Ottawa, Ont. – Provinces will not get away with trying to cut corners on carbon pricing. That is the clear message sent today from the Canadian government to the provinces, in a letter laying out the principles of an effective and fair carbon pricing system across Canada. In particular, the federal government emphasized that provincial carbon pricing systems will need to be over and above their other climate policies, and match or beat the federal carbon price.
A province will not be able to rename a gas tax to call it a carbon tax, or claim that other policies will have the same climate benefit. Carbon pricing will have to be implemented in addition to other climate policies for Canada to achieve its commitments under the Paris Agreement. This means provinces that try to dodge their full responsibility, as New Brunswick and Saskatchewan have recently proposed, will need to strengthen their carbon pricing approach or face the federal backstop.
The federal legislation that will come early in 2018 must also ensure there is no further slippage on the Jan. 1, 2019 timeline for implementation, that the carbon price is applied broadly to all measurable emissions, that concessions to industry phase out quickly, and that rigorous annual reviews are undertaken to gauge progress and make course corrections.
Getting this right from the beginning will allow all provinces to do their fair share of carbon reductions and contribute to Canada meeting or exceeding its Paris climate commitments.
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