Province’s challenge to be heard at Ontario’s Court of Appeal
Ontario’s case challenging the constitutionality of the federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act is being heard by the Court of Appeal from April 15 to 18, 2019. Ontario is arguing that the provinces, not the federal government, have the primary responsibility to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and that the charges the act seeks to impose are in fact unconstitutional disguised taxation.
“Over the past few weeks, we have demonstrated clearly the very real cost of the federal government’s carbon tax on the people, institutions and services of our province,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “Our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan will lower emissions and put us on a path to meet our province’s share of the federal government’s targets, serving as proof that a carbon tax isn’t the only way to fight climate change. It proves a carbon tax is unnecessary, which is why we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to challenge this tax on the people of Ontario.”
Ontario is part of a coalition of provinces pledged to fight the federal government’s unconstitutional carbon tax. Saskatchewan and New Brunswick have joined Ontario’s challenge, with both provinces sharing our position that the federal law is unconstitutional.
“The federal government’s carbon tax is forcing Ontarians to pay more to heat their homes, drive to work and buy groceries. It’s simply not fair to hardworking individuals, families and small businesses,” said Attorney General Caroline Mulroney. “That’s why today, lawyers from my ministry are in court to argue that the federal government has enacted an unconstitutional, disguised tax. We are keeping our promise to fight for Ontarians.”
The Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan considers our province’s specific priorities, challenges and opportunities, and commits to reducing our emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, a target that aligns with the federal government’s Paris commitments, without imposing a carbon tax on the people of our province. Through the efforts of individuals and industry, Ontario is already most of the way to this target, with the province’s emissions down 22 per cent since 2005.
- Starting January 1, 2019, the federal government’s output-based pricing system for large emitters came into force.
- The federal carbon tax on fuels came into effect on April 1, 2019. It increases the price of gasoline in Ontario by 4.4 cents per litre. This will rise to 6.6 cents in 2020, 8.8 cents in 2021, and 11.1 cents per litre in April 2022.
- The federal carbon tax will cost a typical household $648 a year by 2022.
- The federal government’s carbon tax will impact: hospitals by increasing annual heating costs by $10.9 million in 2019, soaring to $27.2 million in 2022; nursing and seniors’ care homes by $6.7 million in 2019, rising to $16.7 million in 2022; colleges and universities by increasing their upfront annual heating costs by approximately $9.5 million in 2019, soaring to $23.9 million in 2022.
- Ontario has proposed an emissions performance standard for large emitters that recognizes the unique circumstances of Ontario’s economy and its manufacturing sector. This approach would reduce emissions from industry, helping Ontario achieve its proposed emissions reduction target without imposing a carbon tax.