Municipal Affairs and Environment
November 6, 2017

Governments Make Good Progress on Climate Change and Air Quality

Provincial, federal, and territorial environment ministers advanced work on climate change and discussed Canada-wide trends in air quality at the annual meeting of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) on Friday, November 3.

During the meeting, ministers agreed on new Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards (CAAQS) for Nitrogen Dioxide. Ministers reported significant reductions in air pollutants that contribute to smog and acid rain as well as identified considerable improvements to air quality, in CCME’s first State of the Air Report.

A major portion of the meeting was devoted to reviewing progress on collaborative actions to implement the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change (PCF) adopted by most First Ministers in December 2016. Ministers agreed to continue to work to identify best practices for greenhouse gas offset systems and to review the use of verified carbon credits that can be traded domestically and internationally as a complement to domestic action. Ministers also discussed the importance of communicating action on climate change to Canadians, including identifying the associated economic opportunities.

Issues around the ongoing challenges of mercury contamination were also discussed. Canadian mercury emissions have decreased by over 90 per cent since the 1970s, however 95 per cent of the mercury deposited in Canada comes by air from foreign sources. Through the Minamata Convention on Mercury, Canada and the international community are taking steps to reduce the emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds and protect human health and the environment.

Prior to their meeting, ministers held discussions with representatives of the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and the Métis National Council, sharing ideas and perspectives about opportunities and challenges as Canada moves to a stronger, more resilient, low-carbon economy.

At the end of the meeting, Canada assumed the presidency of CCME, and the Honourable Minister Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, will host the 2018 meeting.

“We continue to work on enhancing air quality in Newfoundland and Labrador and remain on pace to fulfill our commitment in The Way Forward to release a Climate Change Action Plan in 2017-18. Our government was pleased to take part in this year’s meeting of the Canadian Council of the Ministers of the Environment as our governments work together to address issues that affect residents and communities in our province and our country.”
Honourable Eddie Joyce
Minister of Municipal Affairs and Environment

“As the incoming chair of the Canadian Council of the Ministers of the Environment, I look forward to hosting my provincial and territorial counterparts in Ottawa next year. At our next meeting, we will continue to tackle the critical issues facing Canadians, including climate change, clean air, clean water and clean growth. We will also work collaboratively with Indigenous leaders on shared priorities such as climate action. Canadians understand that the environment and the economy go together and that we have the opportunity to grow a cleaner economy, create good jobs and ensure a more sustainable future for our kids and grandkids.”
Honourable Minister Catherine McKenna
Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Government of Canada

Learn More
Federal news release: External Link Icon

CCME: External Link Icon

State of the Air Report: External Link Icon

Turn Back the Tide: External Link Icon

State of the Air Report: Canada’s Air External Link Icon

Media contacts
Lynn Robinson
Municipal Affairs and Environment
709-729-5449, 709-691-9466

Michael Goeres 
Executive Director 
CCME Secretariat

Media Relations
Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy


2017 11 06                                                    4:40 p.m.