Canada's Climate Action Plan was prepared by Environment Canada and was officially introduced in 2002 (click to view the official press release). It outlined a number of values and principles, strategic directions, as well as opportunity areas that Canada will pursue to meet its national target on emissions reductions: stabilization of emissions at 1990 levels by the year 2000.

The plan emphasized on a number of principles and values to enable success. They are:

Collaboration partnerships and respect for jurisdiction No region bearing an unreasonable burden
Taking a transparent step-by-step approach Minimizing mitigation costs while maximizing benefits
Promoting Innovation Limiting Risks and Uncertainties

The plan is composed of three main steps resulting in a potential cut of 240 megatons of GHGs.

 Step 1 : Actions Underway (80 megatonnes)

Since the Government of Canada had committed $1.6 billion in climate change initiatives across all sectors in every region, it is expected to reduce emissions 50 megatonnes. Additionally, partnerships between public and private sector, sound management of agricultural soils and forests and carbon sinks are all expected to bring credits of 30 megatonnes. Thus all totalling up to 80 megatonnes in the first initial phase of the plan.

 Step 2 : New Actions (100 megatonnes)

This phase focuses on three priority areas for new actions.

  • Canadians and govenrments in the transportation and building sector (16 megatones)
  • Reduction by industry through a comprehensive and strategic aproach (66 megatonnes)
  • Government purchases of permits in the international market (minimum 10 megatonnes)
 Step 3 : The Remainder (60 megatonnes)

Current and potential actions that could achieve the goal.

  • Partnership Fund between different stakeholder groups (20 - 30 megatones)
  • Existing and future technology R&D investments (10 megatonnes)
  • Community-wide emissions reduction plan by 100 municipalities (10 megatonnes)
  • Challenge to every Canadian to reduce by 1 tonne individually ( 7 megatonnes)
  • Credits for cleaner energy exports (Up to 70 megatonnes)

Within these three overarching steps, lie the plan’s 5 main objectives to attain its goals.

  1. Emission reduction targets set for large industrial emitters that will create incentive to shift to more efficient technologies;

  2. A partnership fund that will result in a cost-share program between provincial, territorial and municipal governments, as well as Aboriginal communities and nongovernmental organizations and the private sector;

  3. Strategic infrastructure investments, which may include innovations such as urban transit projects, or a CO2 pipeline;

  4. A coordinated innovation strategy that allows Canada to benefit from innovations resulting from the climate change agenda;

  5. Targeted measures, which include information, incentives, regulations, and tax measures that help achieve climate change objectives.

According to economic models, the Climate Change Action Plan would have reduced GDP by only 0.4 percent in 2010 where jobs would have increase by 1.26 million instead of 1.32 million (Climate Change Plan for Canada, 2002). The plan ultimately intended to orient Canada's development in a environmentally, economically and socially sustainable direction, and emphasized that this this change was indeed essential to creating a stronger and reslient country, and to enhance an internationally responsible reputation built on the foundations of a diverse and competitive economy.