Using ISO standards to measure greenhouse gases

Petition: 437

Issue(s): Climate change; Environmental assessment; Other; Transport

Petitioner(s): A Canadian resident

Petitioner Location(s): Vancouver, British Columbia

Date Received: 2 January 2020

Status: Completed—Response(s) to petition received

Summary: The petition expresses concerns about the negative environmental impact and increased levels of greenhouse gas emissions that it claims will result from the construction of 2 federally funded transit projects in British Columbia: the Broadway Subway Project in Vancouver and the Surrey Langley SkyTrain extension. The petition suggests that the federal government should instead support an alternative with a lower output of greenhouse gas emissions (that is, an at-grade construction option).

The petition states that the projects are failing to comply with the federal government’s Policy on Green Procurement, claiming that the value for money is not being properly considered when taking into account the environmental and economic costs, or overall benefits to society. The petition argues that proceeding with these 2 projects in their current forms will make it increasingly difficult for Canada to meet its 2030 climate change and greenhouse gas reduction goals. The petition also questions whether the Strategic Environmental Assessment provisions under section 22 of the Impact Assessment Act are being followed for both projects, particularly regarding meeting federal obligations and commitments for climate change and greenhouse gas reductions.

The petition asserts that although Canada is a member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which has set objective protocols and standards for life cycle assessments, the federal government is not exercising due diligence and using these standards to implement the Policy on Green Procurement. The petition asks why the federal government has not used the ISO 14000 standards to date. The petition asks when and which agency of the government will perform the ISO 14000 due diligence on greenhouse gas emissions regarding subway and elevated rail construction versus an at-grade option for these 2 projects.

Finally, the petition claims that the potentially higher levels of greenhouse gas emissions for the 2 projects warrants having the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change designate them for strategic environmental assessments. The petition calls for the associated levels of greenhouse gas emissions to be measured using a Life Cycle Assessment to help Canada meet its 2030 climate change goals.

Federal Departments Responsible for Reply: Environment and Climate Change Canada; Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat