Ontario Introduces New Climate Change Legislation
Proposed Law to Ensure Transparency, Accountability for Use of Cap and Trade Auction Proceeds
To build on the work already underway to fight the effects of climate change, Ontario is laying a foundation to join the biggest carbon market in North America by introducing new legislation today that, if passed, would ensure that proceeds from the province's cap and trade system are transparently reinvested into green projects and actions that will reduce greenhouse gas pollution.
Under the proposed Climate Change Mitigation and Low Carbon Economy Act, all proceeds from Ontario's cap and trade program would be deposited into a new Greenhouse Gas Reduction Account. In turn, this account would only fund projects and initiatives aimed at reducing emissions.
To ensure accountability to the public, the act would also:
- Require an annual report on funds flowing in and out of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Account, as well as a description of supported initiatives.
- Enshrine the province's greenhouse gas reduction targets in law and require government to develop a climate change action plan detailing how the province plans to meet those targets at least every five years.
- Allow for transitional allowances to large industrial emitters which would be phased out over a period of time.
The proposed Climate Change Mitigation and Low Carbon Economy Act builds on Ontario's recent actions to fight climate change, including ending coal-fired electricity generation, working with industry and other partners on the design of a cap and trade program, releasing a Climate Change Strategy and investing in projects that fight climate change through the $325 million Green Investment Fund.
Fighting climate change while supporting economic growth, efficiency and productivity is part of the government's plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in people's talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.
- In May 2015, Ontario became the first province in Canada to set a mid-term greenhouse gas pollution reduction target of 37 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030.
- Ontario’s $325 million Green Investment Fund commits money to projects that fight climate change while growing the economy and creating jobs. These investments will help transform the way we live, move, work and adapt to our environment by building strong and sustainable communities.
“Fighting climate change is one of the most important issues of our time. This proposed legislation ensures that all money raised by putting a price on carbon will be reinvested in a transparent way to the benefit all Ontarians. It will hold government accountable in the fight against climate change, support a prosperous low-carbon economy and build a better future for the planet, for the province and for generations to come.”