Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Canadian Agriculture: Policies and Reduction Measures


  • Ymène Fouli
  • Margot Hurlbert
  • Roland Kröbel



Despite numerous national and international climate conferences, meetings
and workshops leading to various greenhouse gas (GHG) emission targets and agreements since the 1970s, total GHG emissions in Canada continue to increase. They reached 729 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2 eq) in 2018, with the Canadian agricultural sector contributing approximately 10 per cent of total GHGs emitted. Different regions of the country contribute different levels, face different challenges and have different capacities to address their GHG emissions.

Designing climate guidelines, programs, policies and adopting best management practices (BMPs) that promote relevant local and regional adaptation and mitigation efforts is important. Mechanisms such as setting a carbon price, cap- and-trade systems and tax-based policies contribute to decreased GHG emissions. GHG emissions in Canada are regulated at the federal level via a national carbon pricing policy and provinces have set limitations on GHG emissions via pricing or taxation. Agriculture has the potential to mitigate GHG emissions by applying BMPs that reduce emissions and increase carbon storage in soils. Meanwhile, the pressure is increasing on the agricultural sector to increase production, both for local commodities and those destined for export, to feed a growing population.

This paper explores agricultural policies and measures that encourage farmers and producers across Canada to reduce their GHG emissions. Specifically, national and provincial measures and implications are presented and compared to international measures and outcomes. Finally, recommendations are made for future climate policy research and adoption.






Briefing Papers