Statement by Keith Brooks, Programs Director

Toronto | Traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat – The changes to the Clean Electricity Regulations that are being contemplated will almost certainly weaken the regulations and take us further away from the Prime Minister’s commitment to a net-zero electricity sector by 2035. These changes, if adopted, will allow more gas plants to burn more gas further into the future. 

We urge the government to strengthen the regulations, rather than weaken them. In particular, the federal government must hold the line on the end of life clause and the date that this clause comes into effect. It is unacceptable to allow gas plants built in 2026 to operate until 2045, or later, completely unmitigated. We are also concerned that the government is considering weakening the standard itself and including offsets. 

The current proposal, if adopted, will come up short of the Prime Minister’s net-zero electricity commitment, made at COP 26 in 2021. Provinces and project proponents have been provided with fair notice on a gas phase-out. Continuing to sink costs into plants that are not going to be able to operate come 2035 is not only short-sighted but will come at significant costs to electricity users. This is unfortunately the case in Ontario, where the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) is moving forward with contracting gas plants that will not be in service until 2027 or 2028, knowing full well that they would only be able to operate in a very limited manner after 2035.  

Clean electricity is an absolutely crucial element of a credible climate strategy. The push to electrify transportation, home heating and industry depends on the grid being decarbonized. And few countries are in a better position to decarbonize their electricity systems than Canada, thanks to an abundance of existing hydro and plentiful wind and solar resources. 

The government must finalize the regulations without further delay. The electricity sector is projected to deliver deep emissions cuts in Canada’s Emissions Reductions Plan. If the government doesn’t get this policy right, and get it in place as soon as possible, those emissions reductions will not be realized, and Canada will miss yet another climate target. 

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:

Tamara Latinovic, Environmental Defence