New Brunswick and pollution pricing
Protecting the environment and growing the economy go together. In 2016, the federal government worked with provinces, territories, and with input from Indigenous peoples, on Canada’s first comprehensive climate action plan, which includes a fair, stringent and efficient price on carbon pollution.
As part of Canada’s plan, provinces and territories had the flexibility to maintain or develop a carbon pollution pricing system that works for their circumstances, provided it meets the federal standard. The Government of Canada worked with provinces and territories on this plan for over two years.
New Brunswick’s proposed carbon pollution pricing system does not meet the federal benchmark stringency requirements. Therefore, the federal carbon pollution pricing system will apply in the province.
Federal system highlights
The federal pollution pricing system will be implemented in New Brunswick under the federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act with the following features:
- For larger industrial facilities, an output-based pricing system for emissions-intensive trade-exposed (EITE) industries will start applying in January 2019. This will cover facilities emitting 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per year or more, with the ability for smaller EITE facilities that emit 10,000 tonnes of CO2e per year or more to voluntarily opt-in to the system over time.
- A charge applied to fossil fuels, generally paid by registered distributors (fuel producers and distributors), as set out in the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, Part 1, will start applying in April 2019. Information on targeted relief for rural and remote residents, farmers and fishers is available from Finance Canada.
Use of proceeds
The Government of Canada has committed to return all direct proceeds collected in New Brunswick under the federal carbon pollution pricing backstop system, through direct payments to families and investments to reduce emissions, save money and create jobs. In New Brunswick, we will return the proceeds as follows:
- Climate Action Incentive payments: Under the proposed approach, most of the proceeds the federal government collects from New Brunswick through the fuel charge will be returned directly to individuals and families in New Brunswick through Climate Action Incentive payments.Footnote 1
- Support for particularly affected sectors: The remainder of fuel charge proceeds will be used to provide support to the province’s schools, hospitals, small and medium-sized businesses, colleges and universities, municipalities, not‑for‑profit organizations and Indigenous communities, which will help save money and create good jobs. In New Brunswick, this amount is estimated at $77 million over the next five fiscal years.
- Direct proceeds from industrial facilities under the federal output-based pricing system will be directed to supporting reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in New Brunswick.
How Climate Action Incentive payments will be calculated – a New Brunswick family of four will receive $256 in 2019
Under the proposed approach, individuals in New Brunswick will receive a tax-free Climate Action Incentive payment after filing their 2018 tax return starting in early 2019. Climate Action Incentive payments in New Brunswick will be calculated as follows for 2019:
- $128 for a single adult or the first adult in a couple.
- $64 for the second adult in a couple. Single parents will receive this amount for their first child.
- $32 for each child in the family (starting with the second child for single parents).
Under this proposal a New Brunswick family of four will receive $256 in 2019. The average household in New Brunswick will receive $248, taking into account the various family sizes and circumstances.
Supplement for residents of small and rural communities
To further support small and rural community residents in New Brunswick, the Government proposes to provide a supplementary Climate Action Incentive amount for people who live in small and rural communities in recognition of their increased energy needs and reduced access to energy-efficient transportation options. This supplement will be an additional 10 per cent of the payment amount to which they are entitled. Small and rural communities will be defined as anywhere outside of a census metropolitan area (CMA), as defined by Statistics Canada.Footnote 2
Delivery of payments
Under the proposal, individuals will claim the Climate Action Incentive payment on their tax return. This will involve filling out a short schedule identifying the number of adults and children in the family unit for which payments would be claimed. There will be one claim per family.
The provision of Climate Action Incentive payments through the Canada Revenue Agency will ensure timely, accurate, and cost-efficient delivery.
Impact on individuals and families
Climate Action Incentive payments enable the Government to encourage lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions without imposing a financial burden on households. The federal backstop system helps the environment and the economy because it puts a price on pollution and supports cleaner alternatives. Most households in New Brunswick will receive more in Climate Action Incentive payments than they incur in total costs resulting from pollution pricing. As the pollution price itself encourages fewer GHG emissions, it will both protect the environment and promote green innovation.
Payment amounts in subsequent years
Climate Action Incentive payments will increase annually to reflect increases in the price on pollution under the federal backstop system, until at least 2022. The federal Minister of Finance will make annual announcements of Climate Action Incentive payment amounts, reflecting the increasing price on pollution and updated levels of direct proceeds.
Based on current projections, Climate Action Initiative payment amounts (excluding the supplement for residents of small and rural communities) in New Brunswick in future years would be as follows:
|Family of Four||377||495||607|
Building on the examples above, based on current projections, in 2022, William will receive $607 for his family of four, and Brigitte will receive $584 for her family of three (including the supplement for residents of small and rural communities).
Federal Fuel Charges – Starting in April 2019 and increasing in stringency over time, the federal pollution pricing system will add a nominal cost to everyday fuels.
In New Brunswick, for example, in 2019 the fuel charge on gasoline will be 4.42 cents per litre in 2019 and the fuel charge for natural gas used in home heating will be 3.91 cents per cubic metre – these rates will increase over time. A complete list of fuel charge rates is available on Finance Canada’s website.
Estimated Annual Costs – We know from experience in British Columbia, Alberta, and Quebec that provinces with a price on carbon pollution in 2017 were the fastest-growing economies in Canada.
Under the federal system, the average cost impact for a household in New Brunswick is $202 in 2019, which is less than the corresponding average for Climate Action Incentive payments ($248). New Brunswick residents can also reduce this cost through many options such as better home insulation, switching to a fuel efficient vehicle, and lower cost options like LED lights.
Studies consistently show the cost of inaction is much greater than the cost of addressing climate change. Extreme weather events like floods and wildfires are becoming more severe and happening more frequently due to climate change. These disasters can carry huge costs from damaged homes, businesses and infrastructure. For example, insurance losses related to climate change and severe weather averaged $405 million per year between 1983 and 2008, and $1.8 billion between 2009 and 2017.
Clean growth investments in New Brunswick
The Government of Canada’s Low Carbon Economy Fund is reducing emissions and creating opportunities in New Brunswick by providing over $50 million to support projects that increase energy efficiency in homes and businesses, saving families money and cutting costs for businesses. Investments like these help communities reduce pollution and create good jobs.
Since 2016, the Government of Canada has allocated over $173 million for investments in public transit projects. Investing in accessible busses in Fredericton is one way we’re working to make sure public transit is available for all, ensuring that people can get where they need to go, quickly and safely while reducing pollution. It’s part of the Government’s Investing in Canada Plan.
In addition, the Government of Canada has allocated more than $347 million for projects that reduce emissions, build resilience to the impacts of climate change or provide additional environmental benefits such as clean air and clean water. The Government of New Brunswick and Canada are working together to fund priority projects that will help reduce pollution and grow the economy.
Part of reducing emissions is building up infrastructure for low-emission vehicles, like hybrid plug-in and fully electric cars. Natural Resources Canada’s Electric Vehicle and Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Deployment program provided $950,000 for the installation of electric fast-charging stations in nineteen communities across the province, to help people switch to zero emitting electric cars and travel with confidence all over the province.
To protect Canadians from the impacts of climate change, Canada is collaborating with New Brunswick and other Atlantic provinces to create a regional climate expert organization that will work with the Government of Canada’s Canadian Centre for Climate Services. Other initiatives, such as the National Trade Corridors Fund and First Nation Adapt Program, are increasing New Brunswick’s resilience to climate impacts by supporting a study on adapting transportation infrastructure around the Chignecto Isthmus corridor, a vulnerability assessment to community infrastructure from inland flooding, and an assessment of the health impacts related to a changing climate. These studies will make sure that New Brunswick is ready for the impacts of climate change and that Canadians will remain safe.
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