At its May meeting, the Engineers Canada Board approved a new National Position Statement addressing the role of engineers in helping Canada achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. 

The Government of Canada has committed to transition the Canadian economy and achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 through the federal Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act. This ambitious goal has the potential to effectively reduce Canada’s impact on global warming and solidify Canada’s position as a global leader in low-emission technologies and practices across all economic sectors. The government’s plan uses a multi-faceted approach that commits all sectors of the Canadian economy to take climate change seriously and to do their part to reduce the nation’s carbon emissions dramatically in less than 30 years.

From designing energy-efficient buildings and infrastructure, to improving the delivery systems of clean and renewable energy technologies, to implementing systems that reduce emissions, to researching and developing new technologies that will help reduce GHG emissions by sequestering carbon from the atmosphere, engineers have a crucial role to play in helping the federal government achieve these net-zero targets. Engineers are essential in providing the technical expertise and solutions necessary to achieve the federal government’s net-zero targets, as well as in identifying and addressing the barriers to implementation and in the design and operation of the infrastructure needed to support the transition.

As such, the engineering profession’s collaboration with the federal government is essential to realizing Canada’s net-zero emissions plan while maintaining a prosperous and resilient Canadian society. The National Position Statement makes recommendations to the federal government for meeting net-zero targets through a combination of measures that are supported by the work of engineers, including:

  • Evaluating and proposing solutions to address Canada’s future energy requirements while balancing cost-effectiveness, reliability, and GHG reduction. This entails dramatically increasing renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, and nuclear, thereby decreasing dependence on fossil fuels.
  • Increasing the use of electricity and hydrogen in the transmission and end use of energy as well as associated energy storage technologies such as battery technology.
  • Improving energy efficiency in domestic, commercial, and industrial sectors, including buildings, transportation, and industry to reduce energy consumption and emissions.
  • Investing in the development and deployment of new technologies, such as carbon capture and storage, to reduce emissions from industrial processes and power generation.

The National Position Statement also calls on the federal government to recognize that engineers possess the skills and knowledge to respond and advise the federal government on current and future challenges and opportunities. The federal government should therefore engage professional engineers when developing or amending legislation and regulations related to engineering work on issues that affect Canada’s net-zero future, including strengthening Canada’s innovative output, protecting structural integrity of physical infrastructure, protecting the natural environment, and finding solutions across economic sectors for a net-zero carbon economy.  

Engineers Canada’s National Position Statements are consensus positions of the provincial and territorial engineering regulators on key issues that relate to the public interest. These statements serve not only to inform members of the engineering profession about key issues but are also meant to facilitate discussion with government and influence public policy. 

Read the full National Position Statement on Engineers Canada’s website.