Canada: 2016 A Pivotal Year In Canadian Renewables: Evolving Carbon Policies And The Renewable Energy Sector


In recent months, climate change and the transition to low carbon energy solutions have been at the forefront of Canada's policy agenda — both provincially and federally. These priorities are likely remain unchanged in the coming year. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, along with several provincial premiers, recently descended on Paris for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, which culminated in a landmark global agreement to combat climate change and limit global warming. In his speech to the Paris delegation, the Prime Minister stated that climate change is a top priority for Canada's government and that the country "will take on a new leadership role internationally".

Most Canadian provinces have echoed — or, in some cases, pre-empted- the Prime Minister's sentiments. In Alberta, Premier Rachel Notley recently rolled out the province's comprehensive Climate Change Leadership Plan, a revolutionary new agenda for the oil and gas resource-dependent province. Next door, the Government of Saskatchewan and SaskPower committed to double the percentage of renewable energy generation capacity in the province by 2030.

Not to be outdone, Ontario revealed its own Climate Change Strategy last month. While critics were quick to point out that Ontario's 37-page framework was light on specifics, few appeared to doubt the importance of this policy mandate and the necessity of transitioning the province towards a sustainable low-carbon economy.

Ontario has also signalled an intention to increase intergovernmental collaboration in this area after recently signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Co-operation in the Area of Climate Change with Québec and Manitoba. This MOU is intended to "create new and competitive economic opportunities [in the three provinces] in areas such as renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean technologies that promote a transition to a more resilient low-carbon economy."

And despite some critique from Provincial Auditor, the Ontario government has remained steadfast in its commitment to renewables. As Premier Kathleen Wynne recently noted, "there's a cost associated with getting out of coal, of putting more renewables in place, and we've got other jurisdictions looking to Ontario as a model for how to do that."

A Key Role for the Renewable Energy Sector in Ontario's Low-Carbon Future

The province is still keeping its cards close to its chest regarding specific short-term climate commitments. Those details will come later this year, when Ontario releases its five-year climate change action plan. For now, the province has only revealed broad strokes, including a long-term goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent (below 1990 levels) by 2050. To reach such a lofty goal, Ontario has identified a number of climate-conscious policy priorities, including:

  1. promoting the uptake of zero emission and plug-in hybrid vehicles;
  2. supporting the use of natural gas and low-carbon fuels in goods movement;
  3. supporting the uptake of net zero energy buildings (i.e., buildings that produce at least as much energy as they consume each year); and
  4. creating new energy retrofit incentives targeted to industrial, commercial and consumer applications.

What Ontario's Climate Change Strategy Means for the Province's Renewable Energy Sector

Given that the Wynne government is empowered by a majority mandate that will continue into 2018, these policy priorities should remain securely in place for at least the next two years. Moreover, Ontario's renewable energy sector is well-positioned to assume a leadership role in helping shape these priorities and in helping the government achieve its emission-reduction targets.

The province will be looking to leverage all opportunities to combat climate change and achieve its ambitious emission-reduction targets as it fills in the blanks on its five-year climate change action plan. At this early stage, it will be critical for the renewable energy sector to maintain a strong, unified voice and to continue to work closely with the province in the year ahead to help turn Ontario's Climate Change Strategy into action. As Ontario has already squeezed most of the carbon out of its electricity sector, the Province will need to focus on squeezing carbon efficiencies out of the transportation sector and the built infrastructure sector. This means that where renewables meet transportation (rail, EV's, storage) and where renewables meet build environs (net zero buildings, bpv) should become key areas of focus for the industry. 

All in all, we expect 2016 to be a pivotal year in the Canadian renewable energy sector. As the nature of the opportunity in Alberta and Saskatchewan evolves, as Ontario renewables sector manufacturing firms continue working to penetrate international markets, as the role which Canada's federal climate change policies will actually play in creating opportunities for the sector is clarified, and as the technological revolution occurring in energy storage, grid and 'grid-edge' technologies continues, Canada's renewable energy sector will see continued growth — but growth accompanied by rapid and sweeping change.  

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Events from this Firm
8 Nov 2016, Seminar, Ottawa, Canada

The prospect of an internal investigation raises many thorny issues. This presentation will canvass some of the potential triggering events, and discuss how to structure an investigation, retain forensic assistance and manage the inevitable ethical issues that will arise.

22 Nov 2016, Seminar, Ottawa, Canada

From the boardroom to the shop floor, effective organizations recognize the value of having a diverse workplace. This presentation will explore effective strategies to promote diversity, defeat bias and encourage a broader community outlook.

7 Dec 2016, Seminar, Ottawa, Canada

Staying local but going global presents its challenges. Gowling WLG lawyers offer an international roundtable on doing business in the U.K., France, Germany, China and Russia. This three-hour session will videoconference in lawyers from around the world to discuss business and intellectual property hurdles.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.