Ottawa is targeting heavy industry in provinces that fail to adhere to federal standards for carbon pricing by forcing those emitters to reduce their greenhouse gases by 30 per cent or pay tax on emissions above that threshold.
The federal carbon levy – which could grow to tens of millions of dollars per plant – would currently only apply to Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.
However, opposition Conservatives in Ontario and Alberta have threatened to kill existing carbon-tax plans in their provinces should they win in coming elections, raising the spectre of future federal-provincial showdowns.
Ottawa will introduce the tax at $20 a tonne next January, and it will climb to $50 in 2022. The Liberal government on Tuesday tabled the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act as part of the 2018 omnibus budget bill, which includes small-business tax changes, rules for taxing marijuana and other measures introduced by Finance Minister Bill Morneau last month.
Under the proposed regulations, large emitters would face sector-wide benchmarks for emissions reductions, with the country’s 15 refineries on average looking at a 30-per-cent cut from existing emissions levels. Companies in provinces that refuse to adopt their own carbon pricing system or fail to meet federal standards would be taxed on emissions above that level.
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