Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act

Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act

Cycling Nova Scotia is excited to see the province recognize the role of active transportation as a climate change mitigation tool.

The Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act and the Our Climate, Our Future, Nova Scotia’s Climate Change Plan for Clean Growth are two pieces of legislation that work towards Nova Scotia’s sustainability goals. This post goes over the contents of each piece of legislation in brief, details what this means for Cycling Nova Scotia, and outlines what you can do to advocate for active transportation. 


The Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act (EGCCRA) is based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). The SDGs were formed as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The Government of Canada and Provincial Governments are responsible for implementing actions to achieve the SDGs. The EGCCRA focuses on Nova Scotia’s climate goals. This legislation, which replaces the Sustainable Development Goals Act (SDGA), was passed into law on November 5, 2021. The EGCCRA describes the 28 current sustainability goals in Nova Scotia and is intended to guide the province in its response to the climate emergency. 

Goal 9 focuses on active transportation (AT) and AT infrastructure. It sets the goal that 65% of communities in Nova Scotia will have active transportation infrastructure and networks that are accessible for all ages and abilities by 2030. By creating infrastructure that supports AT, more people will be able to walk, roll, and cycle instead of drive.

The EGCCRA sets out the provincial goals but does not include how they will be achieved. To outline the specific actions that are needed to achieve these goals, a climate change plan was created.

Climate Change Plan

The Our Climate, Our Future, Nova Scotia’s Climate Change Plan for Clean Growth plan was released in 2022 and outlines how the provincial government will reach the EGCCRA goals. This plan has 66 action items listed between four main sections. The sections include: Responding to Climate Impacts, Reducing Our Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Seizing Opportunities for a Cleaner Sustainable Economy, and Reporting and Evaluating Processes. 

Cycling Nova Scotia was consulted in 2021 for the Climate Change Plan and we are pleased to say the Blue Route is included in the plan to create cleaner transportation options under Section 2 (Reducing Our Greenhouse Gas Emissions). Action 43 is to “Create more active transportation options in Nova Scotia by developing a provincial active transportation strategy and continuing to work on the Blue Route.” The Blue Route provincial cycling network works to connect Nova Scotia’s communities through designated cycling routes on secondary highways with paved shoulders, low traffic volume roads, hard surfaced trails, and city streets. Cycling Nova Scotia and Blue Route work with municipalities to connect communities by implementing AT infrastructure.

Core AT Networks Project 

By combining the EGCCRA goals and the Climate Change Plan, Blue Route is working to adopt Goal 9b. This is where the Core AT Networks Project comes in. The Core AT Networks Project works with communities along the Blue Route to develop local networks of safe cycling infrastructure that allow locals and visitors to get around by cycle. In essence, the Core AT Networks Project focuses specifically on creating plans to get AT infrastructure within communities and better connect them to the Blue Route.

Cycling Nova Scotia is thrilled to see the inclusion of active transportation in the Climate Change Plan. When we were consulted in 2021 for the Plan, we asked for five things. Now that Blue Route has been specifically named in the Plan, we hope our other requests will be supported. While improving infrastructure is important, we won’t see any climate benefits unless people are using the infrastructure. A goal outlining mode share targets would be more appropriate. Mode share refers to the percentage of people using a specific type of transportation. We hope that the Provincial Active Transportation Strategy will highlight the plan to achieve a mode share target of 10% of journeys made by active transportation. This is where you come in!  

What you can do

Community support is vital for making change. Use the Blue Route and trails around you and lower your transportation emissions. By using the built infrastructure, you can give valuable feedback to policymakers. Encourage the implementation of mode share goals. Another way to show support is to become a CNS member. Having a large number of members gives us more leverage as a stakeholder to advocate for better AT. 

Tell your MLA and Councillors that you value AT by emailing or calling them. Advocate for AT to be included in municipal, provincial, and federal budgets. Suggest becoming a Core AT Networks Project Partner. If you are a municipal representative, consider becoming a project partner. 


To conclude, we are excited to be included in Nova Scotia’s Climate Change Plan. We hope to see more goals relating to mode share implemented in the future. Support from community change-makers like you through membership and advocacy helps to move AT forward. 


If you have any questions regarding advocacy work, or if you have something we should know about, don’t hesitate to contact us 

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