Ministry of Environment

Legislation & Regulations

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 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 will 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 (enacted in December 2008) and the Carbon Neutral Government Regulation (enacted in December 2008).

BC LAWS Statute >>
News Release >>

Carbon Neutral Government Regulation

Enacted December 2008

Learn more about the Carbon Neutral Government program

Emission Offsets Regulation

Enacted December 2008

The Emission Offsets Regulation came into effect on December 9, 2008. An amendment to the original Emission Offsets Regulation was brought into force on December 6, 2010.

Read More >>

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Carbon Tax Act

Passed 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 will be returned to taxpayers through reductions in other B.C. taxes, and there will be built-in protection for lower-income British Columbians.

BC Laws STATUTE >>
News Release >>
Ministry of Finance page >>

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Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Cap and Trade) Act

Passed in May 2008

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Cap and Trade) Act authorizes 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 provides 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. The details of the system are being developed in cooperation with partner jurisdictions in the Western Climate Initiative, within which B.C. has taken a leadership role. Parts of the Act were brought into force when the Reporting Regulation was enacted. The remaining portions of the Act will be brought into force by regulation as the relevant regulations are developed. Read More >>


BC LAWS Statute >>
News Release >>

Reporting Regulation

Enacted in November 2009

The Reporting Regulation ensures that large-emitter industrial facilities report their GHG pollution each year to the Province, which is then posted publically.

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Offsets Regulation

Read More >>

Emissions Trading Regulation

Read More >>

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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. (Links go to BC LAWS Statutes).

News Release >>

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

Passed in April 2008

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. It will thereby decrease the amount of carbon in transportation fuels, and allow B.C. to meet its commitment to adopt a low-carbon fuel standard similar to that of California. The Act provided authority for the Renewable and Low Carbon Fuel Requirements Regulation (enacted in December 2009).

BC LAWS Statute >>
News Release >>

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 curtailed 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.

BC LAWS Statute >>
News Release >>
Backgrounder >>

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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. 

News Release >>
Backgrounder >>
Ministry of Community page >>

Climate Action Charter - 2007 - Links to the Charter: Ministry Link - UBCM CivicWeb Link - Toolkit Site Link

Additionally, most B.C. local governments are signatories to the BC Climate Action Charter - commiting their communities to voluntary requirements:
- Acheive 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.

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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.

News Release >>