The federal carbon tax has now arrived in the four provinces which have refused to implement their own provincial tax.
According to the plan, Ontario, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Manitoba will now be charged $20 a tonne for carbon as of April 1st. The tax will increase annually until the year 2020 when it will reach a maximum cap of $50 a tonne.
The tax, which has the potential of raising hundreds of millions in revenue for the federal government is predicted to make daily essentials like groceries, transit, electricity and gas more expensive for Canadians.
Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan are challenging the tax in federal court on the grounds that it is unconstitutional. True North will be on the ground to cover the carbon tax trial.
According to a study by the NRG Research Group, in the province of New Brunswick 62 per cent of the province’s residents oppose the federal tax, while only 31 per cent support it.
“Our government remains part of a growing coalition of provinces across Canada that oppose this cash-grab, which raises the cost of essentials like home heating and gasoline,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
Ford, who has been a vocal critic of the carbon tax since running for the Premier’s office has claimed that the tax has the potential to shrink Canada’s economy and even lead to a recession. One study by the Conference Board of Canada found that the tax has the potential to hamper the economy by nearly $3 billion.
Another analysis by University of Calgary Professor Jennifer Winter estimated that the carbon tax would cost average taxpayers in Ontario nearly $707 a year, despite the proposed federal rebates.
Consumers in Ontario have already experienced an increase in gas prices by 4.4 cents/litre. The initial rate will also affect propane, butane and aviation fuel prices.
According to a cost analysis by the National Airlines Council of Canada, the cost of air travel alone in Canada will soar once the carbon pricing plan is fully implemented, making long-distance travel within Canada unaffordable for many.
Enbridge Gas, which supplies 99.8 per cent of all natural gas customers in Ontario, is anticipating as much as a 11 per cent increase in response to the carbon tax.
Currently, the constitutional challenge to the tax is still moving through the courts and it is uncertain whether the tax will survive until its final goal of $50 a tonne.