Feds reluctantly approve Ontario carbon price for big industrial emitters

OTTAWA — Ontario will be able to use its own carbon-pricing system for big industrial emitters after getting a green light from the federal government over the weekend.

However Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says the nod of approval comes begrudgingly because Ontario's proposal will not cut greenhouse-gas emissions as much as the federal version.

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Wilkinson says in a letter to Ontario Environment Minister Jeff Yurek that Ontario's proposal meets the federal requirements in theory but will actually result in smaller cuts to emissions and is hoping Ontario will agree to work on deeper ones.

Yurek says in a statement that the province is phasing in the limits but that nobody will get a free pass in a system designed to curb emissions without hurting the economy.

The agreement applies only to emissions produced by companies or organizations that produce more than 50,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year, while the federal carbon tax will continue to apply to fuel purchases by individuals and organizations with smaller carbon footprints.

The decision comes on the eve of a Supreme Court of Canada hearing on whether Ottawa overstepped its jurisdiction to impose a carbon price on provinces that don't have comparable systems of their own.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2020.

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