BILL C-311
Climate Change Accountability Act

Ø An Act to ensure Canada assumes its responsibilities in preventing
dangerous climate change and contributes fully to the stabilization of greenhouse gas
concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous
anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

Ø It recognizes that climate change poses a serious threat to the economic
well-being, public health, natural resources and environment of Canada

Ø The COMMITMENT to reduce greenhouse gas emissions:

Ø Long-term target is to a level that is 80% below the 1990 level by the year
2050.

Ø Medium-term target, to a level that is 25% below the 1990 level by the year2020.

Ø Ensures that Canada’s positions in all international climate change
discussions and in all negotiations with governments and other entities are fully
consistent with meeting the commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Ø Every person who contravenes a regulation made under this Act is guilty
of an offence punishable by indictment or on summary conviction, as prescribed by
the regulations, and liable to a fine or to imprisonment as prescribed by the
regulations.

Brief history of Bill C-311:
The Climate Change Accountability Act was originally tabled in October 2006 in the Canadian
House of Commons as Bill C-377 by Jack Layton, Leader of the New Democratic Party of
Canada. It passed 3rd reading in that House with the support of caucuses of the Liberal Party of
Canada, the Bloc Quebecois and the NDP (the Conservative Party of Canada, led by Prime
Minister Stephen Harper, voted against it). However, due the 2008 Canadian federal election
ending the parliamentary session prematurely, the bill did not achieve royal assent despite
reaching the Senate. On February 10, 2009 Bruce Hyer, New Democrat Deputy Environment
Critic and MP for Thunder Bay-Superior North, seconded by Layton, reintroduced it as a Private
Member’s Bill, renamed as Bill C-311. After months of delays, a contentious request by the
House Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development for more time to
consider C-311 was granted with the Official Opposition supporting the government on an Oct
21 vote in the House of Commons. Passage of the Climate Change Accountability Act was
therefore effectively delayed until 2010, meaning it would not influence the government in
negotiations at the UN COP15 global climate change treaty negotiations held in December 2009
in Copenhagen.