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

Elections 2018: Meet your Grand Forks Council Candidates

The biographies of the 13 candidates for City of Grand Forks council

PLACE NAMES: Kootenay Landing to Reffek

Boundary railway siding was named after a BC Copper Company manager – but spelled backward

Meeting called on border change

Local residents who feel the impact of the change in border are encouraged to attend this meeting.

Families participate in breastfeeding challenge

The 16th annual Grand Forks Breastfeeding Challenge was held Saturday, Sept. 29.

Harvest fun with Success by 6

The annual Harvest Fest took place on the Boundary Museum grounds.

Secret supper clubs test appetite for cannabis-infused food ahead of legalization

Chefs are eagerly awaiting pot edibles to become legal in Canada

Joint inspection planned for missing journalist at Saudi Consulate

Turkish officials have said they fear a Saudi hit team killed and dismembered Washington Potst reporter Jamal Khashoggi

Sears files for bankruptcy amid plunging sales, massive debt

The company started as a mail order catalogue in the 1880s

BREAKING: Prince Harry and Meghan expecting their 1st child in spring

The announcement of the pregnancy confirms weeks of speculation from royal watchers

Enbridge to begin building road to access pipeline explosion site in B.C.

An explosion Tuesday knocked out a 91-centimetre line

East Kootenay waterway under the microscope

Wildsight, Sierra Club BC, Headwaters Montana and U.S. university launch water sampling program

Andrew Scheer on revamped NAFTA deal: ‘I would have signed a better one’

Conservative leader says he wouldn’t have signed USMCA

Matheson will have NHL hearing after Canucks rookie Pettersson hit

The 19-year-old Swedish centre appeared woozy after the hit

GUEST COLUMN: A better way to manage B.C.’s public construction

Claire Trevena responds to Andrew Wilkinson on NDP union policy

Most Read