Winnipeg, MB – June 23, 2015 – Federal, provincial and territorial environment ministers today agreed to strengthen collaboration and continue to take action in their jurisdictions in the fight against climate change.
Ministers also agreed to work together in advance of and following the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris in December 2015.
Ministers have established a new climate change committee under CCME to facilitate ongoing engagement on this issue. The committee will work on priorities identified by ministers in order to effectively address climate change. Priorities include reviewing the outcomes of COP21 and maintaining a dialogue among the federal, provincial and territorial governments in preparation for the next Climate Change Conference, scheduled for November 2016 in Morocco.
"All governments have a role to play in addressing climate change" said Tom Nevakshonoff, Manitoba’s Minister of Conservation and Water Stewardship, who hosted his colleagues at the annual meeting of CCME. "Our respective governments’ actions need to reflect our own circumstances and priorities, but they also need to be coordinated and complementary. Our discussions today have forged a strong foundation for continued collaboration among governments.”
Waste reduction continues to be a concern to environment ministers. Ministers renewed their ongoing commitment to implementing extended producer responsibility (EPR) and to achieving consistent and common approaches where practicable, while respecting their own governments’ jurisdictions and issues. EPR is a tool to decrease the total environmental impact of a product by making the producer responsible for the entire life-cycle of the product – not just manufacturing and distribution but also the take-back, recycling and final disposal.
Ministers directed officials to work with stakeholders to achieve greater consistency on key elements of EPR programs such as product lists for EPR materials, program monitoring and reporting metrics, and auditing protocols. Officials will report back to ministers at the 2016 CCME meeting.
As well, ministers identified a set of options to guide a jurisdiction if it chooses to develop a water pricing framework. Governments can now use these principles to develop or improve their policies in light of their particular circumstances and objectives.
Ministers also reaffirmed support for continued development and implementation of the Air Quality Management System (AQMS). The AQMS is a comprehensive and harmonized approach to air quality management across Canada to broadly address all sources of air pollution. Québec supports the general objectives of the AQMS, but has already implemented its own regulation and is collaborating with jurisdictions on developing some elements of the system, notably air zones and airsheds.
Ministers acknowledged the efforts by industry to eliminate the use of plastic microbeads from consumer products and supported the Government of Canada’s scientific review of microbeads in personal care products as part of the listing process under Schedule 1 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. Provinces and territories may take additional complementary actions to restrict the use of microbeads. A cooperative approach will help keep our waterways free of these harmful substances.
Québec will host the next meeting of CCME.
CCME is the primary minister-led intergovernmental forum for collective action on environmental issues of national and international concern.