreme weather events. A national crisis strategy is also proposed to help the vulnerable including remote indigenous communities.  A half point is awarded. 

Conservative party: There is limited attention in the Conservative platform to supporting vulnerable regions and people. Where this is considered, the emphasis is on working with the provinces and the private sector to reduce the financial exposure of governments to flood risks.  The Conservatives receive half a point on this criterion. 

Green party: The Greens place limited emphasis on supporting vulnerable regions and people to adapt to the hardships of climate, although there is a focus on Prairie farm rehabilitation.  But one can assume that its strong focus on a Just Transition implies providing support to vulnerable groups to adapt.  We award half a point. 

Specific policies 

Liberal party:

  • Action on equity issues relating to insurance costs for at-risk homes (p. 48) 
  • A climate data strategy to ensure that the private sector and communities have access to decision-useful climate information and to inform infrastructure investments." (p. 47) 
  • Support and expand Indigenous-led fire crews and build capacity to better incorporate Indigenous traditional knowledge strategies in fire management (p. 48). 
  • Take action to protect homeowners who are at high risk of flooding and don’t have adequate insurance protection, by creating a low-cost national flood insurance program (p. 48). 
  • Develop strategies, in partnership with the insurance industry and private sector to lower insurance premiums by identifying cost-effective ways to better protect communities and homes from climate impacts and save people money (p. 48). 
  • Work with provinces, territories, and farmers— including Indigenous and young farmers—to update business risk management agriculture programs to fully integrate climate risk management, environmental practices, and climate readiness (p. 48).

NDP: 

  • Work with provinces, municipalities and Indigenous government to make sure that communities have the resources they need to cope safely with extreme weather events (p. 48).  
  • A National Crisis Strategy to 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 (p. 48). 

Conservative party:

  • Work with Indigenous communities including by expanding the creation of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) managed and stewarded by Indigenous Guardians (p. 81).
  • Address existing provincial concerns on flood readiness while leveraging private sector solutions to reduce government exposure and spending (as part of national climate adaptation strategy) (p. 84). 

Green party:

  • Re-establish the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration measures to support adaptation to drought conditions (p. 20). 
2021 Climate Change Analysis
2021 platform analysis: Climate change
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