Madam Chair, thank you for this opportunity to present our collaborative report on climate change action in Canada, which as tabled in the House of Commons earlier this morning.
Joining me is Kimberley Leach. She's the principal responsible for this project, and let me tell you, this project was complicated. We had auditors general from across the country. We had auditors, staff, internal and external, and Kim did an absolutely fabulous job. I can't say enough about it. Congratulations to her in every way possible.
This report is historic. It is the first time that so many auditors general in Canada have partnered together to assess any issue, and this issue of such national magnitude. Over the last 18 months, each participating provincial office completed an audit of climate change and reported its findings to its legislature. As you know, I did the same at the federal level, delivering my report to Parliament last fall.
The Auditor General of Canada, in his capacity of auditor to the three territorial governments, also provided a climate change report to the legislative assemblies of Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. This is why this report is so historic.
I'd like to present to you this morning the key points that we've raised in this collaborative summary report of all the audits that have been done across the country.
First, I'll give you the good news. The findings from the federal, provincial, and territorial climate change audits confirm that Canada's governments are working on climate change. All governments have agreed that climate change is an important issue and have committed to taking signification action, so Canada is out of the starting gate.
That being said, there's also not so good news. There's still a lot of work to do. Climate change studies have shown that, generally, no government in Canada has fully met its climate change commitments. The majority of those who set greenhouse gas reduction targets are not on track to meet them. In addition, no government is fully prepared to adapt to the impacts of climate change. In other words, Canada still has a lot to do.
As I said, most governments are not on track to meet their greenhouse gas reduction targets. Seven governments have not set an overall reduction target for 2020. Six governments, the federal government, British Columbia, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador have set a target. Only two of these governments—New Brunswick and Nova Scotia—are on track to reach their targets.
Canada now has a greenhouse gas emission reduction target to reach by 2030. All provinces and territories have stated that they intend to contribute to reaching it. However, only New Brunswick, Ontario, and the Northwest Territories have set a target for 2030. What is more, the federal government does not yet know how it will measure each territory and province's contribution to reaching this new national target.
The audit work showed that a majority of provinces and territories had developed high-level strategies to reduce emissions, but they lacked detailed timelines, implementation plans, and cost estimates. In addition, many governments did not know if their planned actions would be enough to meet their emission reduction targets or already knew that their planned actions would fall short.
For example, British Columbia issued a climate leadership plan in 2016 that outlined the government's planned actions to reduce emissions, but the plan did not build a clear and measurable pathway to meeting the targets and was missing a clear schedule or detailed information about implementing the mitigation plan. Furthermore, the Northwest Territories' greenhouse gas strategy, which expired in 2015, lacked meaningful emissions targets.
The pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change is intended to provide a national plan to meet Canada's 2030 emission target.
The audits also looked at what governments had done to help Canadians prepare for the impacts of a changing climate.
Each government's first obligation is to identify the risks associated with climate change. The report shows that only Nova Scotia had undertaken a detailed, government-wide assessment of these risks.
The audits found some very good practices in specific jurisdictions, such as work that was underway to map flood plains or to address permafrost thawing in the north.
Some governments have undertaken risk assessments for individual communities, sectors, or government departments. For example, in Nunavut in 2017, the government did an assessment of the risks that climate change posed to drinking water in communities. It also completed an assessment of climate change risks to the territory's mining sector, including access roads, airstrips, and tailings or mining waste.
At the federal level, we found that only 5 out of 19 departments that we examined had assessed their climate change risks. As a result of the weaknesses in risk assessments, adaptation strategies often lacked detail. And the federal government, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the Northwest Territories had no adaptation strategy or plan at all.
Several audit offices found challenges with coordination between departments. For example, departments that were assigned leadership roles on climate change often did not provide sufficient information, guidance, and training to the rest of the government. This was the case with Environment and Climate Change Canada, federally. In some cases, the lead did not have the authority or sufficient resources to require ministries to take specific action on climate change.
On the issue of reporting, only seven jurisdictions, including the federal government, were regularly informing the public on the status and results of their actions to reduce emissions. Without regular monitoring and reporting on progress, the governments cannot assess if actions are working as intended and Canadians cannot hold governments to account for their commitments.
The collaborative report raises questions that legislators and Canadians could consider asking as governments across the country move forward on their climate change commitments. Here are a few of them.
How will governments show that they are capable of reaching their emission reduction targets? How will these actions be funded? Finally, as governments dedicate resources to adaptation measures, how will they ensure that the most pressing risks are being prioritized?
I strongly urge you to have a look at these questions.
Why does this all matter?
First of all, greenhouse gas emissions have yet to go down and the impacts of a changing climate are already being felt. Canadians are experiencing more severe weather, such as more floods, more intense and bigger forest fires, and rising sea levels. Meeting the new 2030 target will require significant efforts and actions on top of what is currently planned or in place.
The pan-Canadian framework is a step in the right direction. It brought together key players to chart a possible way forward. What we now need to see are details and to see the framework implemented.
Madam Chair, we remain hopeful that progress can be achieved. We will continue to audit this very important issue.
This concludes my opening remarks. We'd be pleased to answer any questions you may have.
Thank you very much.