Prime Minister Trudeau Promoting Sustainable Business

In conjunction with GLOBE 2016 (March 2-4, 2016), The Leadership Summit for Sustainable Business, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s First Ministers meeting was held on Thursday, March 3, 2016, which focussed on developing a unified strategy for provincial governments to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions while growing the long-term economy.

The Federal government made it clear their intention was to implement a national carbon pricing system, a carbon tax, if an agreement could not be reached at this meeting. After a day of discussion and debate, all Ministers signed The Vancouver Declaration. The Declaration outlines an agreement by all parties to pursue carbon-pricing mechanism within their respective provinces and territories to aid in meeting Canada’s 2020 reduction targets. Other items listed in the agreement included investments in clean technology and the economy. 

Read more on the various provincial considerations below.

Québec, Ontario, Manitoba & The Western Climate Initiative

  • Québec’s Cap and Trade system was established in 2012. They’ve been trading under the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) with California since January 1, 2014. As a result, Quebec is on track to meet its 2020 GHG emissions targets. Ontario has proposed a Cap and Trade system and intends to join the WCI carbon market in 2017. Manitoba announced its intent to launch a Cap and Trade system in December 2015 and also has plans to link to the WCI.

British Columbia

  • One of the provincial leaders in carbon pricing systems, British Columbia implemented a “revenue neutral” carbon tax in 2008. The provincial income from the carbon tax works to lower other individual and corporate provincial taxes. Fossil fuel consumption has dropped 16% in the province since the implementation and as a result British Columbia reports the lowest corporate tax and personal income tax in Canada.

Alberta

  • Alberta released details of changes to the Specified Gas Emitters Regulation carbon pricing system in November 2015.  These changes will increase the reduction targets along with the current pricing system scope to capture 80 to 90% of emitters in the province.  Details are being developed.

New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island

  • Both provinces are reviewing carbon taxing options and New Brunswick Premier Gallant is leveraging lessons learned from British Columbia to implement a revenue neutral pricing system.

Building a Better Framework for Environmental Approvals in Ontario
(Article provided by the MOECC)

The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change is working to create a modern regulatory system for environmental approvals.

The ministry’s Modernization of Approvals Branch (MAB) is leading the implementation of a modernized approach to environmental approvals to create faster, smarter, streamlined government-to-business services, while maintaining high standards of environmental protection. MAB works with stakeholders to propose, evaluate, communicate and support modernization activities within the context of a risk-based, client centred system.

First steps

In 2011 the ministry implemented a new, two-pronged risk-based online environmental registration system. The first stream, applications for routine activities that present lower risks to the environment became eligible to be submitted online through the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry (EASR). The second stream was for unique and more complex activities requiring an Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA).

Since 2011, the following six sectors have qualified for EASRs, resulting in time and cost savings for clients:

• Automotive refinishing
• Commercial printing facilities
• Heating
• Non-hazardous waste transportation systems
• Small ground-mounted solar facilities
• Standby power systems.

Moving forward

In 2015, the ministry developed an electronic Environmental Compliance Approval System (eECAS). Clients can now apply, pay for, and track their ECA applications from their computer. To support the release of eECAS, the ministry is conducting a controlled launch. During the launch, a limited number of online applications will be received and processed to better train ministry staff and make adjustments to improve the client experience.

To support external clients, tutorials will be made available online on ontario.ca. Other sources of guidance to support clients available online include an updated ECA Guide, and sample ECA applications that provide an understanding of the documentation required for ministry decision-making. Through learning by example, clients receive clarity, consistency and support for thorough and complete submissions.

The ministry is well on the road to becoming a modern regulator. The positive benefits include improved effectiveness, flexibility, transparency and cost efficiency. According to MOECC, at the end of February 2016, there were 4,292 EASR registrations, generating approximately $33.2 million in savings for businesses that have registered since 2011.


Building an approvals system for the future

Given the ongoing success of the EASR and the potential benefits to Ontario’s regulated sector, additional EASR candidates are being considered by the ministry. The branch is currently working on a draft regulation for End of Life Vehicles processing sites registering on the EASR. 

Ontario is home to thousands of manufacturing businesses. After California and Texas, Ontario has the most manufacturing employees of any jurisdiction in Canada or the United States. A new ‘general manufacturing’ EASR that targets low-risk, well understood manufacturing sectors would streamline the approvals process for many manufacturing sectors in the province, providing significant benefits to this sector while continuing to ensure these businesses operate without compromising Ontario’s environmental health.

Moving forward, MAB is also looking at other potential sectors or activities for EASR consideration including:

• Agri-business
• Electricity Distribution Stations
• Non-emergency Tier 4 generators

For more information on MAB or modernization of approvals contact Walter Yee, Manager, Program Implementation at 416 325 7561 or at Walter.Yee@ontario.ca.