Federal carbon pricing plan to be imposed on Alberta starting in January

Jun 13 2019, 10:10 pm

Just two weeks after the Government of Alberta officially enacted Bil 1, ‘An Act to Repeal the Carbon Tax,’ the federal government has announced that the province will fall under federal carbon pricing starting January 1.

The bill came into force at 12:01 am on May 30, eliminating the per-tonne charge that carbon-emitting corporations and businesses (including farmers) in Alberta had been paying since the system came into effect in 2017.

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A May 22 release from the Government of Alberta stated that eliminating this charge would save up to $1,150 a year for Albertan families, as consumers had been paying the charge indirectly due to businesses and corporations increasing the price on gas and other goods and services as a result.

“Promise made, promise kept. We campaigned on scrapping the job-killing carbon tax and Albertans responded loud and clear,” said Premier Jason Kenney, in the release.

“We’re keeping our commitment to eliminate this tax grab to create jobs and put more money back into the pockets of hard-working Albertans.”

When federal carbon pricing comes into effect on January 1, 2020, Alberta will shift over from the Alberta-specific model (which was at $30 per tonne with no plans of an increase) to the federal model, which is expected to increase from its current $20 per tonne to $50 per tonne by 2022.

Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna noted that the forced change would move Alberta away from a model that had been created specifically for the province.

“It’s unfortunate, because Alberta had a made-in-Alberta plan to put a price on pollution,” she said in the June 13 press conference.

“We clearly need Alberta to be part of our national climate plan as Alberta has the highest emissions in the country.”

McKenna also noted that 100% of the revenues received through the per-tonne charges would be given back to the province, with 90% going towards rebates for families and 10% going towards making schools, hospitals, businesses, municipalities, and Indigenous peoples more energy-efficient.

When Kenney scrapped the Alberta-based system, he joined Ontario Premier Doug Ford in opposition to the pollution pricing — a partnership noted by McKenna in her statement.

“It’s unfortunate that we’re in this situation, with another conservative premier politician who doesn’t see to understand that pricing pollution has proven that provinces that have had a price on pollution have been the fasted growing in the country, and that pricing pollution is the most efficient way to reduce emissions and tackle climate change,” she said.

“We see the impacts of climate change through extreme weather, including in Alberta, where there are forest fires that are burning earlier than ever before, that are burning stronger, and that are having serious impacts on the lives of Albertans as well as their economy.

“We need to take action on climate change, and it would be much better for all Canadians if we were all able to do it together.”

The start date of  January 1 gives Alberta seven months without carbon pricing.