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Evidence of meeting #34 for Environment and Sustainable Development in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was regulations.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Scott Vaughan  Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Office of the Auditor General of Canada
Kimberley Leach  Principal, Office of the Auditor General of Canada
Bruce Sloan  Principal, Sustainable Development Strategies, Audits and Studies, Office of the Auditor General of Canada
Trevor Shaw  Principal, Office of the Auditor General of Canada

3:50 p.m.

Bruce Sloan Principal, Sustainable Development Strategies, Audits and Studies, Office of the Auditor General of Canada

Thank you.

There's really no consistent closure mechanism to reporting mechanisms across the departments. So trying to get consistency across all departments is important, because it lets you know whether the various departments are assessing the risks in a consistent manner to facilitate roll-up.

I think the other thing is performance reporting on what has been accomplished—the reasons for closure.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Mark Warawa

Thank you so much. Your time has expired.

Mr. Woodworth, you have seven minutes.

May 8th, 2012 / 3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Conservative Kitchener Centre, ON

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair, and my thanks to the witnesses.

I'd like to go back over some ground that Ms. Ambler broke to make sure I understood things correctly.

Sorry, it wasn't Ms. Ambler, it was Ms. Rempel. I am a little under the weather. I'm sure Ms. Rempel and Ms. Ambler were both complimented by that confusion.

In particular, I wasn't sure if I heard correctly whether the inventory data that was released in April of this year was or was not reflected in your report.

3:50 p.m.

Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Office of the Auditor General of Canada

Scott Vaughan

It was not.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Conservative Kitchener Centre, ON

All right

Did I hear correctly that the inventory data that was not reflected in your report dealt with 2010 emissions?

3:50 p.m.

Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Office of the Auditor General of Canada

Scott Vaughan

That's correct. There's a lag between the year and when Environment Canada compiles all the data and releases it. It would be similar to Stats Canada and the Bank of Canada. There's a lag between when it happens and when—

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Conservative Kitchener Centre, ON

Sure. I don't mean that in any critical sense on your part. You have to work with the data you're given. I just want to make sure everyone understands where the data comes from.

I understand that the most recent inventory data included in your report would be from 2009. Is that correct?

3:50 p.m.

Principal, Office of the Auditor General of Canada

Kimberley Leach

On the National Inventory Report information, that's correct.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Conservative Kitchener Centre, ON

That would explain why on page 51, when I look at the chart that's exhibit 2.7, the last actual emissions mentioned are the 2009 emissions.

Then the July 2011 trends data is reflected in your report.

3:50 p.m.

Principal, Office of the Auditor General of Canada

Kimberley Leach

That's correct.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Conservative Kitchener Centre, ON

I'm going to suppose that the July 2011 trends data must be based on emissions data from some earlier period. Is that a correct supposition?

3:50 p.m.

Principal, Office of the Auditor General of Canada

Kimberley Leach

Yes. We used the most recently available information from Environment Canada on Canada's emission trends. The modelling for that—I'm just reading here from the report itself —was completed in December 2010.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Conservative Kitchener Centre, ON

So the modelling for the July 2011 trends report was completed in December 2010 and presumably reflects data from no later than December of 2010, and possibly earlier. Is that correct?

3:55 p.m.

Principal, Office of the Auditor General of Canada

Kimberley Leach

I'd have to look through the report to be sure of that detail. I'm just reading the information here, and the modelling was completed in December 2010.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Conservative Kitchener Centre, ON

My understanding is that when Environment Canada completes that trend report they only take into account the measures that have in fact been implemented up to the date of the report. Is that a correct assumption?

3:55 p.m.

Principal, Office of the Auditor General of Canada

Kimberley Leach

We were told during our audit that three regulations were taken into account in the projections. They included the two regulations for the transportation sector—the vehicle regulations and the renewable fuels regulations—as well as the coal-fired plant regulations.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Conservative Kitchener Centre, ON

Other upcoming regulations were not taken into account in that trend projection.

3:55 p.m.

Principal, Office of the Auditor General of Canada

Kimberley Leach

That's correct.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Conservative Kitchener Centre, ON

I was a little surprised at first that Environment Canada's own projection would suggest that we're not going to meet the target. As I understand it, from what you just said, that's because they didn't reflect or take into account those measures that might still be implemented. Is that correct?

3:55 p.m.

Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Office of the Auditor General of Canada

Scott Vaughan

If I may, Mr. Chair, it is complicated. You're quite right. If nothing happened, based on no interventions from the federal government and no interventions from the provincial governments, they would be 178 million tonnes over. The real number, of all these numbers, is 178 million tonnes, and that's where Environment Canada's looking. That's where we're looking. That's where the provinces are looking.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Conservative Kitchener Centre, ON

With respect, that's still only a projection, not a real number.

3:55 p.m.

Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Office of the Auditor General of Canada

Scott Vaughan

It will move, but that's the ballpark. It gives you some sense of it. It may be 182 million tonnes.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Conservative Kitchener Centre, ON

Assuming they're serious about other regulations, and assuming they apply sufficient diligence and the optimistic assumptions play out, the number will be less than that, correct?

3:55 p.m.

Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Office of the Auditor General of Canada

Scott Vaughan

I think, Mr. Chair, that absolutely, they are serious. Environment Canada is serious. I respect enormously the work these people are doing. This is difficult. Bringing down greenhouse gas emissions is not easy, and so—

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Woodworth Conservative Kitchener Centre, ON

It's like trying to catch the wind.