CCME’s core operating principles are:
- Ministerial direction: The organization functions under the direction of Ministers.
- Issues of concern to CCME members: The agenda is made up of issues that are Canada-wide, international and intergovernmental in nature, and of interest to a significant portion of CCME member governments/regions.
- Results-based: CCME focuses on achieving environmental results through cooperative action.
- Consensus decision-making: The organization employs consensus decision-making.
- Accountability: Each Minister remains responsible to act and to be held accountable within his or her jurisdiction. The responsibility for implementing any decision of CCME rests with elected governments.
- Commitment to action: governments will work cooperatively and with a commitment to take action within their areas of jurisdiction on agreed-upon approaches to environmental matters.
- Openness and transparency: CCME will provide information to the public in a timely fashion and undertake appropriate consultations, providing for the meaningful participation in jurisdictions of stakeholders and Aboriginal peoples. Each Minister shall be responsible for public consultation within his or her own jurisdiction.
- Partnerships: CCME will use a partnership approach among jurisdictions, while recognizing their individual competence and diverse experience, to maximize efficiency and effectiveness.
- Sustainable Development: CCME decision-making and jurisdictional action plans will take into account environmental, economic and social considerations.
- Regular review and assessment. CCME will regularly review the results and effectiveness of its work to ensure that it continues to meet Ministers' needs and priorities.