Our process helps Canada achieve sustainable development solutions that integrate environmental and economic considerations to ensure the lasting prosperity and well-being of our nation.


We rigorously research and conduct high quality analysis on issues of sustainable development. Our thinking is original and thought provoking.


We convene opinion leaders and experts from across Canada around our table to share their knowledge and diverse perspectives. We stimulate debate and integrate polarities. We create a context for possibilities to emerge.


We generate ideas and provide realistic solutions to advise governments, Parliament and Canadians. We proceed with resolve and optimism to bring Canada’s economy and environment closer together.

7.8 Canadian Climate Policies Dialogue

Reality Check: The State of Climate Progress in Canada

On March 5–6, 2012, the NRT, in conjunction with the Queen’s Institute of Intergovernmental Relations, held the Canadian Climate Policies Dialogue Session in Kingston, Ontario to present preliminary research, to receive feedback in response, and to engage participants in discussions on what this means to meeting Canada’s 2020 target, with ideas and solutions for moving forward. The NRT chose to partner with the Queen’s Institute because of its impeccable knowledge and credentials in working with governments, as well as academics and public policy experts, to host events and foster considered dialogue.

This invitation-only session was designed to offer a safe space for open discussion by governments. All provincial and territorial governments, the federal government, and noted climate and intergovernmental relations policy experts, including former senior officials, were invited to give their perspectives (see the Participants List in this Appendix). This process allowed for our work to be well grounded in national, provincial, and regional realities, and it benefitted from top expert input and advice.

The dialogue session began with a reception and dinner on March 5th, with former Clerk of the Privy Council of Canada and Deputy Minister of Environment Canada, speaker Mel Cappe addressing the audience with a speech entitled “Federal/Provincial Relations and Climate Change: Change the Climate”. On March 6th there were three facilitated roundtable discussions that focused on specific research topic areas allowing for a more detailed discussion on the subject matter. Topic areas included: NRT modelling analysis on Canadian emission reductions to 2020; climate policy experiences by provincial/territorial governments; and prospects and ideas for future climate policy approaches and steps.

Overall, the session confirmed some key conclusions:

  • We have made progress as a country to achieve emissions reductions but not enough based on existing and likely measures to close the gap.
  • There is diversity in approaches by governments between federal and provincial governments and between provincial governments themselves. This is to be expected and has value. But it has also complicated efforts at a more pan-Canadian approach and created some duplication, overlap, and economic inefficiencies in the way climate actions have been implemented. Policy certainty from the federal government was strongly desired.
  • Concerns exist about federal sectoral and regulatory approaches within some provinces; while the current federal approach has been accepted as inevitable, it meant national carbon pricing a more desirable approach for many provinces and experts, was not being considered.
  • There has been emerging co-operation between levels of government on climate change policy action – namely, reviewing baseline numbers and having a single window approach for businesses to report to both levels of government.
  • No effective mechanisms or processes for F/P/T collaboration exist to engage in policy development or dialogue to consider different approaches.
  • Targets versus time frames came out as an important difference in detail. While all had targets and needed to move toward them, the time frames to do so was not always aligned. This disconnect was noted several times.
  • All provincial representatives asserted a pretty clear determination to keep going with their climate plans. Links between climate policy and a transition to a low-carbon economy were noted by some.




Barbara Anderson
Retired ADM
Social Policy
Finance Canada

Chris Bataille
Senior Managing Partner
Navius Research Inc.

Jonah Bernstein
Senior Policy Advisor, Climate Change
Government of Nova Scotia

Dale Beugin
SkyCurve Consulting

Douglas Brown
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science
St. Francis Xavier University

Mel Cappe
School of Public Policy and Governance
University of Toronto

Jean Cinq-Mars
Assistant Auditor General
Sustainable Development Commissioner
Auditor General of Québec

Gerald Crane
Director of Research and Analysis
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

Dianne Cunningham
NRT Member

Neil Cunningham
Director, Climate Change and Environmental Protection
Government of Manitoba

Marc DeBlois (observer)
Bureau des changements climatiques
Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs

Stephen de Boer
Director General, Climate Change International
Environment Canada

Rachel Faulkner
Administrative Assistant

Michael Goeres
Executive Director
Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment

Kim Graybiel
Director, Climate Change Secretariat
Government of Saskatchewan

Beth Hardy
Research Associate

Kathryn Harrison
University of British Columbia

Christopher Hilkene
NRT Member

Derek Hermanutz
Associate Director General
Economic Analysis Directorate
Environment Canada

Jackie Janes
ADM/Senior Policy Advisor
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

André Juneau
Queen’s University

Michael Keenan
Assistant Deputy Minister
Strategic Policy Branch
Environment Canada

Erick Lachapelle
Professeur adjoint
Université de Montréal

Andrew Leach
Assistant Professor
University of Alberta

Nick Macaluso
Director, Analysis & Modelling
Environment Canada

Doug Macdonald
University of Toronto

Cairine MacDonald
Deputy Minister of Environment
Government of British Columbia

James Mack
Head, Climate Action Secretariat
Government of British Columbia

David McLaughlin
President and CEO

Noel Melton
Navius Research Inc.

Gord Miller
Environmental Commissioner of Ontario
ECO Office

Robert Mills
NRT Member

Katherine Monahan
Policy Analyst, Analysis and Modelling
Environment Canada

Mark Parent
NRT Member

Heather Pearson
Acting Director, Air Policy Instruments and Program Design Branch
Ontario Ministry of the Environment

Barry G. Rabe
Professor Public Policy, Environmental Policy School of Natural Resources & Environment
University of Michigan

Adam Redish
Director, Air Policy and Climate Change Branch
Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

Nic Rivers
University of Ottawa

David Runnalls
Acting Executive Director, Sustainable Prosperity
Distinguished Fellow
Centre for International Governance Innovation

Guy Saint-Jacques
Ambassador for Climate Change and Chief Negotiator
Environment Canada

Bob Savage
Section Head, Regulatory & Mitigation Policy
Alberta Department of Environment
Government of Alberta

Eric Schroff
Director, Climate Change Secretariat
Government of Yukon

Julie St-Amour
Members Services Liaison

Scott Vaughan
Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development
Office of the Auditor General of Canada

Randall Wigle
Wilfred Laurier University


[oo] Queen’s University, Institute of Intergovernmental Relations, has prepared a summary report of this event (containing no attribution) and is available upon request.