Government of Canada’s response to Saskatchewan court challenge
What is the hearing about?
Greenhouse gas emissions are a matter of national concern. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are causing climate change. Carbon pollution knows no borders. Failure by one province to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will harm the rest of the country.
In June 2018, the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act became law, ensuring that it will no longer be free to pollute in Canada. The purpose of carbon pricing is to encourage behavioural changes and innovation, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which cause climate change.
The Province of Saskatchewan is asking the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan for its opinion on whether the Parliament of Canada has the constitutional authority to pass the Act.
Canada’s position is that the Act is constitutional. Parliament has authority to pass the Act for the peace, order, and good government of Canada, under section 91 of the Constitution Act, 1867.
What does the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act do?
The Act implements a central component of Canada’s climate plan, the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. The Pan-Canadian Framework includes a federal-provincial-territorial commitment to ensure that carbon pricing applies in every province and territory in Canada. The Act fulfills Canada’s commitment to put in place a pricing mechanism on greenhouse gas emissions.
Canada worked with provinces and territories for two years to put a price on carbon pollution across the country. The Act implements a carbon-pollution pricing system that will apply as a backstop in all provinces and territories that do not have a carbon pricing system of their own or that have a system that does not meet the federal benchmark.
More information about the federal carbon pollution pricing system is available on the Clean Growth and Climate Change page.
What is the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change?
The Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change is Canada’s climate plan. It is the country’s overarching framework to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors of the economy, grow the economy, and build climate resilience. It includes commitments by federal, provincial, and territorial governments. All provinces and territories have joined Canada’s climate plan except Saskatchewan.
More information on the plan is available on the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change page.
Jobs in Canada’s low-carbon economy are expected to grow in number. Already, more than 270,000 Canadians work in environmental and clean technology activities (2016). These activities also contributed around $60 billion (3 percent) to Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016.
Canada’s commitment to clean growth will not only support our communities and create good jobs for the middle class, it will accelerate the shift to the low carbon economy and protect our planet.
What are the next steps?
The outcome of the hearing or the date of a decision may not be known immediately after the event on February 14, 2019.
In a separate proceeding that is set to be heard from April 15 to 18, 2019, the Court of Appeal for Ontario will consider whether the Parliament of Canada has the constitutional authority to pass the Act in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
A copy of Canada’s factum in the Saskatchewan reference is available upon request from Media Relations.
A copy of Canada’s factum in the Ontario reference will be available on the Court of Appeal for Ontario’s website, on or soon after February 15, 2019.
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