Ottawa eases carbon tax load for big emitters

Liberals plan to soften carbon tax plan following competitiveness concernsMore

Liberals plan to soften carbon tax plan following competitiveness concernsMore

The government says other sectors may see adjustments to their greenhouse gas output measures, depending on further review of the impact of carbon pricing on their domestic and worldwide competitiveness, with revised draft standards expected by fall.

"Our two provinces are united in the belief that a federal carbon tax is an ineffective policy that will not significantly reduce emissions and will instead make life unaffordable for families, and that it is unconstitutional for the federal government to impose a carbon tax on certain provinces based on their evaluation of provincial climate change policies", the statement read.

"The federal government would do well to go back to the Vancouver declaration where all first ministers signed on behalf of their provinces and territories to work collaboratively with different provincial plans to achieve our Paris commitments, not this made in Ottawa climate tax", he said.

Premier Doug Ford has vowed to scrap Ontario's cap-and-trade system and has taken steps to end the program since taking office last month.

Catherine McKenna sat down with Ontario Environment Minister Rod Phillips on July 18, the first time since the Progressive Conservatives won a majority government in the spring provincial election. While Mr. Ford has said he is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the Premier and his environment minister have ruled out any use of taxes to do so.

The system would have companies whose emissions place them below the cap earn credits they could trade with companies that come in above it. Companies above the cap can innovate to reduce their emissions, buy credits to offset their emissions, pay the carbon price on emissions over the cap, or some combination of the three.

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Speaking at Queen's Park, Mr. Phillips said that a carbon tax was only a "cash grab".

"This is a sensible decision for both the environment and the economy", said Elgie.

Most firms that produce 50 megatons of carbon dioxide or similar levels of pollution a year won't face any penalties until their emissions reach 80 per cent of the average within their specific industry.

Stewart Elgie, director of the University of Ottawa's Institute of the Environment, said the move to ease carbon taxes is necessary to give incentive for businesses to stay in Canada while they develop solutions to lower their carbon footprint.

The government released a regulatory framework for carbon emissions in January, which was to take effect in 2019. Companies that stand to benefit, such as producers of steel, fertilizer, and cement, had no comment. "We are encouraged that the government is consulting with us".

The change only reduced the amount that heavy emitters or large corporations have to pay on emissions, but did nothing for Canadian households, said Moe.

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