Terms of Reference

Context

The Government of Canada has committed to achieving a resilient, prosperous net-zero emissions future by 2050 and to setting legally-binding, five-year emissions-reduction milestones leading up to 2050.

This net-zero emissions future will be made possible by having a clear strategy, doing the hard work to determine credible pathways to net-zero across key sectors of the economy, and accelerating the existing ingenuity and innovation of the private sector over the next three decades.

To realize this objective, the Government of Canada is establishing an independent net-zero advisory body (advisory body). The advisory body will draw on existing and emerging research, analysis, and technical expertise. Since all Canadians have a part in shaping an inclusive low-carbon transformation, the advisory body will lead meaningful national conversations with experts and Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

The advisory body will report regularly to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and to the public. It will provide ongoing, evergreen advice that is forward-looking but grounded in the current realities of socio-economic circumstances, available technologies, and global trends. As part of its initial mandate, the advisory body will provide advice on actions Canada can take now to ensure a strong economic recovery while laying the foundation for net-zero emissions by 2050.

Mandate

The advisory body will provide advice on the most likely pathways for Canada to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The advisory body will also provide advice on emissions reductions milestones leading up to 2050, and identify near-term actions and key building blocks that support this long-term target.

To this end, the advisory body will provide advice on measures to catalyze long-term, low-carbon economic growth across the Canadian economy, including advice on policy measures to incentivize economically and environmentally beneficial investments that would support a step-change for infrastructure and clean technology.

The advisory body’s advice will include actions that are within federal jurisdiction, but may also include actions that could be implemented by others, such as individuals, communities, businesses, and other orders of government.

Deliverables

Within the first three months of its establishment, the advisory body will provide a summary of net-zero pathways work completed domestically and internationally and an outline of proposed priorities for analysis and engagement. The advisory body will share these documents publicly.

The advisory body will meet at least three times annually with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to provide updates on its work and interim advice.

At least once annually, the advisory body will produce a publicly available report that synthesizes its analysis across lines of inquiry, summarizes what it heard from engagement, and provides advice to the Minister on promising net-zero pathways.

Lines of Inquiry

The advisory body’s work will be structured along specific lines of inquiry, which will be set at regular intervals in consultation with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. These lines of inquiry may include specific sectors (e.g., oil and gas, transportation, buildings, electricity, heavy industry, agriculture, and forestry) or thematic opportunities (e.g., circular economy, social and behavioural shifts to accelerate climate action, nature-based solutions, clean and net-negative technologies). The advisory body will publicly communicate its priorities for lines of inquiry and the schedule on which it will complete analysis on a given line of inquiry. The Minister may refer lines of inquiry to the advisory body. The advisory body may examine specific sectors or themes on a regular cycle to ensure its advice remains aligned with the best available analysis and research.

Considerations

In developing advice regarding the optimal pathways through which to achieve net-zero by 2050, the advisory body should consider a range of factors, including:

  • Economic costs and opportunities: e.g., impacts on job creation and competitiveness; trade and export opportunities; regional economic impacts; opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises; domestic and international supply chain considerations.
  • Environmental benefits: e.g., greenhouse gas reduction potential; improved resilience and adaptation to climate change; decreases to other pollutants; nature conservation and other co-benefits.
  • Contributions to inclusivity and well-being: e.g., opportunities to further reconciliation with Indigenous peoples; analysis of the impacts on marginalized or vulnerable people; degree of public engagement, awareness, and support for the proposed actions; improvements to Canada’s education and skills development agenda.
  • Technological readiness and requirements: e.g., available and emerging clean technologies; role of net-negative technologies; technology needs and investments required.

Engagement, Analysis, and Research Activities

The advisory body will draw from all existing relevant domestic and international research and analysis, and will establish a transparent and inclusive process for stakeholders and partners to provide input. The advisory body will act as a platform to integrate recommendations stemming from multiple net-zero policy initiatives, both internal to and external to the federal government, to a single focal point within the Government of Canada. Where original research is necessary, the advisory body will conduct or commission new studies.

The advisory body will work closely with other relevant bodies tasked with providing advice to the Government of Canada, including on topics such as sustainable finance, economic sector strategies, future skills development, and supporting workers and communities in a low-carbon transition.

The advisory body will also undertake robust engagement, including:

  • Pursuing opportunities to discuss sectoral and regional dimensions of the pathways to net-zero with provinces and territories, municipalities, and other stakeholders.
  • Soliciting input from Indigenous governments, organizations, groups, communities, and individuals.
  • Organizing targeted engagement activities such as meetings and roundtable discussions with civil society groups, industry associations and member companies, youth, and academic, scientific, and technical experts.
  • Leveraging innovative techniques for broad public engagement and informed, meaningful dialogue, such as citizen assemblies, based on the advice of experts.

Membership

Members and chairs will be appointed by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. The advisory body will consist of up to two co-chairs and thirteen part-time members (15 total). They will hold office during pleasure for terms from one to three years, with potential for renewal. It is expected that no more than half of the members will change from one year to the next.

Secretariat

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) will provide logistical, administrative, and policy support to the advisory body. The advisory body may request that ECCC and other government departments provide economic analysis and emissions modelling expertise. Relevant Government of Canada departments may be asked to assist the advisory body by providing briefings and analysis on federal policies and programs.

Reporting, Accountability, and Transparency

The advisory body will report to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. The advisory body may present its recommendations to the Prime Minister, members of Cabinet, or other senior federal officials if requested.

The Minister will regularly provide direction to the advisory body, including on lines of inquiry. The Minister may amend the Terms of Reference if required, and will communicate any material changes to members of the advisory body. Minor amendments to the Terms of Reference can be made by the Secretariat, in consultation with the co-chairs and subject to informing the members at the next meeting.

Through its website, the advisory body will publicly communicate its lines of inquiry, the schedule on which it will complete analysis on a given line of inquiry, its annual report, and other documents as appropriate.

Travel and Expenses

Members of the advisory body will be eligible for travel-related expenses while on travel status away from their normal place of residence in accordance with the National Joint Council Travel Directive and the Treasury Board Special Travel Authorities, and for any other reasonably necessary incidental expenses.

Operating Procedures

For discussion within the advisory body and with its secretariat, the advisory body may adopt operating procedures to govern its operation, including quorum, consensus building, and other administrative matters.

Conflict of Interest

Advisory body members will be required to disclose activities and interests that could place them in a conflict of interest with respect to the work of the advisory body. To ensure the integrity of the advisory body’s advice, members will embrace full transparency of declaring interests related to any items under discussion by the advisory body and will recuse themselves from providing advice where there is a real or perceived conflict. Guiding principles on conflict of interest will be provided to the advisory body, and may be periodically reviewed and adjusted to ensure the most objective advice is given.

Context

The Government of Canada has committed to achieving a resilient, prosperous net-zero emissions future by 2050 and to setting legally-binding, five-year emissions-reduction milestones leading up to 2050.

This net-zero emissions future will be made possible by having a clear strategy, doing the hard work to determine credible pathways to net-zero across key sectors of the economy, and accelerating the existing ingenuity and innovation of the private sector over the next three decades.

To realize this objective, the Government of Canada is establishing an independent net-zero advisory body (advisory body). The advisory body will draw on existing and emerging research, analysis, and technical expertise. Since all Canadians have a part in shaping an inclusive low-carbon transformation, the advisory body will lead meaningful national conversations with experts and Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

The advisory body will report regularly to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and to the public. It will provide ongoing, evergreen advice that is forward-looking but grounded in the current realities of socio-economic circumstances, available technologies, and global trends. As part of its initial mandate, the advisory body will provide advice on actions Canada can take now to ensure a strong economic recovery while laying the foundation for net-zero emissions by 2050.

Mandate

The advisory body will provide advice on the most likely pathways for Canada to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The advisory body will also provide advice on emissions reductions milestones leading up to 2050, and identify near-term actions and key building blocks that support this long-term target.

To this end, the advisory body will provide advice on measures to catalyze long-term, low-carbon economic growth across the Canadian economy, including advice on policy measures to incentivize economically and environmentally beneficial investments that would support a step-change for infrastructure and clean technology.

The advisory body’s advice will include actions that are within federal jurisdiction, but may also include actions that could be implemented by others, such as individuals, communities, businesses, and other orders of government.

Deliverables

Within the first three months of its establishment, the advisory body will provide a summary of net-zero pathways work completed domestically and internationally and an outline of proposed priorities for analysis and engagement. The advisory body will share these documents publicly.

The advisory body will meet at least three times annually with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to provide updates on its work and interim advice.

At least once annually, the advisory body will produce a publicly available report that synthesizes its analysis across lines of inquiry, summarizes what it heard from engagement, and provides advice to the Minister on promising net-zero pathways.

Lines of Inquiry

The advisory body’s work will be structured along specific lines of inquiry, which will be set at regular intervals in consultation with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. These lines of inquiry may include specific sectors (e.g., oil and gas, transportation, buildings, electricity, heavy industry, agriculture, and forestry) or thematic opportunities (e.g., circular economy, social and behavioural shifts to accelerate climate action, nature-based solutions, clean and net-negative technologies). The advisory body will publicly communicate its priorities for lines of inquiry and the schedule on which it will complete analysis on a given line of inquiry. The Minister may refer lines of inquiry to the advisory body. The advisory body may examine specific sectors or themes on a regular cycle to ensure its advice remains aligned with the best available analysis and research.

Considerations

In developing advice regarding the optimal pathways through which to achieve net-zero by 2050, the advisory body should consider a range of factors, including:

  • Economic costs and opportunities: e.g., impacts on job creation and competitiveness; trade and export opportunities; regional economic impacts; opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises; domestic and international supply chain considerations.
  • Environmental benefits: e.g., greenhouse gas reduction potential; improved resilience and adaptation to climate change; decreases to other pollutants; nature conservation and other co-benefits.
  • Contributions to inclusivity and well-being: e.g., opportunities to further reconciliation with Indigenous peoples; analysis of the impacts on marginalized or vulnerable people; degree of public engagement, awareness, and support for the proposed actions; improvements to Canada’s education and skills development agenda.
  • Technological readiness and requirements: e.g., available and emerging clean technologies; role of net-negative technologies; technology needs and investments required.

Engagement, Analysis, and Research Activities

The advisory body will draw from all existing relevant domestic and international research and analysis, and will establish a transparent and inclusive process for stakeholders and partners to provide input. The advisory body will act as a platform to integrate recommendations stemming from multiple net-zero policy initiatives, both internal to and external to the federal government, to a single focal point within the Government of Canada. Where original research is necessary, the advisory body will conduct or commission new studies.

The advisory body will work closely with other relevant bodies tasked with providing advice to the Government of Canada, including on topics such as sustainable finance, economic sector strategies, future skills development, and supporting workers and communities in a low-carbon transition.

The advisory body will also undertake robust engagement, including:

  • Pursuing opportunities to discuss sectoral and regional dimensions of the pathways to net-zero with provinces and territories, municipalities, and other stakeholders.
  • Soliciting input from Indigenous governments, organizations, groups, communities, and individuals.
  • Organizing targeted engagement activities such as meetings and roundtable discussions with civil society groups, industry associations and member companies, youth, and academic, scientific, and technical experts.
  • Leveraging innovative techniques for broad public engagement and informed, meaningful dialogue, such as citizen assemblies, based on the advice of experts.

Membership

Members and chairs will be appointed by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. The advisory body will consist of up to two co-chairs and thirteen part-time members (15 total). They will hold office during pleasure for terms from one to three years, with potential for renewal. It is expected that no more than half of the members will change from one year to the next.

Secretariat

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) will provide logistical, administrative, and policy support to the advisory body. The advisory body may request that ECCC and other government departments provide economic analysis and emissions modelling expertise. Relevant Government of Canada departments may be asked to assist the advisory body by providing briefings and analysis on federal policies and programs.

Reporting, Accountability, and Transparency

The advisory body will report to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. The advisory body may present its recommendations to the Prime Minister, members of Cabinet, or other senior federal officials if requested.

The Minister will regularly provide direction to the advisory body, including on lines of inquiry. The Minister may amend the Terms of Reference if required, and will communicate any material changes to members of the advisory body. Minor amendments to the Terms of Reference can be made by the Secretariat, in consultation with the co-chairs and subject to informing the members at the next meeting.

Through its website, the advisory body will publicly communicate its lines of inquiry, the schedule on which it will complete analysis on a given line of inquiry, its annual report, and other documents as appropriate.

Travel and Expenses

Members of the advisory body will be eligible for travel-related expenses while on travel status away from their normal place of residence in accordance with the National Joint Council Travel Directive and the Treasury Board Special Travel Authorities, and for any other reasonably necessary incidental expenses.

Operating Procedures

For discussion within the advisory body and with its secretariat, the advisory body may adopt operating procedures to govern its operation, including quorum, consensus building, and other administrative matters.

Conflict of Interest

Advisory body members will be required to disclose activities and interests that could place them in a conflict of interest with respect to the work of the advisory body. To ensure the integrity of the advisory body’s advice, members will embrace full transparency of declaring interests related to any items under discussion by the advisory body and will recuse themselves from providing advice where there is a real or perceived conflict. Guiding principles on conflict of interest will be provided to the advisory body, and may be periodically reviewed and adjusted to ensure the most objective advice is given.

Page last updated: 30 July 2021, 11:39