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

RV lifestyle comes to the Okanagan

BC Interior RV Show returns to Penticton for the eighth year

‘Cowardly acts’ towards homeless continue in Osoyoos

RCMP confirm they are investigating two incidents of assault on a homeless person

Funding brings sigh or relief for Penticton Search and Rescue

Province announces a funding injection for operations, equipment and training

Turning an Okanagan hospital’s medical waste into art

Safe recycled waste materials are being used by local artists to create art

Total hogwash: Mr. Banks gives cars a piggy polish

Mr. Banks, who lives on the Critteraid farm in the Okanagan, was offering the service on the weekend

VIDEO: The ‘most cosmopolitan’ of butterflies could migrate to B.C.

The painted lady butterfly will likely arrive this summer from Southern California

West Kelowna acquires land for Rose Valley Water Treatment Plant

The city has acquired 24 acres on Bartley Road

Sentencing begins for indecent caller

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

B.C. NDP moves to provide tax credits, tax cut for LNG Canada

Provincial sales tax break of $596 million repayable after construction

COLUMN: Smart phone too powerful a tool to yank from students’ hands

Rather than ban them from schools, let’s teach kids to harness their phone’s power and use it properly

Most Read