5.3 General overview of policies: targets and objectives


The federal and provincial governments have announced several targets and policies on energy, GHG emissions and carbon pricing. These policies include various incentives to change energy consumption patterns and behaviours, encourage or accelerate the adoption of certain technologies, increase the role of renewable sources in the energy mix, decrease GHG emissions, and put a price on carbon emissions. These policies share some commonalities, and several objectives complement one another.

Each section provides a summary of the targets and main incentives put forward by these governments and then moves on to review the main policy efforts to meet them1. Both the reference year and the time by which the target must be reached are indicated. 

Although this presentation does not discriminate as to whether the target has been enshrined in legislation or regulation at this point, this distinction in the regulatory or legal status of the objectives is nevertheless important. The announcement of a target in a government press release or on the election campaign trail is not the same as the publication of an official strategic plan specifying the target and listing concrete measures to attain it. In turn, such announcements are also different from the passage of legislation or a regulation setting out how the government is moving forward on these measures. 

This choice was made since this chapter is intended to provide a snapshot of 2021, and as such must reflect the state of affairs at the time of publication. However, it should be noted that scenarios exclude objectives or measures that are simply announced or are still in the earliest stages of design and implementation. Details on these exclusions can be found in later chapters. 

It should also be noted that even legislated targets and action plans do not automatically result in the successful achievement of targets. Accordingly, a look at policy details and implementation so far is essential to provide a sense of the scale of the federal and provincial governments’ efforts to achieve these targets. For a more quantitative impact of these measures, readers are referred to the reference scenario presented in the following chapters, which incorporates the bulk of these measures.


1Appendix 8 provides more detail on policies in the provinces and territories.