Pandemic to push back new climate targets, plastics ban, Wilkinson says


OTTAWA — Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says plans to beef up Canada’s national climate action plan and ban some single-use plastics will likely be delayed because of COVID-19.

Wilkinson tells The Canadian Press the government remains firmly committed to its environmental agenda, which was a key part of its 2019 re-election campaign.

In December, Wilkinson told the world Canada would update its emissions targets by the fall of 2020, as is required by the Paris Agreement on climate change.

In January, Wilkinson was firm that Canada had the evidence it needed to bring in a ban on some single-use plastics in 2021.

But that was all before the COVID-19 pandemic threw a significant wrench into those plans.

Wilkinson says the Liberals still plan to achieve both those goals, but won’t commit to the timing because the pandemic is unpredictable and Ottawa needs to focus on responding to the current crisis.