Carbon pollution pricing systems across Canada

Carbon pricing is about recognizing the cost of pollution and accounting for those costs in daily decisions. Putting a price on carbon pollution is widely recognized as the most efficient means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also driving innovation. Since 2019, every jurisdiction in Canada has had a price on carbon pollution. Canada’s approach is flexible: any province or territory can design its own pricing system tailored to local needs, or can choose the federal pricing system. The federal government sets minimum national stringency standards (the federal ‘benchmark’), that all systems must meet to ensure they are comparable and effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. If a province or territory decides not to price pollution, or proposes a system that does not meet these standards, the federal system is put in place. This ensures consistency and fairness for all Canadians.

The federal pricing system has two parts: a regulatory charge on fossil fuels like gasoline and natural gas, known as the fuel charge, and a performance-based system for industries, known as the Output-Based Pricing System.

The federal fuel charge applies in Ontario, Manitoba, Yukon, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nunavut. The federal Output-Based Pricing System applies in Ontario (until December 31, 2021), Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, Yukon, Nunavut, and partially in Saskatchewan.

The Government of Canada has confirmed that the carbon pollution pricing systems in QuebecNova ScotiaNewfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories, and British Columbia continue to meet the federal benchmark stringency requirements, and as of 2021, New Brunswick has a carbon pollution pricing system that also meets the benchmark requirements.

Provincial systems in place in Prince Edward IslandAlberta, and Saskatchewan meet the federal benchmark stringency requirements for the emission sources they cover. The federal backstop applies in these provinces to emission sources not covered by the provincial systems.

In Prince Edward Island, the federal OBPS applies alongside the provincial fuel charge.  In Alberta and Saskatchewan, provincial output-based performance standards systems apply alongside the federal fuel charge. As of January 1, 2022, Ontario’s provincial output-based pricing system will apply alongside the federal fuel charge. For further information, please contact ptintegrationpt@ec.gc.ca.

The Government of Canada made the Order Amending Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, removing New Brunswick from Part 2 of Schedule 1 as of January 1, 2021 and Ontario as of January 1, 2022. More information on this is available on the main page of the Output-Based Pricing System.

Long description

Grey: Provincial/Territorial system applies

Blue and Grey: Federal backstop applies in part

Blue: Federal backstop applies in full

  • Output-Based Pricing System (OBPS), a regulatory trading system for industry
  • Fuel charge

Provinces/territories and the system that applies in each:

  • Newfoundland and Labrador: Provincial carbon tax and OBPS
  • Nova Scotia: cap-and-trade
  • Prince Edward Island: provincial fuel charge, federal OBPS
  • New Brunswick: provincial fuel charge, provincial OBPS as of January 1, 2021
  • Quebec: cap-and-trade
  • Ontario: federal fuel charge, transition federal OBPS to provincial OBPS as of January 1, 2022.
  • Manitoba: federal backstop
  • Saskatchewan: federal fuel charge, provincial OBPS on some sectors, federal OBPS on others
  • Alberta: federal fuel charge, provincial OBPS.
  • British Columbia: provincial carbon tax
  • Yukon: federal backstop
  • Northwest Territories: territorial carbon tax
  • Nunavut: federal backstop

The provinces and territories on the map of Canada are one of three colours depending on whether the federal backstop applies in full, in part or not at all.

Proceeds from the federal carbon pricing system remain in the jurisdiction where they were collected. Provinces and territories that requested the federal system receive these proceeds directly and can use them as they see fit. In other jurisdictions, the federal government delivers all proceeds to individuals, families, and businesses through payments and climate action programs. This helps make carbon pricing affordable, and enables households to make investments to increase energy efficiency and further reduce emissions. Returning proceeds to households works because the amounts received by households do not depend on their energy consumption, so households are still rewarded for using less energy. Our plan also includes targeted support to recognize the unique circumstances of the territories and Indigenous Peoples, such as high costs of living and energy, challenges with food security, and emerging economies.

Going forward, the federal carbon price will continue to be revenue neutral, and the Government of Canada remains committed to ensuring that the federal price on pollution remains affordable, and to helping households to make investments to increase energy efficiency and further reduce emissions.

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