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March 27, 2018 Environment/Energy

OTTAWA/WINNIPEG – Today, acting on behalf of auditors general of most provinces and the Auditor General of Canada, Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development Julie Gelfand provided the House of Commons with a report titled Perspectives on Climate Change Action in Canada: A Collaborative Report from Auditors General.

The report provides an overview of important questions raised in the audit work released over the last 18 months by the auditors general of most provinces, as well as in the three northern territories and at the federal level, to provide an overall and independent assessment of the state of climate change action in Canada. Manitoba Auditor General Norm Ricard released his report, Managing Climate Change, in October 2017.

“The findings from the federal, provincial and territorial climate change audits confirm that Canada’s governments are working on climate change, but that the work is far from being done,” said Ms. Gelfand.

The collaborative report points to a number of common shortcomings across governments which are hindering Canada’s overall efforts to address and adapt to climate change and which, as a result, are preventing Canadians from preparing themselves to deal with current and future climate impacts.

Auditors general found that more than half of governments did not have overall targets for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. Of those that did, only two were on track to meet them.

“On the basis of current federal, provincial, and territorial policies and actions, Canada is not expected to meet its 2020 target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” the report states. “Meeting Canada’s 2030 target will require substantial effort and actions beyond those currently planned or in place.”

In their examination of how their governments were planning to adapt to the impacts of climate change, auditors general found that most governments either had an adaptation plan that lacked basic details, such as timelines, or that they had no plan at all.

The report states that, “most Canadian governments have not assessed and, therefore, do not fully understand what risks they face and what actions they should take to adapt to a changing climate.”

Most auditors across the country found that there was limited coordination on climate change among government departments and agencies, and that monitoring progress and regular public reporting were also limited.

The collaborative report also sets out a number of questions for elected officials and Canadians to consider asking of governments, as they continue their efforts to reduce emissions and address climate change impacts.

Ricard did not submit the collaborative report released today for tabling in the Manitoba Legislative Assembly. Rather, Ricard said he plans to speak to it when the Public Accounts Committee meets to discuss the October 2017 report. A date for that meeting has not yet been set.

The report Perspectives on Climate Change Action in Canada: A Collaborative Report from Auditors General (released today) and Manitoba’s report Managing Climate Change (released in October 2017) are available for download at our Audit Reports page. Other provincial reports are available on provincial audit offices’ websites.

Manitoba’s October 2017 news release is available for download here.

The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development and provincial auditors general of British Columbia and Nova Scotia, along with a spokesperson for the territorial climate change audits, will host a webinar to discuss the collaborative report starting at 12:30 p.m. (Central) today. Please sign up here.

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