Statement by Julia Levin, Associate Director, National Climate

Ottawa | Traditional, unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg People – We welcome the tabling of a new Private Member’s Bill C-383, an Act to prohibit the export of thermal coal from Canada. If passed, this new law would finally put an end to the millions of tonnes of coal – the world’s dirtiest and deadliest fossil fuel – that are shipped overseas from Canada’ west coast every year.

This Private Member’s Bill is only necessary because the federal government has failed to keep its own promise. Back in 2021, the federal government committed to ending the export of thermal coal before 2030. Years later, it has still made no progress – and Canadian ports continue to ship coal.

Not only does burning coal contribute massively to rising greenhouse gas emissions, it also endangers people’s health. Air pollutants from coal plants are linked to chronic heart and respiratory disease, and a host of acute ailments.

Despite deeming coal-fired power plants too dangerous for the health of people here, Canada continues to export millions of tonnes of thermal coal each year, including American coal, for sale in other countries.

Canada prides itself on advancing a thermal coal phase out. If we aren’t okay with burning coal in Canada, we shouldn’t feed coal consumption overseas. This new bill would finally put coal in the past – where it belongs.

Background Information

  • The bill was put forward yesterday by Member of Parliament Laurel Collins. It will need to be debated in Parliament before moving through the legislative process.
  • Thermal coal, which refers to coal used to produce electricity, produces dangerous amounts of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The process of mining, transporting, and burning coal wreaks havoc on the environment, the climate and human health.
  • According to Government of Canada data, in 2022 Canada exported over 18 million tonnes of Canadian and American thermal coal. When burnt, that amount of coal would produce 40 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, or the equivalent of 8.7 million cars.
  • As a result of 30 years of campaigning by Indigenous, environmental and health groups, governments in Canada have taken important steps to phase out the use of thermal coal here at home. Many provinces, like Ontario and Alberta, have shut down all of their coal-fired power plants. The Government of Canada implemented rules to ensure other provinces do the same. In 2021, the federal government introduced a policy to end mining for thermal coal. More information is available here.

ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE ( Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

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For more information or to request an interview, please contact: Allen Braude, Environmental Defence,