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

Last Updated May 15, 2020 at 5:40 pm PDT

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson speaks via video link during a press conference on Parliament Hill during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Thursday, May 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says plans to beef up Canada's climate action plan will likely be delayed

Banning some single-use plastics will also probably have to wait too during the pandemic

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.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 15, 2020.

The Canadian Press