Pathways to Victory: The Creation of Canada’s Emissions Accountability Law (Bill C-12)

  • Emily Lowan University of Victoria


After three decades of international climate action gridlock and domestic target failures, there is an emerging policy focus on the passage of national emissions accountability legislation. Emissions accountability legislation is an attempt to safeguard science-based emissions reductions plans from changing political winds. This article presents a peer-reviewed case study of Bill C-12, Canada's first emissions accountability legislation, passed in June 2021. While Bill C-12 was strengthened through the amendment process, the final legislation remained significantly weaker than the "gold standard" UK Climate Change Act (2008). The author analyzes the interests, institutions, and political context that enabled Bill C-12's passage, tracking the ways in which these forces interacted to both weaken and strengthen the legislation.