The Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, has announced the creation of the NAFTA Advisory Council on the Environment. A modernized North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) presents an opportunity to strengthen environmental protections. When NAFTA came into effect in 1994, it was the first free-trade agreement to link the environment and trade through a historic side chapter on environmental cooperation between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. In the more-than-three decades since, the close cooperation between these countries has led to positive environmental action across North America while their economies have grown and have become more integrated. During these decades, the world has come to recognize that protecting the environment, addressing climate change, and supporting economic growth go hand in hand.
The ten-member council brings together prominent Canadians from politics, law, and Indigenous groups. This expert council includes former Quebec premier, Pierre-Marc Johnson; former British Columbia premier, Gordon Campbell; former Saskatchewan cabinet minister, Janice MacKinnon; and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami President, Natan Obed. The council will advise the Minister as Canada looks to strengthen environmental protections in a modernized NAFTA.