By Videoconference, December 13, 2021 – Today, federal, provincial and territorial environment ministers met virtually for the annual meeting of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) to discuss continued action on climate change, an environmentally sustainable economic recovery from the global COVID-19 pandemic and extended producer responsibility (EPR) for plastics.
“Recent severe weather events across the country demonstrate the social, environmental and economic challenges of a changing climate. Transitioning to a low-carbon economy will help to lessen these extreme impacts while opening opportunities for economic growth and competitiveness,” said Gary Crossman, New Brunswick’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, who hosted his colleagues by videoconference. “Collaboration across governments is essential to reinforce our economic recovery efforts to achieve shared environmental outcomes.”
Prior to the meeting, ministers met with Leaders from the Assembly of First Nations and the Métis National Council to discuss challenges and opportunities in climate change and green economic recovery1. Ministers also received a presentation by the co-chairs of the independent Net-Zero Advisory Body, that reports to the Government of Canada, on the research and engagement it has underway to help identify possible pathways Canada can take to reach net-zero by 2050.
Taking collaborative action on climate change remains a collective priority for CCME. Ministers shared their governments’ updates on climate action and discussed opportunities for ongoing collaboration to achieve greenhouse gas reductions.
Over the last year, governments have announced stimulus and strategic investments in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic designed to accelerate climate action, create jobs, and build a better future. Ministers discussed the key role of innovative, clean technologies in building a stronger, cleaner and more competitive post-pandemic economy.
Federal, provincial and territorial ministers continue to advance work within their governments and through CCME to implement the Canada-wide Action Plan on Zero Plastic Waste and transition to a circular economy.
Ministers renewed their ongoing commitment to implement EPR and to work towards consistent and common approaches, while respecting each governments’ constitutional jurisdiction, particular regional characteristics and issues. Over the coming months, CCME will share a guidance document to facilitate consistent EPR policies on plastics for governments to consider as they research, implement and revise their respective EPR policies.
“EPR has a proven track record of increasing recycling rates and helps to provide the groundwork for industry to design more sustainable products and packaging,” said Minister Crossman.
Building on the advances that governments are making on EPR, ministers encouraged key industry sectors that use plastics in their products and packaging to publicly commit to: measurable action to increase recycled content, improving product design to support sustainability, increasing rates of value recovery (e.g., reuse, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing and/or recycling), and advancing circularity for plastics in the Canadian economy.
Ministers affirmed that CCME’s strategic priorities are climate change, plastic waste, air quality, and environmental quality guidelines for soil and water. Over the next few years, governments will address these common priorities by sharing information and best practices and working together through CCME to achieve environmental outcomes on climate change mitigation and adaptation, circular economy, green economic recovery and evidence-based policy making.
At the end of the meeting New Brunswick passed the presidency of CCME to Yukon, which will host the 2022 Council of Ministers meeting.
CCME is the primary minister-led intergovernmental forum for collective action on environmental issues of national and international concern. CCME is composed of the environment ministers from the federal, provincial, and territorial governments. It was founded in 1964. www.ccme.ca
Krista Nazimek Timothy R. LeBlanc
Executive Director Acting Director
CCME SecretariatNew Brunswick Department of Environment and Local Government
1Due to a conflict with the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami was unable to attend this meeting.