Ontario’s Plan to Regulate Large Emitters

December 19, 2018

By: The Working Forest Staff

Ontario’s Government is releasing its plan to reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions for public comment in January 2019. The proposal would regulate industry without imposing the federal government’s carbon tax, which threatens Ontario jobs and the ability of our industries to compete internationally.

“Ontario industry is calling for a made-in-Ontario emission performance standard that recognizes the unique circumstances of our province’s diverse economy. There is no justification to punish them with a carbon tax,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks. “Our proposed standard would consider factors such as trade-exposure, competitiveness, and process-emissions.”

Industry remains a significant source of provincial greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 29 % of Ontario’s total emissions in 2016. An emission performance standard approach would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from industry while allowing for economic growth.

The proposal would set emission performance standards that industrial facilities are required to meet and is tied to their level of output or production. This approach does not enforce a blanket cap on emissions across Ontario and takes into consideration specific industry and facility conditions while allowing for economic growth. As part of the consultation, the government intends to explore ways to recycle any funding that is collected back to industry to finance further greenhouse gas reduction technologies.

The emission performance standard is a key part of the province’s new, made-in-Ontario environment plan that was released for consultation on November 29, 2018. The standard would help Ontario reduce greenhouse gas emissions from large emitters and meet its target under the Paris Agreement.

“We believe the onus of funding greenhouse gas reduction efforts should be on polluters, not on hard-working people who deserve to be able to use their own money for themselves and their families,” said Phillips. “Regulating large emitters with a system that is tough but fair will ensure we meet our commitments to the Paris targets while ensuring that costs are not being downloaded to consumers.”

The province’s approach will be similar to that taken in Saskatchewan. Ontario will work with the federal government to accept our made-in-Ontario emission performance standards and not apply the federal system to Ontario industry, as has occurred in Saskatchewan.

Key industry stakeholders will be consulted through webinars and in-person meetings on the emission performance standard both before and after the proposal is posted on the Environmental Registry in January 2019.

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