Return to site

Clean50 award winners alarmed over Ontario's carbon tax decision

· Advocacy Stories

July 4, 2018 - The following members of Canada’s Clean50 are alarmed about the recent debate surrounding carbon pricing in Ontario, and the announced cancellation of the Cap-and-Trade program now in effect.

While the Clean50 understands that the new government wishes to deliver on a campaign promise, The Clean50 asks that they consider doing so in a more measured fashion that will not be so costly to Ontario taxpayers.
Ontario committed to the Cap and Trade program with California and Quebec until 2020. Reneging on that agreement will have significant consequences that will be economically and environmentally harmful to Ontarians, and damaging to Ontario’s reputation as a reliable business partner.
Ontario also signed on to the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change with 9 other provinces. By pulling out of our agreement with the other provinces and the federal government, we leave Canada significantly less likely to meet the commitments we made in Paris, and we also risk losing the $420 million the federal government gave Ontario to help us meet those commitments.
In addition, carbon pricing is now federally mandated and will shortly be paid by Ontarians regardless – So, we will still pay the tax at the pump, but if we don’t have an Ontario-based tax, the Federal Government will collect the tax and determine how the funds are spent! Is that really what we want?

The consequences of an abrupt withdrawal include:

  • The cost to Ontario taxpayers will be billions of dollars in both hard costs and the loss of projected investments. There’s significant risk of lawsuits from all the affected parties who paid nearly $3 billion into the program and may sue, as well as others who relied upon support from the program to make major investments. Plus the $420 million from the Federal Government. That’s an average of at least $468 per Ontario taxpayer! And likely a lot more.
  • Even more compelling, millions of dollars’ worth of carbon offset projects slated for development across Canada that were only viable as a result of Ontario’s cap and trade program will no longer occur – projects that would have absorbed or eliminated millions of tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions while creating thousands of jobs. 
  • There’s only a very short term savings at the pump now: The price of gas will be the same by 2019, and rise by a further seven cents per litre by 2020 – out of our control. 
  • Real or planned jobs will be lost – or moved to other jurisdictions, taking Ontario’s jobs with them. Larger clean project investments and research initiatives, supported through cap and trade auction revenue, will no longer materialize. Some regions directly hit include Brampton ($10.3 million), Durham ($40.6 million) Bowmanville ($11.3 million), Haldimand-Norfolk ($10.5 million) Hamilton ($21.0 million), Perth-Wellington ($15.5 million) St. Catherine’s ($46.8 million) and Thunder Bay ($10.4 million). 
  • Proceeds of the money raised through cap and trade were to be used to partially pay for, and incent greater investments, in energy-efficiency improvements to our homes and businesses. Those incentives are already providing countless Ontarians with significant monthly energy savings while supporting thousands of good-paying jobs, such as solar energy installers and roles with clean tech manufacturers. All of those benefits will be lost. 
  • With no incentives to reduce pollution, harmful levels of greenhouse gases will continue to be pumped into our air, further accelerating climate change and associated annual natural disaster losses. These emissions harm everyone who lives in Ontario. 
  • Increased carbon pollution increases health care costs: it means increased asthma and health impacts that result in higher health care system costs. 
  • Withdrawal will inevitably lead to lawsuits and refunds costing Ontario taxpayers billions of dollars in payments to injured parties and legal fees – costs that could be avoided by remaining in the California and Québec cap-and-trade partnership until 2020. It may also lead to trade repercussions with two of Ontario’s largest trading partners. 
  • Withdrawal reduces the confidence that businesses need to invest in Ontario: When Governments break contracts, businesses invest elsewhere. 

Before an abrupt withdrawal, Ontarians should consider the alternatives:

Our current partnership makes our province more livable, and encourages companies to expand in Ontario, rather than take their jobs and innovation to more enlightened provinces and U.S. states. It is the way the world is going – and ensures we remain competitive in the future. Increasingly, other jurisdictions from China and Europe to Mexico and New York – are moving forward with cap and trade and perceive Ontario as a leader and partner. Ontario must continue down this path – or look backwards and fall behind.
We urge Ontarians to reach out to their MPPs and ask them to support the existing carbon pricing model until a proper replacement can be implemented, and keep moving Ontario forward. We cannot afford to go back….
1. John Coyne, VP Legal and External Affairs, Unilever
2. Don Roberts, CEO Nawitka Capital
3. Mike Gerbis, CEO, GLOBE Series
4. Ted Ferguson, President Delphi
5. Frank Dottori, CEO, Tembec (ret'd)
6. Kurt Sorschak, CEO, Xebec
7. Dan Seto, COO, Circuit Meter
8. Bill Redelmeier, CEO, Southbrook Winery
9. Bruce Taylor, CEO, EnviroStewards
10. Juergen Puetter, CEO, Blue Fuel Energy
11. Tima Bansal, Professor, Ivey Business School
12. Audrey Mascarenhas, CEO, Questor Technology
13. Stephen Cheeseman, CEO, Chinook Power
14. Francisca Quinn, Managing Partner, Quinn & Partners
15. Tony Pringle, Quinn & Partners
16. Alex Mifflin, SK Films and
17. Tyler Mifflin, SK Films, (AKA the Water Brothers)
18. Rob Shirkey, ED, Our Horizon
19. Antony Marcil, past President & CEO, FSC Canada
20. Nicholas Parker, CEO, Global Acceleration Partners
21. Audrey Depault, ED, Climate Reality Project, Canada
22. Beth Savan, University of Toronto
23. Bruce Lourie, Ivey Foundation
24. Derek Satnik, VP, s2e Technologies
25. Joan Prowse, CEO, Cinefocus Canada
26. Milla Craig, CEO, Millani
27. Sarah Petrevan, Clean Energy Canada
28. Doug Webber
29. John Keating, Chairman, BluEarth Renewables
30. Andrew Hejnar
31. Celine Bak, CEO, Analytica Advisors
32. Blair Feltmate, Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, University of Waterloo
33. Catherine Potvin, Sustainable Canada Dialogues
34. Ron Dembo, CEO, Zerofootprint Software
35. Jarrod Goldin, CEO, Entomo Farms
36. Bob Willard, Founder, Sustainability Advantage
37. Paul Richardson, CEO, Renewal Funds
38. Eric Chisholm
39. Aaron Freeman, President, Pivot Strategic Consulting
40. Stephen Carpenter, founder, Enermodal
41. John Grace, Emeritus Professor and Dean, University of British Columbia
42. Meredith Adler, Student Energy
43. Andrew White, CEO, CHAR Technologies
44. Sandra Odendahl, President & CEO, CMC Research Institutes
45. Tania Caceres, President, Risk Nexus
46. Geoff Cape, CEO, Evergreen
47. Greg Stewart, Principal, GreenSky Capital
48. Charles Hopkins, UNESCO Chairholder, York University
49. Jane Ambachtsheer, Adjunct Professor, University of Toronto
50. Merran Smith, Executive Director, Clean Energy Canada
51. Eric Bauce, Professor, Université Laval
52. Laura Zizzo, founder and CEO, Zizzo Strategy
53. Trish Nixon, Managing Director, CoPower
54. Peter Victor, Emeritus Professor, York University
55. Steve Byrne, V.P.,DCR Systems Group
56. Philippe Bernier, Trioveste
57. Joanna Kyriazis, Zizzo Strategy
58. Marty Janowicz, VP & Practice Leader, Sustainable Development, Stantec
59. Dan Rames
60. Brian Astl, President, Lind Equipment
61. Elizabeth Sheehan, President, Climate Smart Businesses
62. Ralf Nielsen, Managing Director, Colliers Project Leaders
63. Kate Whalen, McMaster
64. Tim Gray, Executive Director, Environmental Defence
65. Soheil Khiavi, CTO, Inventys
66. David Berliner, Managing Director, CoPower
67. Mike Battistel, President, Cascadia Windows
68. Jim Harris, CEO, Strategic Advantage
69. Howard Chang, Co-founder, The Turn Lab
70. Phil Dennis, SiREM
71. Jeanette Southwood
72. Darryl Neate
73. Gavin Pitchford, CEO, Delta Management, ED Canada’s Clean50 Awards