Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna speaks during the Canada 2020 Conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang)

Feds ease carbon tax thresholds

Alberta, B.C., Manitoba and Quebec have carbon pricing plans expected to meet requirements for 2019

Bowing to concerns about international competitiveness, the Trudeau government is scaling back carbon pricing requirements for some of the country’s heaviest energy users, and signalling that more easing could come before the plan takes effect in 2019.

Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued new requirements that will increase the emissions threshold at which polluters will have to pay a carbon price.

The system will only affect industries in provinces which don’t have their own federally-approved carbon pricing system. All provinces and territories have to submit their carbon pricing plans by September, and if they don’t meet federal requirements, consumers and industries in those provinces will be subject to part or all of the federal system.

That includes a minimum carbon price of $20 per tonne of emissions for most fuels such as gasoline, diesel, propane and natural gas. Larger industrial emitters whose annual emissions exceed 50,000 tonnes will be exempted from paying the carbon price on their fuel inputs, and instead pay it on what they emit over a certain amount.

In January, the federal government suggested that threshold would be set at 70 per cent of the average emissions intensity for their industry. The carbon price would apply to any emissions exceeding the threshold, and companies that emit below the threshold will receive credits from the government they can trade to companies that exceed the limit, to create a market incentive for companies to find a way to reduce their greenhouse gas footprint.

Emissions intensity is the amount of greenhouse gases produced per unit of production.

READ MORE: Ontario, Saskatchewan premiers unite to oppose federal carbon plan

After a two-phase review that looked at historic emissions and trade exposure for several industries, the federal government has decided to raise that threshold.

Cement, iron, lime and nitrogen fertilizer producers will have their threshold raised from 70 per cent to 90 per cent. The other affected industries, such as mining, potash, pulp and paper, and oil refineries, will have the threshold increased from 70 per cent to 80 per cent.

The government is accepting comments from industry on the plan with an aim to finalizing the threshold system this fall, for implementation in 2019.

The revisions come as big industries face competitive threats from south of the border in the form of corporate tax cuts and protectionist tariffs, and as Ottawa prepares to replace Ontario’s cap-and-trade system with its own carbon levy.

The new Progressive Conservative government in Ontario has eliminated the province’s cap-and-trade system and is joining Saskatchewan in a court case challenging the federal government’s jurisdiction to impose a carbon price on provinces.

Alberta, B.C., Manitoba and Quebec all have carbon pricing plans that are expected to meet federal requirements for 2019, meaning the federal system will not be imposed there. Nova Scotia has a cap and trade system that will kick in next year that also could meet federal requirements.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Donation drop off tonight for B.C. wildfire victims

The Postmen have set up a three-day depot at the Moose Hall in Prince Rupert for disaster relief

Rice on emergency preparedness in wildfire season

Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness talks about B.C.’s state of emergency

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Ice Demons returning to CIHL for 2018-2019 season

Central Interior Hockey League will return with five teams after shrinking last season

Trial set for Prince Rupert RCMP who struck pedestrian in crosswalk

Cpl. Jeff Easingwood is facing charges for driving without due care while on duty

Interim GoFundMe payments approved in Humboldt Broncos crash

$50,000 to be given to each of the 13 survivors and each family of the 16 people who died

The Northern View 2018 Readers Choice

Vote online or at the Prince Rupert office before noon on Sept. 7

Altidore nets 3 as Toronto drubs Whitecaps 5-2

Vancouver falls 7-4 on aggregate in Canadian Championship final

Ottawa intervenes to get B.C. ball player, 13, to Little League World Series

Before immigration issue was resolved, Dio Gama was out practicing the game he loves Wednesday

Pet goldfish invades small B.C. lake

Pinecrest Lake is located between Whistler and Squamish

Chinese medicine practitioner in B.C. facing historical sex assault charges

71-year old Kit Wong practiced acupuncture from his home during the time of the assaults

Quebec sets aside $900 million for companies hurt by U.S. tariffs

Premier Philippe Couillard says his government will make $863 million available over five years

B.C. woman set for trial in Alberta as animal cruelty investigation continues in home province

Karin Adams was discovered with eight dogs in Alberta weeks after having 16 dogs seized in Quesnel

Most Read