Canada, the world's second largest country by area, has abundant natural resources. Its vast territory includes large tracts of undisturbed wilderness. However, urbanisation and agriculture are putting pressure on the natural asset base. Since 2000, Canada has made progress in decoupling economic growth from air pollution, energy consumption and GHG emissions, but it remains one of the most energy- and emissions-intensive economies in the OECD. Further progress is needed to transition to a green, low-carbon economy.
This is the third Environmental Performance Review of Canada. It evaluates progress towards sustainable development and green growth, with special features on climate change mitigation and urban wastewater management.
I want to focus on the urgent and systemic issue of climate change, which is more than just an environmental problem. Just two days ago, the 2017 Lancet Countdown report was released, showing that climate change is already a critical public health issue, one disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable as well as those least responsible for anthropogenic warming.
Mr. Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD, will be in Toronto from 30 October to 1 November 2017, to attend the Toronto Global Forum, where he will deliver an Opening Keynote Address. Mr. Angel Gurría will also hold bilateral meetings with several high level authorities attending the event.
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This country note provides an environmental tax and carbon pricing profile for Canada. It shows environmentally related tax revenues, taxes on energy use and effective carbon rates.
This database provides information on environmentally related taxes, fees and charges, tradable permit systems, deposit refund systems, environmentally motivated subsidies and voluntary approaches used in environmental policy in OECD member countries and a number of other countries. Developed in co-operation between the OECD and the European Environment Agency.
Canadians enjoy a high level of well-being. On all eleven components of the OECD’s Better Life Index, Canada performs better than the OECD average. The economy and labour markets stood up better than those of most OECD countries to the ravages of the global financial crisis. Still, there are some areas where the country can do even better. Canada needs to improve its productivity performance, building on the recent increased growth in labour productivity to narrow the gap with top-performing OECD countries in terms of the level of productivity. The productivity gap with the United States is particularly large for small and medium-sized enterprises. Productivity growth could also be more inclusive. People from socially disadvantaged backgrounds and Indigenous communities currently do not participate to the extent that they should in the country’s strong economic performance. Finally, Canada needs to make growth greener, in order to contribute its fair share to the global fight against climate change.
The Canadian food and agriculture sector is for the most part competitive and export-oriented: although challenges and opportunities vary significantly between regions, primary agriculture benefits from an abundance of natural resources and faces limited environmental constraints. Negative environmental impacts of agriculture relate mainly to local water pollution by agricultural nutrients. Productivity growth, resulting from innovation and structural change, has driven production and income growth without significantly increasing pressure on resource use. Nonetheless, the capacity to innovate is crucial to take advantage of the growing and changing demand for food and agricultural products at the global level.
This paper reviews the political economy of the Canadian province of British Columbia (BC) tax in three periods: its origins, its survival in the face of political backlash, and its longer-term prospects. The BC launched North America’s first revenue-neutral carbon tax reform. The tax, applied to all combustion sources of fossil fuels, was introduced at a rate of CAD 10 per tonne of CO2.
Speaking at the International Economic Forum of the Americas, Mr. Gurria called on all countries to use the economic crisis as an opportunity to promote ‘green’ growth. Collective action and bold political will, he said, will be necessary to draft environmentally sound stimulus packages, reduce emissions, foster green innovation, and work towards a successful UN Climate Change Conference at the end of the year.
In his speech delivered at the Conference of Montreal, Angel Gurría underlined that growing pressures from agriculture, energy production and industries were imperilling our water resources. He affirmed that all countries - OECD and developing countries alike – need to introduce urgently policy reforms and scale-up best practices to avoid dire consequences.