Ontario Announces Next Stage in Environment Plan

Published on February 12, 2019

Proposed Actions Fight Climate Change, Protect Environment Without a Carbon Tax

Ontario's government for the people today announced the next stage in its commitment to protect the environment and fight climate change without imposing a carbon tax. 

In particular, Ontario's proposed regulatory approach combines emissions reductions standards while recognizing the unique circumstances of Ontario's economy and its manufacturing sector. These made-in-Ontario emissions standards will consider factors such as trade exposure, competiveness and process emissions. Similar to approved systems in Saskatchewan and Alberta, the proposed approach would set sector or facility-level greenhouse gas emissions performance standards that industrial facilities are required to meet and tie emissions to the level of output or production from these facilities, rather than an absolute cap on emissions for the province. Each industrial facility would be required to demonstrate compliance annually.

"Performance standards are a key part of the government's Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan that puts Ontario on a path to achieve our 30% emissions reduction target, which is aligned with the federal government's target," said Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. "Our proposed approach to reduce emissions from industry would help us achieve our emissions reduction targets without imposing a carbon tax, which would kill jobs, negatively impact the province's economy and make life more expensive for workers, seniors and families."

In addition to the proposed standards for large emitters, Ontario recently released a proposal to increase the renewable content in gasoline to 15 per cent as early as 2025, encouraging the uptake of lower carbon fuels and helping to reduce emissions from the transportation sector.

"Our environment plan put forward responsible, tangible solutions that take into consideration the unique circumstances of our economy and the environment," said Phillips. "We are already making progress with our emissions reduction proposals to fight climate change and will ensure Ontario continues to protect the environment."

Consultation on the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan through the Environmental Registry closed on January 28. Over 1,400 comments and ideas were received and will be considered as the government completes consultations with stakeholders and works toward finalizing the environment plan in the coming weeks and months.

Quick Facts

  • The emissions performance standards proposal is on the Environmental Registry for a 45-day public comment period.
  • As part of the consultation, the government intends to consider ways to recycle any funding that is collected to finance further greenhouse gas reductions.
  • Ontario is considering including additional sectors in the program such as institutions, thermal energy supply and greenhouses starting with the 2020 emissions year.
  • Like other provinces, the government plans to have the standards in place by summer 2019 and will work closely with the federal government to ensure Ontario industry is not double regulated.
  • Ontario remains committed to meeting our share of Canada’s 2030 target. We have already made significant reductions: from 2005 to 2016, we reduced our emissions by about 22 per cent.