OTTAWA – Canadians in the Prairies, Two Territories and Ontario will pay a little more to fill up their gas tanks or heat their homes next month as a national coal The price goes up on Saturday.
At the same time, the government is increasing the size of the coal price reimbursement checks issued to families to make up for cash shortages in family budgets.
“The price of pollution works,” Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said in a written statement on Thursday. “Fight climate change, put money back in the pockets of Canadians and help build a strong and sustainable economy.”
The consumer coal The price is charged on most fuels when you buy them, like when you fill up your car with gas or fill up a propane tank for your BBQ or RV.
This year, the coal the price for individuals and small businesses will increase by $15 per ton of greenhouse gases emitted for each fuel, up to a total of $65 per ton. On April 1, it will go into effect in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Yukon, and Nunavut.
On July 1, the four Atlantic provinces are incorporated into the federal scheme. They previously had provincial systems that met the federal standard, but would not have met the new standards set by Ottawa in the future.
Quebec has its own cap and trade system, British Columbia uses a provincial approved system coal price and Northwest Territories has its own territory coal pricing policy.
The increase will add $1.30 to the cost of filling a 40-liter tank and $5.22 to the average monthly household natural gas bill. Filling a 20-pound propane tank will cost another 77 cents.
The goal is to encourage people to reduce the use of fuels that emit greenhouse gases, while limiting the impact on the household budget through rebates.
Rebates are still offered for the same amount no matter what a household does to reduce fuel costs, and are based on the average coal price paid in each province. There are variations between provinces due to different sources of electricity, climate and geography, with colder areas using more fuel to heat.
Next year, refunds will increase 24% in Saskatchewan, 27% in Manitoba, 31% in Ontario, and 43% in Alberta. The law requires that 90 percent of coal The proceeds from the prices will be reimbursed to the families.
Each year, the bonuses are adjusted up or down in each province depending on whether the amount paid in the previous year was above or below that 90 percent threshold.
Singles will receive four quarterly payments, starting in April, totaling $722 in Alberta, $622 in Saskatchewan, $528 in Manitoba and $488 in Ontario. For a family of four, reimbursements over the next 12 months will be $1,544 in Alberta, $1,360 in Saskatchewan, $1,056 in Manitoba and $976 in Ontario.
A new report Thursday from the parliamentary budget officer said that, on average, people in each province will pay less than they receive, ranging from average net earnings of $29 in Prince Edward Island to $492 in Alberta.
In some provinces, such as Manitoba and Ontario, people with higher income levels will pay more than they receive, largely because they live in larger houses and are more likely to drive larger cars or own multiple vehicles.
For example, in Alberta, reimbursement will exceed the coal price drop at $535 this year for the lowest income earners, while a family in the top 20 percent earners will pay $135 more in Ontario and $177 more in Manitoba.
But the PBO report also says that the overall economic impact of the coal price could reduce income and cause job losses, which could mean that many families will be no better off by 2030 under a coal price system
That had Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre gloating during the House of Commons question period on Thursday. Conservatives have campaigned against coal prices for years, and Poilievre made it clear on Wednesday that if they win the next election, the coal the price for individuals will be gone.
“The fuel tax is a tax on consumers for doing things they have no choice but to do. People need to heat their houses and drive their cars,” he said.
He added that the PBO report “revealed that Nova Scotians and Newfoundlanders, like people across the country, pay about $1,500 more in coal taxes on what they receive in the form of refunds, directly contradicting the government.”
However, the net loss figures do not refer to how much people pay in coal prices versus reimbursement, but rather the negative impacts they may face on employment or investment income as a result of the policy.
Michael Bernstein, executive director of nonprofit think tank Clean Prosperity, dismissed that analysis as lacking context.
He noted that the report acknowledges that it is not comparing the possible negative effects of the coal pricing policy to the ills that would result from not addressing climate change. He said it’s an unfair analysis when looking only at the economic impact of making a policy, and not the impact of not doing it.
Last fall, the PBO issued a separate report saying that even if Canada enacts all of its climate change policies, GDP will be 0.08 percentage points lower each year as a result of climate change. That figure would be higher if less were done to curb climate change.
Guilbeault said that the PBOs coal The price analysis also ignores the expected economic gains from massive climate change policy investments, including billions to expand clean-tech industries like hydrogen, green electricity and electric vehicles.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 30, 2023.