Agriculture and Climate Change Mitigation
Entity: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
In 2021, the agriculture sector accounted for 10% of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions—the fifth-largest contributor. However, agriculture can also help slow climate change by storing carbon on agricultural lands.
Various national and international strategies, policies, plans, and commitments lay the foundation for taking action on climate change across the economy, including in the agriculture sector. They include targets for the sector, such as the national target for reducing fertilizer emissions by 30% below 2020 levels by 2030. These plans recognize the critical role that the agriculture sector has to play in helping Canada reach its climate targets.
This audit seeks to determine whether Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
- designed and implemented an approach for how the agriculture sector will contribute to Canada’s 2030 and 2050 greenhouse gas mitigation and sequestration goals, commitments, and targets
- delivered its climate change mitigation programs and activities to achieve the results it committed to for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and sequestering carbon
Zero Plastic Waste
Entities: Environment and Climate Change Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, Statistics Canada
In 2019, an economic study concluded that in Canada in 2016, 3,268 kilotonnes of plastics were discarded, the equivalent of 70% of the total amount introduced into the market that year. It also found that less than 10% of that waste is recycled. Canada had similar rates of mismanaging plastic waste and recycling as other member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co‑operation and Development.
Earlier, in November 2018, the federal, provincial, and territorial environment ministers, through the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, agreed to work toward a common goal of having zero plastic waste. To this end, they approved in principle the Canada-wide Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste.
This audit seeks to determine whether key federal organizations led by Environment and Climate Change Canada are on track to achieve their intended contributions to the Canada-wide goal to reach zero plastic waste by 2030 to reduce the impact of plastic pollution on the environment.
Decarbonizing Manufacturing Industries
Entity: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
In the context of the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, Environment and Climate Change Canada published the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan in March 2022. This plan contains emission reduction targets for certain major sectors of the Canadian economy.
The manufacturing industries (heavy industry and light manufacturing) are a key component of the plan, as they were the fourth-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada in 2021. In that year, they accounted for 13.6% of total greenhouse gas emissions.
The Net Zero Accelerator Initiative of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund is one of the key initiatives that the federal government is undertaking to decarbonize the manufacturing industries. The initiative has $8 billion of funding to support decarbonization efforts.
This audit seeks to determine whether Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada managed the Strategic Innovation Fund’s Net Zero Accelerator Initiative to decarbonize the manufacturing industries in accordance with Canada’s climate goals and with due regard to value for money for Canadians.
Entities: Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, Transport Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
There are more than 2,600 federal contaminated sites in northern Canada, which have originated primarily from mining, petroleum exploration, and military activity. They pose risks to the environment, human health, and safety.
The federal government has committed to identifying and remediating contaminated sites specifically in areas where Indigenous, lower income, or racialized communities live.
If the contaminated sites are not effectively managed, the risks and liabilities could increase as contaminants spread through soil, groundwater, or air, making these sites more challenging to remediate.
This audit seeks to determine whether Crown‑Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada and Transport Canada, working with Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, have effectively managed federal contaminated sites in the North by reducing the risks to the environment and human health and the associated financial liabilities for current and future generations.
Greening of Construction Materials in Public Infrastructure
Entities: Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Public Services and Procurement Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Infrastructure Canada
The use of low embodied carbon construction materials (steel, concrete, and aluminum) plays an important role in helping Canada reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Heavy industry, which manufactures these construction materials, was responsible for 11% of Canada’s emissions in 2021.
In its 2006 Policy on Green Procurement, the Government of Canada acknowledged that, as the largest public buyer in Canada, it can reduce the substantial investment risks associated with decarbonizing manufacturing processes for low embodied carbon construction materials by using its purchasing power to stimulate market demand and reinforce the supply of these materials.
This audit seeks to determine whether the selected federal organizations have effectively used the Government of Canada’s purchasing power to support and prioritize the use of low-carbon construction materials, notably steel, concrete, and aluminum, in public infrastructure projects, in order to support environmental protection and sustainable development.
Climate Change Accountability Activities
Critical Minerals and Batteries
Assessment and Reassessment of Species at Risk
Federal Sustainable Development Strategy
Departmental Progress in Implementing Sustainable Development Strategies
Environmental Petitions Annual Report