Ontario cancels cap and trade, ends GreenON programs
July 4, 2018 - Following through on his campaign promise, new Ontario Premier Doug Ford's first order of business has ended the cap and trade regulation in the province and begun a wind down of the Green Ontario Fund (GreenON) programs.
The GreenON fund was created last year to allocate $25.8 million in proceeds from Ontario’s carbon market towards the creation and commercialization of green technologies. Four wood heat programs for rural, Indigenous communities were part of the GreenON fund.
“We are getting Ontario out of the carbon tax business,” Ford said in a statement. “Our focus will be to give people lower gas prices, lower energy bills and a real break in their wallets in order to get our economy going and create jobs. Help is here.”
Ford said his government will honour contracts that have already been signed through GreenON, such as energy efficient insulation and window retrofits. The fate of other initiatives currently supported by the fund will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
The statement notes that the Auditor General’s review of Ontario’s cap-and-trade program found the system could cost Ontario consumers and businesses $8 billion, with a “negligible impact” on the province’s carbon emissions.
The decision has sparked a letter of concern from members of Canada’s Clean50 Awards, who say the decision to cancel the cap and trade system risks losing the $420 million the federal government gave Ontario to help the province meet the federal Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. Ottawa has mandated that provinces without a carbon pricing scheme by the end of 2018 will have a tax of $10 per metric tonne imposed.