Fraser Institute News Release: Federal Net-Zero Emissions legislation fundamentally misunderstood and ineffectual; not legally binding and lacks details

Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA

CALGARY, Alberta, March 03, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ottawa’s new “net-zero” law, the Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, doesn’t actually require emissions targets to be met, concludes a new analysis released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

“There is a great deal of misunderstanding about what Ottawa’s signature emissions legislation does and doesn’t do,” said Andrew Roman, a retired litigation lawyer and author of Is Canada’s Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act a Parliamentary Placebo?

The legal analysis finds that Canada’s Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act does not require Canada to reach the federal government’s net-zero target (the amount of carbon dioxide we add to the atmosphere minus the amount we remove should equal zero) because:

  • Act is Not Legally Binding: While the new law sets what the federal government refers to as “legally-binding targets,” the actual wording of the law does not bind anyone, including the federal government, to meet those targets, and there are no penalties for failing to do so.
  • No Costed Plan: The legislation fails to provide a clear plan with measurable actions to achieve the goal of net zero emissions. Moreover, the absence of a plan means there are no cost estimates allowing Canadians to weigh the benefits and costs.
  • Not Necessary: Both the previous federal government and the current government have set emissions targets without using legislation, showing that this Act is unnecessary.
  • Not Required for Transparency: Canada’s reporting under the Paris Agreement already requires transparency, creating accountability.

“The federal government’s new legislation may be well-intended and make Canadians feel better, but the legislation itself lacks details, including a plan and cost estimates, calling into question the seriousness of the government’s approach,” Roman said.


Andrew Roman, Author
Fraser Institute

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute’s independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit