Toronto, Ont. – We are extremely disappointed by the federal government’s decision today to accept Ontario’s proposed carbon pricing system for industry. By pricing a smaller share of industrial carbon emissions, Ontario’s proposed system is clearly weaker than the federal system currently in place, and should not have been accepted.

Ontario’s system lets industrial polluters off the hook for more of their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than the federal government’s system and should have never been granted equivalency. According to Ontario’s Auditor General, Ontario’s industrial carbon price will reduce only one mega tonne of GHG emissions per year. Meanwhile, Ontario is currently facing a more than 20 mega tonne annual gap to meet its 2030 climate targets.

The Made-In-Ontario Environment Plan is hollow. The provincial government has done practically nothing to reduce GHG emissions since coming to power two years ago. Instead, the government has systematically destroyed Ontario’s programs to reduce carbon pollution. Implementing a weaker carbon pricing system for industry is another step backwards in fighting climate change.

After illegally cancelling cap-and-trade, Ontario missed the initial deadline set by the federal government to present an alternative industrial pricing system, choosing instead to take the federal government to court. Tomorrow, Ontario will once again be arguing against pricing carbon at the Supreme Court, though courts in Ontario and Saskatchewan have both ruled the federal pricing system constitutional.

The federal government stated last week that it needs to act more aggressively to reduce GHG emissions and reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Today’s approval of a weaker pricing system for industrial polluters in Ontario will do the opposite. This underscores the need for the federal government to improve its carbon pricing system so that the risks of undercutting climate action by regressive provinces like Ontario are eliminated. We are encouraged that today the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change has committed to seeking increases in the stringency of the criteria for the federal industrial carbon pricing benchmark when it is reviewed in 2022.

About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Allen Braude, Environmental Defence, abraude@environmentaldefence.ca