This is published under the terms of CC-BY.
Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is critically underregulated in Canada. We review the sources of methane emissions in Canada, policies in place, policy coverage, and mitigation options for each source. Three sectors account for 96 per cent of Canada's methane emissions: oil and gas, agriculture, and waste. The oil and gas sector is the largest contributor to national methane emissions, as well as the only sector with methane mitigation regulations and a methane reduction target. Agriculture is the largest source of unregulated and unpriced methane, mainly because livestock is the largest single source of methane emissions in Canada. In a best case scenario, direct regulatory coverage is approximately 58 per cent of methane emissions, with indirect regulatory coverage via offset markets accounting for 14 per cent. However, data gaps and policy exemptions and gaps make this measure of potential coverage an overestimate. Emissions measurement challenges hinder methane emissions management for all sectors. Due largely to these challenges, 28 per cent of Canada's methane emissions are unregulated and policy options are limited. Better methane management, relying on better measurement, is crucial to achieving Canada's 2030 and 2050 emissions reduction goals. Key short-term policy actions are improving and standardizing current emissions estimates, matching emissions to policy coverage, and identifying unregulated sources. Longer-term actions require further study of cost-effective regulatory options across all sources, to support stricter regulations or well-defined market-based approaches with measurable outcomes.