Backgrounder

Clean Air Regulatory Agenda

The Clean Air Regulatory Agenda (CARA) was established in 2006 to support Government of Canada efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) and air pollutant emissions in order to improve the environment and health of Canadians.

CARA funding supports regulatory actions that will be carried out by Environment Canada, Health Canada, and Industry Canada in the industrial, transport, and consumer and commercial products sectors. It also funds the science activities that support regulatory actions, as well as emissions reporting, policy development, and enforcement.

Examples of the regulatory work that is taking place under CARA include the Government’s transportation sector regulations and its proposed coal-fired electricity regulations.

In the transportation sector, the largest contributor to GHG emissions in Canada, the Government has established progressively tighter GHG emission standards for new cars and light trucks for the 2011-2016 model-years in alignment with the United States’ national standards. Building on the successful collaboration between Canada and the U.S. in developing these standards, we will continue to work together to develop harmonized and progressively more stringent standards for the 2017 and later model years.  The Government is also developing regulations to establish GHG emission requirements for new heavy-duty vehicles, harmonized with the U.S.

In the electricity sector, Environment Canada has published proposed regulations for coal-fired electricity generating units in Canada Gazette Part I. These proposed regulations, in addition to other measures taken by federal and provincial governments and utilities to reduce electricity emissions from coal and other sources, are projected to result in a decline in the absolute level of GHG emissions from electricity generation by 31 megatonnes between 2005 and 2020. Final regulations are expected to be published in 2012, and are scheduled to come into effect on July 1, 2015.

Environment Canada and Health Canada are currently working with provinces, industry and non-governmental organizations to finalize and implement a new national air quality management system that will include new ambient air quality standards for key pollutants, new industrial emissions standards and active management of local air quality by provinces.

CARA also supports other important air quality efforts, including the development of codes and standards for indoor air quality. As well, it allows the Government to partner with provinces to expand the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) to all parts of the country. The AQHI provides Canadians with real-time information on air quality in their area so they can adjust their activities in order to protect their health.

With this funding renewal provided by the Government of Canada, regulatory development will continue to be a centerpiece of CARA and will be an ongoing process as the Government works to improve the environment and the health of Canadians. Action under CARA to reducing emissions in the transportation, electricity, and other sectors will help us achieve our economy-wide 2020 target of a 17 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels.

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