Climate Action Legislation

The Government of British Columbia has introduced and enacted a number of significant pieces of climate-action legislation that frame B.C.’s approach to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and preparing the Province for the emerging low-carbon economy.


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) came into force on January 1, 2016. The Act enables performance standards to be set for industrial facilities or sectors by listing them within a Schedule to the Act. To uphold the Province’s commitments to having the cleanest liquefied natural gas (LNG) operations in the world, the Schedule sets greenhouse gas (GHG) 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 ensures that industrial operations which emit over 10,000 carbon dioxide equivalent tonnes per year (tCO2e) report their GHG pollution each year to the Province.  Those operations emitting over 25,000 tCO2e are required to have their emission reports independently verified. The Regulation defines LNG operations and sets out what emissions are attributable to the emission benchmark set in the Schedule in the Act.  Compliance reporting requirements for regulated operations, including LNG, are prescribed.  The compliance reports provide the necessary information to demonstrate how regulated operations met the benchmark.

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 which are 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 will enable the issuance, transfer and retirement of compliance units (emission offset units, funded units and earned credits) on an electronic platform.

Greenhouse Gas Emission Administrative Penalties and Appeals Regulation

Enacted on January 1, 2016.

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

GGIRCA Regulations Consultation Process

During the process of developing the regulations under the Act, the Climate Action Secretariat in the Ministry of Environment (the Ministry) sought public comments on each of the three proposed regulations. A Reporting Regulation Policy Intentions Paper was available for comment between March 19 and April 20, 2015, followed by the proposed Offsets Regulation and Compliance Framework Policy Intention Papers, which were posted between July 22 and August 21, 2015. The proposed intentions papers remain available at the links below along with an overview (without attributions) of the submissions received. The Ministry would like to thank those who submitted comments.

Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act

Passed in November 2007. Came into force January 2008.

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act (GGRTA) sets aggressive legislated targets for reducing greenhouse gases. Under the Act, B.C.'s GHG emissions are to be reduced by at least 33 per cent below 2007 levels by 2020. Interim reduction targets of six per cent by 2012 and 18 per cent by 2016 guide and measure progress. A further emission-reduction target of 80 per cent below 2007 levels is required 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

The revenue-neutral Carbon Tax Act puts a price on greenhouse gas emissions, providing an incentive for sustainable choices that produce fewer emissions. The Province started to phase in the escalating revenue neutral carbon tax on July 1, 2008. One hundred per cent of the revenue from the tax is returned to taxpayers through reductions in other B.C. taxes, and there is built-in protection for lower-income British Columbians.

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) will be required to manage GHGs by reducing emissions or capturing them, with the option of tapping into their energy-generation potential as an economic opportunity. 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.

The Environmental Management Act, the Forest Act and the Forest and Range Practices Act were amended by this bill.

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 promotes the use of renewable fuel in transportation fuel blends by setting new requirements for transportation fuels, 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). These requirements have been decreasing the amount of carbon in B.C.’s transportation fuels since coming into force in 2010.

Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Vehicle Emissions Standards) Act

Passed in May 2008

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Vehicle Emissions Standards) Act enables implementation of a government commitment made in the 2008 Throne Speech to set vehicle greenhouse gas emission standards equivalent to those laid out in California’s 2004 Low-Emission Vehicle II regulations. The Act was to be brought into force by regulation, however this was superseded by the enactment of Federal legislation that aligned with the U.S. EPA which saw Canada and B.C. brought into a harmonised North American standard.

Vehicle emission standards will cut GHG emissions by 30 per cent relative to 2008 vehicle models — a reduction of 600,000 tonnes of GHG emissions annually by 2016. This will also help to increase the fuel efficiency of the vehicle fleet in B.C., creating financial savings for British Columbians who will pay less at the pump. 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, often referred to as Bill 27, supports local governments in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conserving energy and working towards creating more compact, green, and sustainable communities. 

Climate Action Charter - 2007

- Links to the Charter: Ministry Link - UBCM CivicWeb Link - Toolkit Site

Additionally, most B.C. local governments are signatories to the BC Climate Action Charter, voluntarily committing to:

  • Achieve carbon neutral corporate operations by 2012
  • Measure and report on community GHG emissions profiles
  • Create complete, compact and more energy-efficient rural and urban communities.

Learn more about Community Climate Action in B.C.

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 that the BC Utilities Commission must use when assessing proposed demand-side measures from utilities.

Clean Energy Act

Passed in June 2010

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

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

Effective December 19th 2014, the B.C. Building Code will introduce new energy efficiency requirements for houses and small buildings (Part 9 buildings). The changes will be integrated into the online version of the BC Building Code shortly after December 19th.

The Solar Hot Water Ready requirement is a provincial regulation that communities can voluntarily choose to adopt. Where adopted, the Regulation requires all new single family homes in their communities to be built to accommodate future installation of a solar hot water system. The Regulation provides consistent provisions across the province while still allowing flexibility for local governments to adopt provisions that work for their community.

Archive – Climate Action Legislation

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 unofficial consolidated version of the regulation published by BC Laws is provided here:

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.

 

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