Climate Action Legislation

The B.C. government has enacted significant pieces of climate action legislation that frame B.C.’s approach to reducing emissions and transitioning to a low-carbon economy.

Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act (GGRTA)

Passed in November 2007; came into force January 2008

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act sets aggressive legislated targets for reducing greenhouse gases. Under the Act, B.C.'s GHG emissions are to be reduced by at least 33 percent below 2007 levels by 2020. Interim reduction targets of six percent by 2012 and 18 percent by 2016 are in place to guide and measure progress. A further emission reduction target of 80 percent below 2007 levels is set for 2050. The Act provided authority for the Emission Offsets Regulation (PDF) (enacted in December 2008) and the Carbon Neutral Government Regulation (enacted in December 2008).

Carbon Neutral Government Regulation

Enacted December 2008

Carbon Tax Act

Passed in May 2008; came into force July 2008

B.C.’s revenue-neutral carbon tax puts a price on greenhouse gas emissions, providing an incentive for sustainable choices that produce fewer emissions. The escalating tax was phased in on July 1, 2008. One hundred percent of the revenue generated is returned to taxpayers through other tax reductions. There is also built-in protection for lower-income British Columbians.

Carbon Tax Regulation

Effective July 2008

Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act (GGIRCA)

Passed in November 2014; came into force January 2016

The Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act (the Act) enables performance standards to be set for industrial facilities or sectors by listing them within a Schedule to the Act. To uphold B.C.’s commitment to ensuring the cleanest liquefied natural gas (LNG) operations in the world, for example, the Schedule sets a greenhouse gas emissions benchmark for LNG facilities. The Schedule also includes an emission benchmark for coal-based electricity generation operations. The Act streamlines several aspects of existing GHG legislation and regulation into a single legislative and regulatory system, including the emission reporting framework established under the Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Cap and Trade) Act. The Act provides authority for the Greenhouse Gas Emission Reporting Regulation, the Greenhouse Gas Emission Control Regulation, and the Greenhouse Gas Emission Administrative Penalties and Appeals Regulation.

Greenhouse Gas Emission Reporting Regulation

Enacted on January 1, 2016

The Greenhouse Gas Emission Reporting Regulation requires that industrial operations that emit over 10,000 carbon dioxide equivalent tonnes per year (tCO2e) report their GHG pollution each year. Operations emitting over 25,000 tCO2e are required to have their emission reports independently verified. The Regulation defines LNG operations and specifies which emissions are attributable to the emission benchmark as set in the Schedule in the Act. Compliance reporting requirements for regulated operations, including LNG, are prescribed.

Greenhouse Gas Emission Control Regulation

Enacted on January 1, 2016

The Greenhouse Gas Emission Control Regulation establishes the infrastructure and requirements for issuing emission offset units and funded units. These are the foundational elements that enable compliance with the performance standards listed within a Schedule to the Act. The Regulation also establishes the BC Carbon Registry, which enables the electronic issuance, transfer and retirement of compliance units (emission offset units, funded units and earned credits).

Greenhouse Gas Emission Administrative Penalties and Appeals Regulation

Enacted on January 1, 2016

The Greenhouse Gas Emission Administrative Penalties and Appeals Regulation establishes when, how much, and under what conditions administrative penalties, including administrative monetary penalties, may be levied for non-compliance with the Act. It also outlines the process for seeking appeals after decisions have been made by the Director under the Act.

Clean Energy Act

Passed in June 2010; came into force June 2010

The Clean Energy Act sets provincial energy objectives and mechanisms related to electricity self-sufficiency, clean and renewable energy, energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emission reductions and fuel switching to lower-carbon-intensity energy.

Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Renewable and Low Carbon Fuel Requirements) Act

Passed in April 2008; came into force December 2009

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Renewable and Low Carbon Fuel Requirements) Act sets requirements for the use of renewables in transportation fuel blends and fulfills B.C.’s commitment to adopt a low-carbon fuel standard similar to that of California. The Act provides authority for the Renewable and Low Carbon Fuel Requirements Regulation (enacted in December 2009), which is decreasing the amount of carbon in B.C.’s transportation fuels.

Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Emissions Standards) Statutes Amendment Act

Passed in May 2008

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Emissions Standards) Statutes Amendment Act focuses on reducing GHG emissions from certain industrial operations while increasing opportunities in the bioenergy sector. For example, waste-management operations (including landfills, composting facilities and sewage treatment plants) are required to manage GHGs by reducing emissions or capturing them. They then have the option of realizing the economic opportunity presented by the waste’s energy-generating potential. The Act provided authority for the Landfill Gas Management Regulation (enacted in January 2009). Additionally, the Act enables regulation of zero and net-zero GHG emissions for electricity generation. This bill amended the Environmental Management Act, the Forest Act and the Forest and Range Practices Act.

Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Vehicle Emissions Standards) Act

Passed in May 2008; not in force. Superseded by federal legislation harmonising strict North American standards.

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Vehicle Emissions Standards) Act enables implementation of a government commitment made in the 2008 Throne Speech to match vehicle greenhouse gas emission standards to those laid out in California’s 2004 Low-Emission Vehicle II regulations. The Act was to be brought into force by regulation, but this was superseded by the enactment of federal legislation that aligned with the U.S. EPA and brought Canada and B.C. into a harmonised North American standard. Vehicle emission standards cut GHG emissions by 30 percent relative to 2008 models—a reduction of 600,000 tonnes of GHG emissions annually. This means better fuel efficiency and cost savings for British Columbians. The Act also enables the regulation of zero-emission vehicles.

Local Government (Green Communities) Statutes Amendment Act

Passed in May 2008

The Local Government (Green Communities) Statutes Amendment Act, referred to as Bill 27, supports local governments in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conserving energy and working towards creating more compact and sustainable communities. The amendments require GHG emission reduction targets in local Official Community Plans and Regional Growth Strategies, and supporting policies and actions.

Utilities Commission Amendment Act

Passed in April 2008; came into force May 2008

The Utilities Commission Amendment Act encourages public utilities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, take demand-side measures, and produce, generate and acquire electricity from clean or renewable sources. It provided authority for the Demand-Side Measures Regulation (enacted in November 2008), which sets out rules to be used by the BC Utilities Commission in assessing proposed demand-side measures from utilities.

Energy Efficiency Act

Passed in 1996

B.C.’s Energy Efficiency Act sets energy performance standards for devices that use, control or affect the use of energy, such as household appliances, heating and cooling systems, lighting and some industrial equipment.

Building Code Amendments and Regulations

In December 2014, the B.C. Building Code introduced new energy-efficiency requirements for houses and small buildings. These include the Solar Hot Water Ready requirement, a provincial regulation that communities can voluntarily adopt. It requires new single-family homes in adoptive communities to be built to accommodate installation of solar hot water systems.

Archive – Climate Action Legislation

The Climate Action Secretariat in the Ministry of Environment sought public input on each of the three proposed regulations. A Reporting Regulation Policy Intentions Paper was available for comment between March 19 and April 20, 2015; the proposed Offsets Regulation and Compliance Framework Policy Intention Papers were posted between July 22 and August 21, 2015. For more information on the process, see the proposed intentions papers and the overview (without attributions) of the submissions received. The Ministry thanks those who submitted comments.

Enacted December 2008. Repealed December 31, 2016.
Under the provisions of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act (GGRTA), the Ministry of Environment established the Emission Offsets Regulation that came into effect on December 9, 2008. The Regulation set out requirements for greenhouse gas reductions and removals from projects or actions to be recognized as emission offsets for the purposes of fulfilling the provincial government's commitment to a carbon-neutral public sector from 2010 onward. This regulation was repealed and replaced with the Greenhouse Gas Emission Control Regulation, under the Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act.

The official regulation and regulation amendment can be accessed as separate documents:

Passed in May 2008.  Repealed Dec 31, 2015.

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Cap and Trade) Act authorized hard caps on greenhouse gas emissions, which made B.C. the first Canadian province to introduce such legislation. It provided authority for the Reporting Regulation (enacted in November 2009). The Act provided the statutory basis for setting up a market-based cap and trade framework to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from large emitters operating in the province. Parts of the Act were brought into force when the Reporting Regulation was enacted; however, this Act was repealed by the Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act (GGIRCA).

Offsets Regulation

Emissions Trading Regulation

Reporting Regulation

Enacted in November 2009.  Repealed December 31, 2015.

The Reporting Regulation ensured that large-emitter industrial facilities reported their GHG pollution each year to the Province, which was then posted publicly. This regulation was repealed and replaced with the Greenhouse Gas Emission Reporting Regulation, under the Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act (GGIRCA).

Consultation History

The intentions paper for the Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Cap and Trade) Act Reporting Regulation was posted in October 2008. Comments were solicited for a period of 45 days. The intentions paper and a summary of the comments received are available here:

The ministry’s intentions for the regulation were updated from those indicated in the policy intentions paper to incorporate received comments and developments from the Western Climate Initiative’s Final Draft Essential Requirements of Mandatory Reporting released on July 15, 2009

Passed in June 2010. Not in force.

The Zero Net Deforestation Act is designed to encourage an equal area of trees be planted for carbon storage to offset any forest land that is permanently cleared for another use.