Moving Along: Updates to Ontario’s Environment Plan

Joanna RosengartenAs reported in a previous blog post, in late 2018 the Ontario government released the Environment Plan: Preserving and Protecting our Environment for Future Generations. This Plan outlined the government’s intended actions and policies for addressing many environment-related issues in Ontario, including the pollution of air, land, and water, the reduction of litter and waste, and the emission of greenhouse gases (“GHGs”). The government is moving ahead with its Plan and has posted two proposals for a 45-day comment period: (1) a proposal related to emission performance standards; and (2) a proposal to increase the renewable content of gasoline.

The government’s proposal for industrial Emission Performance Standards (EPS) indicates that this program is being developed as an alternative to the federal government’s Output-Based Pricing System (OBPS) (see our earlier blog posts for an overview of the OPBS). The EPS approach would establish industry-specific greenhouse gas emission performance standards that facilities would be required to meet….

The government is also proposing to increase the renewable fuel content of gasoline from 10% to 15% as early as 2025. Ontario’s current regulations require an average of 5% ethanol (renewable fuel) content in gasoline. In 2020, the renewable fuel content would increase to 10% and then to 15% by 2025. MORE

 

POLL: Most people disagree with Premier Ford on whether carbon tax will cause a recession

 

When Ontario Premier Doug Ford claimed the federal government’s carbon tax would cause a recession in Ontario, many economists disagreed. And it seems most regular people do as well.

According to the first in a series of Clean Energy Canada / Abacus Data nationwide polls:

  • Few Canadians (19%) expect a recession next year. If there were to be one, most (63%) say it would likely have more to do with global economic trends than domestic policies.
  • When told Premier Ford warned the federal carbon tax would cause a recession in Ontario, almost two out of three across the country (64%), and in Ontario (63%), disagreed, believing he was overstating the impact.
  • When respondents were presented with a question which noted that many economists had offered a contrary view, namely that the impact of the tax would be too small to cause a recession, even more people (73% in Ontario, 74% across Canada) rejected Mr. Ford’s contention.

SOURCE

Ontario environment watchdogs say Doug Ford just gutted a law that protects your rights


Dianne Saxe, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, seen in her office during an interview with National Observer on Dec. 6, 2018. Photo by Cole Burston

The legislation transfers the commissioner’s position into the office of the provincial auditor general. It also notably transfers her most important role — to uphold the Environmental Bill of Rights, which gives residents the right to participate in environmental decision-making and hold the government to account on its actions, or inactions, on environmental issues — to the provincial environment minister.

They say they’re going to police themselves. Now, when has that ever worked?”

This means that the government will take charge of investigating itself, whenever things are seen to go wrong in its efforts to protect environmental health and rights. MORE

Court ruling to grant First Nations a much bigger cut of resources royalties in Ontario

Wiikwemkoong Chief Duke Peltier speaks to the Globe and Mail on June 21, 2018 in Toronto. GLENN LOWSON/FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Forty thousand members of 23 First Nations communities in Northern Ontario have been receiving $4 a person each year from the Crown for ceding rights over a resource-rich territory about the size of France under 1850 treaties.

The Indigenous groups filed a court challenge against the Crown, saying the $4 annuity did not reflect the spirit of the treaties. And now a judge – after an exhaustive examination of the history of the treaties – has ruled that the signatories intended that the annuities should grow to allow the First Nations to share the growth in revenues governments receive from resource companies in the territory.

High time for a green jobs strategy in Ontario


Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks to reporters at Queen’s Park in Toronto on Nov. 19, 2018. Photo by Cole Burston

Prominent environmental and labour organizations in Ontario have been proposing the creation of an Ontario green jobs strategy for some time now, and a recent report by the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario suggested investment in education and training is needed to capitalize on economic opportunities of clean tech innovation. For example, building retrofits and green construction is an area of growing demand that can provide good work opportunities in the Greater Toronto Area for skilled workers.

However, Ontario’s new climate change plan does not invest in enhancing labour capacity in green industries. This is a crucial omission: economic and consumer trends already indicate a need to adapt to growth in emerging green industries. MORE