Published On: May 2, 2024

Unceded Anishinaabe Algonquin Territories [OTTAWA], May 2, 2024:

Today’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report shows that government climate policies are succeeding in some sectors, but that unregulated pollution from oil and gas means Canada’s emissions continue to rise. Yet newly released polling demonstrates that Canadians want the industry regulated, and quickly.

The poll, conducted by Leger for Climate Action Network Canada in April, shows that 70% of Canadians say the federal government should stop letting companies delay pollution reduction policies and actions, and 66% want Ottawa “to move quickly” to put in place a policy to reduce oil and gas emissions. More polling highlights can be found below.

According to today’s report from Environment and Climate Change Canada, the oil and gas sector accounted for 31% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2022 – more than the buildings, heavy industry, and electricity sectors combined. The fossil fuel industry’s emissions have risen by 22 megatonnes since 2005; meanwhile, the electricity sector has cut 70 megatonnes, or more than halved its emissions. Despite oil and gas companies’ net-zero promises, and historically high profits since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, analyses show they are not making significant new investments in cutting emissions.

“The electricity sector, small businesses and heavy industry are working to lower their emissions. Families are doing their best to make climate-friendly choices – it’s only fair to hold the country’s highest-emitting companies accountable for reducing their pollution,” said Alex Cool-Fergus, National Policy Manager at Climate Action Network Canada.

“Last year’s wildfire season was devastating, and this year’s is already expected to be worse. Emissions aren’t just about abstract numbers – they’re about the heat domes in our cities, the smoke in our children’s lungs, the cost to repair our homes after flooding. Canadians have had enough with delays. They want the country’s most-polluting industry to be held to account.”

The federal government has not yet released draft regulations for the long-promised emissions cap on the oil and gas sector, which would be one of the most effective measures to lower Canada’s emissions. Despite lobbying from fossil fuel companies and opposition from certain provincial governments, the Canadian public continues to support a cap on emissions from oil and gas.

However, the Leger poll shows that multiple delays on the emissions cap have sowed public doubt about the federal government’s ability to achieve one of its key climate promises: only two in five Canadians (39%) say the government is serious about regulating and limiting pollution from oil and gas companies. The federal government must fast-track this essential regulation to ensure fairness across economic sectors and demonstrate its leadership in the race to reduce emissions.

Key highlights from the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report:

  • Emissions rose slightly from 2021 levels to 2022, but remain significantly below pre-pandemic levels – a sign that essential climate policies such as methane regulations are starting to take effect, and that much more is needed.
  • Canada is the fourth-largest fossil fuel producer in the world. Eighty percent of our emissions can be attributed to energy production and use, which, according to today’s report, makes us the 11th-biggest total greenhouse gas emitter worldwide.
  • The biggest increase in emissions was in the transportation sector (up six megatonnes since 2021). This increase is attributed to economic bounce-back following the COVID-19 pandemic. To truly tackle transportation emissions, all levels of government must look beyond individual electric vehicle incentives and consider transformative policies to establish convenient, affordable active and public transportation options.
  • Land Use, Land Change, and Forestry (LULUCF) – which is not counted as an economic sector, but as a separate number – is normally a carbon sink, absorbing more emissions than it releases. In 2022, because of drought, Canada’s forests were a net source of emissions instead. This unfortunate reversal demonstrates the link between climate adaptation and mitigation, highlighting the need for investments in the protection and restoration of nature that simultaneously reduce drought and emissions. 
  • Methane emissions have dropped quickly, in large part due to strong alignment between methane regulations implemented by the federal and provincial governments. This demonstrates the impact that regulations can have on overall emissions, without decreasing economic outputs – and of federal-provincial cooperation on climate action.
  • The emissions intensity (calculated by GHGs per GDP Index) of the Canadian economy has continued to decline. This is further evidence that it is possible to increase economic prosperity while decreasing emissions. Given the dangerous increase in climate impacts and the economic and social costs of climate change-induced weather events, reducing greenhouse gasses remains the most cost-effective way to adapt to climate change.

Key highlights from the Leger poll:

  • Quebecers (76%), Ontarians (72%), and British Columbians (70%) are most likely to agree that Canada should stop letting companies delay emissions reduction policies – but majority support is found in every region surveyed, including 55% in Alberta.
  • These findings show that regardless of confusion around carbon pricing, public support for policies to reign in emissions from Canada’s biggest polluters remains steady.
  • Support is highest among Liberal (86%), NDP (86%), and Bloc Québecois (94%) voters. Among these voters, similar numbers agree that Canada should move quickly to put in place an oil and gas emissions policy to reduce pollution.
  • Nearly three in five Canadians (58%) say Canada should move quickly to put in place the oil and gas emissions policy regardless of concerns presented by the oil and gas companies. Support rises sharply among Liberal (78%), NDP (68%), and Bloc Québecois (90%) voters.
  • Only 30% think it’s fair for companies to be allowed to “pay to pollute” through offset credits, which compensate for the industry’s failure to reduce its own pollution.

View the full poll findings and methodology.


Canada’s farthest-reaching network of organizations working on climate and energy issues, Climate Action Network – Réseau action climat (CAN-Rac) Canada is a coalition of 150 organizations operating from coast to coast to coast. Our membership brings environmental groups together with trade unions, First Nations, social justice, development, health and youth organizations, faith groups and local, grassroots initiatives.

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Vicky Coo, Communications Manager