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Ottawa to work with provinces on oil and gas methane emissions reduction

rural vista of an oil and gas operation

The Government of Canada is committed to tackling climate change by working with the provinces, territories, Indigenous Peoples, and stakeholders across the country.

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson announced that the Government of Canada has finalized equivalency agreements with the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan. These agreements will allow strengthened provincial methane regulations to replace the federal regulations for up to five years. Agreements were finalized with Alberta and Saskatchewan this fall, and with British Columbia earlier this year.

"Canadians want their governments to continue to take action on climate change during the COVID-19 pandemic. I am pleased the federal government has reached equivalency agreements with Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan to reduce methane emissions from their oil and gas sectors," Wilkinson said. "These efforts lay the groundwork for the next steps we need to take as a country to exceed our 2030 climate target."

These equivalency agreements represent a flexible approach that enables provinces and territories to design methane regulations that best suit their respective jurisdictions while meeting equivalent emissions-reduction outcomes to the federal regulations.

Reducing methane pollution from the oil and gas sector is an essential pillar of Canada's climate plan. These efforts will also ensure that the oil and gas sector remains competitive globally as investors and consumers increasingly look for low-carbon products.

Canada recently launched the $750 million Emissions Reduction Fund, in part, to achieve methane reductions above and beyond those prescribed in the federal regulations. The Fund will help maintain jobs and opportunities by positioning industry to be greener—and thus more globally competitive in the longer term. Interested companies can now submit funding applications through Natural Resources Canada's website.

The Government of Canada remains committed to reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40 to 45 percent below 2012 levels, by 2025. The Government will monitor and review the effectiveness of the federal regulations and will continue to work with provincial partners, civil society, and industry to ensure that these objectives are achieved. The Government of Canada will publicly report on the efficacy of the suite of federal actions to achieve the 2025 methane target, in late 2021.

Quick facts

  • The federal regulations came into force on January 1, 2020. 
  • Other Government of Canada initiatives will lead to additional reductions of methane emissions, including the Emissions Reduction Fund, funding to clean up dormant and orphan wells, and the upcoming Clean Fuel Standard. 
  • There are a number of requirements to establish an equivalency agreement. Provincial regulations must deliver equivalent environmental outcomes and meet a number of other conditions such as having adequate legal structures for public investigations on alleged offences.

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