This appendix provides additional detail on targets and policies in individual provinces and territories. This serves as a complement to the information summarized in Chapter 5.
British Columbia has its own carbon pricing system, first introduced in 2008 as a revenue-neutral tax on carbon emissions that reached $30/tonne in 2012 (the rate has increased again by $5/tonne per year since 2018 to match federal requirements). The rate applied for the carbon tax depends on the fuel’s carbon content, and an additional Motor Fuel Tax applies for gasoline and diesel as well. The legislation originally ensured that the government would cut taxes for individuals or companies each year for an amount equal to the revenues generate by the carbon tax. The tax covers around 70% of the province’s emissions, with some exceptions including the agriculture sector, fuel exports, aviation and external marine, emissions linked to industrial processing, and fugitive methane emissions coming from the production and transport of fossil fuels. The revenue-neutral provision was eliminated in 2017.
In 2016, the province also enacted the Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act (GGIRCA), which puts a price on GHG emissions for industrial facilities or sectors exceeding a threshold. The Act also sets specific performance standards for industrial facilities or sectors, including notably LNG facilities, requiring both to report emission and to comply with an emission benchmark.
Several other measures were also introduced over the past decade. The Clean Energy Vehicle program (2011) provides cash rebates of up to $8,000 for the purchase of electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and investments in charging and hydrogen fueling infrastructure. The Carbon Neutral Government, in place since 2010, ensures that government and public institutions operations are carbon neutral. A Climate Leadership Plan, released in 2016, expanded the low carbon fuel standard and introduced measures to make buildings ready to be net zero in 2032. The Clean Energy Act (2010) also requires that renewable sources provide 93% of electricity generation.
Most of the climate or energy policies introduced by the province in recent years signal a doubling down of the efforts put in place since the introduction of the carbon tax in 2008. This partly results from the realization that the original 2020 target for GHG emission reductions would be missed by a wide margin. After the change in government following the 2017 election, revised GHG targets were introduced in the Climate Change Accountability Act of 2018 (40% by 2030, 60% by 2040, as well as recommitting to 80% by 2050). Given the results of an assessment of progress in 2020, the province added a 2025 target of 16% reduction by 2025. The Zero-Emission Vehicles Act (2019) also set targets for the share of zero-emission light-duty vehicles sales or leases, which must reach 10% by 2025, 30% by 2030 and 100% by 2040. This comes in addition to the Renewable and Low Carbon Fuel Requirements Regulation, which includes renewable fuels mandates as well as carbon intensity targets for fuels sold.
Most of these initiatives are part of the CleanBC strategy, released after the Climate Change Accountability Act as a set of measures aiming to achieve the province’s GHG emissions reduction targets. The strategy also requires that a minimum of 15% of residential and industrial natural gas consumption come from renewable gas. It has given special attention to the buildings sector, aiming to make every new building constructed in the province “net-zero energy ready” by 2032. Additionally, regulations for reducing methane emissions from upstream oil and gas operations by 45% were enacted.
The NDP minority government, in place since 2017, developed its strategy to adjust the province’s level of efforts given its very limited success in reducing GHG emissions. The early implementation of carbon pricing in 2008, as well as later efforts, did not result in the province meeting its 2020 GHG target, so the current government has chosen to increase the number and intensity of measures, while revising longer-term target.
The election of Jason Kenney as Premier in 2019 changed Alberta’s approach to climate and energy policy. Prior to the election, several of the key policies in place were outcomes of the Climate Leadership Plan of 2015. The plan included a phase-out of coal in electricity generation by 2030, a target stating that 30% of electricity produced in the province must come from renewable sources, a legislated annual limit of 100Mt on GHG emission from the oil sand sector, and a reduction target of 45% by 2025 for methane emissions. The plan also led to the creation of Energy Efficiency Alberta, an organization supporting energy efficiency and conservation measures.
These targets were accompanied by measures to achieve them, like the Renewable Electricity Program; a carbon levy applying to diesel, gasoline, natural gas and propane; and a separate carbon pricing system that applied to large industrial emitters – over 100,000 tonnes/year – in the Carbon Competitiveness Incentive program.
After the 2019 election, the new government announced early on that it would modify or remove several provisions following from the Climate Leadership Plan. This began with the Carbon Tax Repeal Act, voiding the Climate Leadership Act and ending the Alberta Climate Leadership Adjustment Rebate. This triggered an announcement from the federal government that the federal carbon pollution pricing system would replace the Alberta carbon tax. The provincial government challenged the federal system in court, following Saskatchewan and Ontario, and lost after the Supreme Court decision in March 2021.
The Carbon Competitiveness Incentive Regulation (CCIR), which replaced the Specified Gas Emitters Regulation (SGER) in 2018, continued to apply. The CCIR requires that facilities’ emissions be less than the amount freely permitted in their sector of activity. If they do not meet this benchmark, these emitters face several compliance options: improve their facility’s efficiency, purchase credits from better-performing facilities, buy Alberta-based carbon offset credits, or contribute to Alberta’s Climate Change and Emissions Management Fund. The Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction Implementation Act, introduced in late 2019, is aiming to replace this system, in effect creating a hybrid of the CCIR and SGER.
The provincial government also chose not to repeal the 100 Mt cap imposed on emissions from the oil and gas industry, underscoring that it is unlikely that the cap will be reached in the coming several years. As a result, a significant increase in both the province’s overall emissions (and Canada’s) is possible even while respecting the cap, which would largely offset efforts to reduce emissions through other measures.
In the electricity sector, Alberta remains the province with the highest share of coal in its electricity production. The government has planned a system of transition payments for facilities that were supposed to be in operation passed 2030. The previous government’s Renewable Electricity Act had also legislated a 30% share of renewable in the electricity sector by 2030, but the main tool to achieve it – auctions as part of the province’s Renewable Electricity Program – has now been cancelled by the Kenney government.
As for cuts in methane emissions, conflicting regulations from both the Alberta and federal governments took effect on January 1st 2020. Talks are under way to find an equivalency agreement.
Saskatchewan is the first province in terms of per capita GHG emissions, with the large majority of emissions coming from the electricity and energy production sector. The province released its Prairie Resilience Action Plan in 2017, outlining the province’s approach and strategy for reducing GHG emissions. It was followed by the introduction of the Climate Resilience Measurement Framework in 2018, a series of 25 targets for the province and municipalities to meet and manage. Saskatchewan remains the only province not to have signed on to the PCF.
Saskatchewan released a plan to price carbon pollution in 2018. The system uses an output-based performance standards approach for some of its large industrial facilities, and overall resulted in only partially meeting the federal stringency requirements. The federal pricing system applies as an output-based pricing system for electricity generation and natural gas transmission pipelines, which covers facilities from sectors that emit 50,000 tonnes or more of CO2 equivalent annually; and as a charge on fossil fuels, generally paid by registered distributors (fuel producers and distributors).
Saskatchewan challenged the constitutionality of the federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act in 2019. In a 3-2 decision, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal disagreed, and the province has now filed a notice of appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Saskatchewan is one of the four provinces that use coal for electricity generation. After the federal coal phase-out plan was announced, the province reached an agreement in 2019 that allowed it to meet the federal emission requirement on an electricity system-wide basis. This allowed to keep the station running at the Boundary Dam Carbon Capture Project passed 2030, a commercial-scale station that uses carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technology. The province’s public utility, Saskpower, also committed to have at least 50% of its electricity generation come from renewable sources by 2030, double what it was in 2015, while reducing its emissions by 40% by 2030.
The province’s Oil and Gas Emissions Management Regulations also took effect in January 2019, regulating flared and vented methane emissions to meet the 40-45% reduction target by 2025. Given the competing federal regulations, Saskatchewan also negotiated an equivalency agreement with its federal counterpart, and settled by the end of 2020 (as British Columbia and Alberta have as well).
In 2017, Manitoba proposed a climate change plan that included a flat carbon price of $25 per tonne of CO2 equivalent emissions. The system did not meet the federal benchmark, and in 2018 Manitoba abandoned the plan. Therefore, the federal pricing system fully applies in the province. The province has launched a court challenge to the constitutionality of the federal carbon pollution pricing system, and in parallel has announced a new plan of $25/tonne to be applied from July 1st 2020, while simultaneously dropping the provincial sales tax by 1 percentage points. The plan was postponed due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, and it is not clear at the moment whether the federal government will accept the plan as meeting its requirements.
Since the publication of the Made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan in 2017, long-term GHG emissions reduction targets were replaced by a setting of reduction goals in rolling five-year periods, based on independent expert advice. The current target is 1 Mt cumulative emissions reduction by 2023. The government also announced an increase of its renewable fuels standard in early 2020, raising the minimum ethanol content in gasoline to 10%, and biodiesel content in diesel fuel to 5% (both becoming effective in 2022). Finally, the 2017 plan includes targets to increase energy efficiency in domestic natural gas (11.25%) and electricity (22.5%) consumption over a 15-year period.
For the 2003 to 2018 period, Ontario was governed by successive Liberal governments, who enacted several policies aiming to transform the energy landscape of the province and reduce its GHG emissions. Noteworthy among these policies are the phasing out of coal-fired electricity, feed-in tariffs to encourage the deployment of solar and wind energy in the Green Energy and Green Economy Act 2009, and the outlining of 2020 and 2030 GHG emissions reduction targets (-15% and -37% from 1990 levels, respectively). These early actions were followed by the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-Carbon Economy Act 2016, which required the province to development climate action plans and specify how cap and trade proceeds would be spent in order to support projects with GHG emissions reduction potential. Several other action plans were published, including the Long-Term Energy Plan to ensure affordability and reliability to energy consumers over the next 20 years. These efforts culminated in 2018 with the linking of a provincial cap-and-trade system for GHG emission permits with that of California and Quebec, with some allowances for trade-exposed industries.
After its election in the spring of 2018, the new government led by Premier Doug Ford announced several changes to these policies. The government introduced the Cap and Trade Cancellation Act in 2018, resulting in the application of the federal carbon pricing system instead. Although the federal policy was challenged by Ontario in court, the province lost its case. The province received approval from the federal government for a carbon-pricing system for large industrial emitters in 2020, which works as emissions performance standards. Its coverage was however described as concerning by the federal Environment Minister, and will lead to a review in two years. It was not determined, at the time of writing, when the provincial system would take effect. The Green Energy and Green Economy Act was also repealed in 2018.
After the 2018 election, Ontario released its Preserving and Protecting our Environment for Future Generations: A Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan, under which the province commits to a 30% reduction in GHG remissions 2030 from 2005 levels, in line with the federal target. The plan includes emission performance standards for large emitters; the Ontario Carbon Trust, an emissions reduction fund to encourage private investment in clean technology solutions; and the Ontario Reverse Auction, which establishes an auction system that allows bidders to send proposals for emissions reduction projects and compete for contracts based on the lowest-cost GHG emission reductions.
The plan also includes measures for transport, notably increasing the renewable content requirement in gasoline to 15% in 2030 through the Cleaner Transportation Fuels Regulation (which replaced the Greener Gasoline and Greener Diesel Regulations). Details for the renewable diesel portion of the regulation have yet to be published. With regard to the transport sector, the province also cancelled its Electric and Hydrogen Vehicle Incentive Program, which offered rebates for the purchase of low-emission vehicles. The financial incentive to install charging stations for home or business use, as well as the Electric Vehicle Chargers Ontario grant program that developed a network of charging stations across the province, were also cancelled.
Many of these changes were enacted out of a concern for the impact on electricity costs, which increased rapidly in Ontario in recent years. The significant changes in policies to reduce GHG emissions (and to energy policy more generally) underscore the new government’s different approach on these issues.
In its Plan d’action 2013-2020 sur les changements climatiques, Quebec had an objective of reducing GHG emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2020. This target was missed, and eyes are now on its later commitment to decrease emissions by 37.5% by 2030. The next strategy, the Plan pour une économie verte, was released in late 2020, and bets heavily on electrification. Various targets are included in the new strategy, such as no sales of gasoline-powered vehicles from 2035, a 50% reduction in emissions from building space heating by 2030, 10% renewable gas in the natural gas distribution network by 2030, among others. A large part of the efforts are to be achieved through investments from the Fonds vert, a fund dedicated to projects with GHG reduction potential.
The fund is financed by proceeds from Quebec’s participation in the Western Climate Initiative’s cap-and-trade system with California since 2013, which Ontario briefly joined in 2018. The system covers companies in the industrial and electricity sectors which emit more than 25,000 tonnes of CO2e annually (for instance, aluminum refineries, cement plants, and electricity producers), as well as fossil fuel distributors.
Several other 2030 targets are found in the province’s Politique énergétique 2030: the consumption of oil products must decrease by 40%; the use of thermal coal must be eliminated; bioenergy production must increase by 50%; overall renewable energy output must increase by 25%; and energy efficiency must increase by 15%. The policy also created Transition énergétique Québec, which was tasked with developing cohesive action plans every five years to ensure progress toward the objectives of the policy. The first plan was published in 2018, but the agency was abolished in late 2020 and its responsibilities transferred to existing ministries (see below).
Although Quebec missed its target of 100,000 electric and rechargeable hybrid vehicles by 2020, it has a number of policies aiming to electrify transportation. First and foremost is the zero-emission vehicles mandate, by which automakers accumulate credits by selling zero-emission or low-emission vehicles, in order to meet progressively more stringent targets for the share of zero-emission or low-emission vehicles. This share is scheduled to reach 22% in 2025. Automakers that do not meet the annual target can buy credits from others. A similar mandate for heavy-duty vehicles is planned but has yet to be formally announced. A second transport electrification policy offers cash rebates for the purchase of electric vehicles (up to $8,000), which can be combined with the federal program.
Furthermore, Quebec charges several taxes on fuel, on top of the federal excise tax described in Chapter 5 above (and in addition to federal and provincial sales taxes). This includes a fixed tax on gasoline of 19.2¢/litre (20.2¢/litre for diesel), as well as a public transit tax of 3¢/litre in the Greater Montreal region. The provincial tax is reduced for some remote regions or areas close to the Unites States border.
Since its election in the fall of 2018, the new government led by the Coalition Avenir Québec developed a plan to improve the province’s approach, which was presented in late 2019 as bill 44. Notably, the bill transforms the management of the Fonds vert, after an earlier report documented the mismanagement of the fund and its ineffectiveness in helping the province reduce emissions. Part of the fund’s responsibilities now fall to the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment, and Fight Against Climate Change. The bill also abolished Transition énergétique Québec, transferring its responsibilities – notably the design of transition plans – back to the Ministry of energy and natural resources, as they were before 2017.
The federal carbon pricing system applies in New Brunswick. The province initially signaled its intention to challenge its constitutionality, but changed its in mind after the federal election in October of 2019. It is intervening in the Supreme Court case on this matter in the spring of 2021.
The province then designed its own plan for small emissions following PEI’s proposal, reducing its provincial tax on fuels to make the fuel tax neutral for the consumer. In 2020, the federal government accepted New Brunswick’s proposal for large emitters, announced in 2019, but with important reservations about its coverage. The province’s proposal for large emitters will replace the federal system as a result, but compliance requirements will be evaluated again in two years.
The Climate Change Act of 2018 set out targets for GHG emissions, and regulation under the Electricity Act mandates that 40% of the electricity sold within the province come from renewable sources. The province has also committed to phasing out coal by 2030, as part of the Climate Change Action Plan (updated in 2017). The update also pledged to make government operations carbon neutral by 2030. It is worth noting that the new minority progressive-conservative government that took power in 2018 did not reject the 2016 plan or its 2017 update, therefore GHG emissions reduction targets still apply.
Nova Scotia has put a cap-and-trade system in place since January 2019, which covers around 80% of the province’s emissions. Moreover, although the province set an 80% reduction target in GHG emissions by 2050 in its Climate Change Action Plan, the Sustainable Development Goals Act passed in late 2019 changed targets to a 53% reduction by 2030 and net-zero by 2050. This is in addition to the Renewable Electricity Regulations, which requires that utilities supply their customers with 40% renewable electricity.
The province reached an equivalency agreement with the federal government for the phasing out of coal-fired electricity generation, which will be in effect from 2020 to 2024, allowing the province to keep coal-fired plants beyond 2030, pledging in return to achieve more important cuts in emissions throughout its electricity sector. At the time of writing, the current government had just announced that coal would be phased-out by 2030.
Prince Edward Island
The government of Prince Edward Island released its 10-year energy strategy in 2017, and has signed on to the PCF. It also established a Climate Change Secretariat in its 2018-2023 Climate Change Action Plan, which initially reiterated the 30% GHG emissions reduction target (by 2030). However, it revised this target up to 40% following the publication of the IPCC report in 2018 (see Chapter 1`). The province went further in December 2020, passing the Net Zero Carbon Act, which committed it to reduce net emissions to zero by 2040. The legislation also requires the government to publish a yearly report on progress made toward achieving the targets.
With regard to carbon pricing, the province negotiated an equivalency agreement with the federal government for the pricing of fuel emissions, with the additional charge being compensated at the pump by a decrease of the provincial fuel tax. The net effect is currently a 2 cents per liter increase on gasoline and diesel purchased at the pump.
Government measures give special attention to transportation, as the sector accounts for 50% of GHG emissions in the province. The 2018-2023 Climate Change Plan committed to designing and installing a province-wide electric vehicle charging network. This plan was followed by the release of the Sustainable Transportation Strategy in late 2019, which proposes measures like different rate structures for electric vehicles registration.
Newfoundland and Labrador
The province’s 2016 Management of Greenhouse Gas Act was updated in 2018 to introduce the federally mandated price on carbon. This came after the province released the Made-in-Newfoundland and Labrador carbon pricing program and had it accepted by the federal. The program launched a carbon tax on combustible fuels which followed the federal requirements, while using a performance standard system for large industrial facilities and large-scale electricity generators. Regarding the latter sector, the Muskrat Falls Hydroelectric Project should become online in 2021.
The Liberals were reelected with a minority in 2019, and released a new climate change action plan for the next five years. The plan reiterated the 30% 2005 by 2030 target.
Although their contribution to national GHG emissions is small, northern Canadian territories present distinct challenges in terms of meeting reduction targets. In the Yukon, for instance, the federal carbon pricing system applies, but with exemptions for aviation fuel and diesel electricity generation, given their special importance for food security and heating purposes. The territory also published the Our Clean Future strategy in late 2019, which proposes several measures and targets. These include notably: reducing GHG emissions by 30% over 2010 levels; reducing diesel use for electricity generation in communities not connected to the main electricity grid by 30% before 2030; and have 40% of heating needs met by renewable sources by 2030. Other action items include the electrification of transport and of the government’s vehicle fleet.
The Northwest Territories published in 2018 a Climate Change Strategic Framework 2030, in parallel with their shorter-term Climate Change Action Plan 2019-2023. The plan includes a 30% reduction target for GHG emissions before 2030. The efforts of the Northwest Territories also revolve heavily around energy-related targets: GHG emissions from electricity generation in diesel communities are to be reduced by 25%; those from transportation are targeted to decrease by 10% on a per capita basis from 2016 to 2030; and the share of renewable energy used for community heat must reach 40% by 2030. The Northwest Territories has implemented a carbon tax in 2019.
Finally, Nunavut has no GHG emissions reduction targets. As is the case for the Yukon, Nunavut uses the federal pricing system, with exemptions related to the special circumstances of the territory. These include an exemption for the charge on aviation fuels, as well as for diesel-fired electricity generation for remote communities. Since 2019, the territorial government also offers the Nunavut Carbon Rebate, which subsidizes half of the carbon price for fuels purchased by residents of the territory. The rebate is scheduled for a gradual phaseout of 10% per year from 2022 to 2028.
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Prince Edward Island #
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Prince Edward Island. 2020. Net-zero Carbon Act (Bill no. 127). Prince Edward Island.
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