Many environment groups and opposition parties praised the legislation as a good first step but nearly all are dismayed the government did not set an interim five-year target for 2025.
Bill C-12 also orders the finance minister to prepare a report outlining what the public service has done to "manage its financial risks and opportunities related to climate change", and it orders the federal environment commissioner to report on the government's climate measures.
Now he's promised a new 2030 target "exceeding" that. The environment minister would simply have to report the failure to Parliament. The BBC also notes out that the bill does not provide any kind of enforcement mechanism, or attach any additional spending to achieve its goals.
Canada has set multiple goals for curbing emissions over the last three decades and has never met a single one of them.
Wilkinson promises that the new plan will cut more emissions by 2030 than Canada promised in the Paris accord.
That means the first assessment report on the 2030 targets could be 12 years away.
"The climate accountability legislation introduced today unfortunately has major deficiencies that will, at best, hold future federal governments accountable for Canada's climate commitments", he said in a written statement. But it too said the lack of a 2025 target was a concern.
"Given that Canada has missed every climate target in the past 20 years, strong accountability legislation is a necessary tool for breaking this pattern and tackling the climate emergency head-on".
Environmental groups have been calling for legally-binding emissions targets, warning that higher global temperatures could irreversibly damage the planet.
"(Climate) should not be a partisan issue", said Trudeau, repeating his insistence that Canada would meet or exceed its 2030 goals for cutting emissions.
In the end, "it will be up to Canadians to choose governments that are serious about the fight against climate change", said Trudeau, who has made the environment a priority since taking office. By further supporting the direction that businesses have already been setting, the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act will do exactly that.
To do that, Trudeau would have to shut down the equivalent of the annual emissions from Canada's transportation sector, or its oil and gas sector, in 10 years, and he'd still come up short. She said the bill promises to set targets but has nothing to actually meet them and no real teeth.
"There is a difference between legislating a target and legislating climate accountability", said Abreu.