Canadian Organic Growers’ Statement on the New Federal Net-Zero Emissions Plan

On Thursday, November 19th, Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson tabled new legislation that would force current and future federal governments to set binding climate targets to get Canada to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The legislation fulfills an election promise that the Liberals made to aggressively cut GHG emissions by 2030 and to get Canada to net-zero emissions by 2050. If this bill is passed, it would require the federal government to set five-year interim emissions reduction targets that align with Canada’s goals.

We are excited to hear the Liberal government’s proposed initiative to plant 2 billion trees. We feel it is a good start, however, agriculture has to be part of the Federal Net-Zero Emissions Plan.

Regenerative organic agriculture as part of Canada’s future

Canadian Organic Growers wants to make the Federal government aware that one of the most powerful tools to reduce atmospheric carbon and reaching “net-zero” emissions doesn’t only involve planting trees or new technology. It also lies in regenerating the soil in which we grow food and fibre.

Canada’s agriculture sector is responsible for 12% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. The bulk of these emissions originate from high-input, high-emissions farming practices. These farming practices rely heavily on fossil fuels, fertilizers, pesticides, plastics, and other inputs. For Canada to reach the targets set out in the Federal Net-Zero Emissions Plan by 2050, we need to radically and intentionally transform the food and farming sectors.

We need to invest in the Canadians farmers that are using, or transitioning to, regenerative organic agriculture practices. These practices not only sequester carbon, but also improve the water cycle, increase soil and crop resilience to erosion, flooding and drought, restore microbial, plant and animal biodiversity, and enhance nutritional quality of crops. We need to provide these farmers with the support, and incentive, to help Canada meet this ambitious target.

“Farmers are on the front-lines of the climate crisis and are uniquely positioned to change the course of climate change in our country. We need more organic farmers in all provinces and territories, and we need to farm in ways that regenerate and protect the soil that feeds Canadians now, and for years to come.
– Gillian Flies, Canadian Organic Growers Board President.