The majority of Canadians believe that the carbon tax is ineffective against climate change, according to a recent survey conducted by Nanos Research. 

The survey was commissioned by CTV News in order to get feedback from Canadians on whether or not hiking gas prices was a positive step toward fighting climate change. 

The Trudeau government initially implemented the nationwide carbon tax in 2019, beginning with a $20 increase on carbon dioxide equivalent emissions. They raised the tax to $65 per tonne in April of this year and the price will continue to escalate by $15 per year until it reaches $170 per tonne. 

The poll found that two-thirds of Canadians felt this was the wrong time to raise the carbon tax, while the majority of those surveyed believed the carbon tax was ineffective in its goals in the first place. 

21% of respondents contacted across the country said that increasing the carbon tax now was “poor timing,” and 46% said it was “very poor” timing.

Respondents in the Prairies showed the highest level of disagreement for raising fuel prices, with 79% saying now is not the time. In Atlantic Canada, 73% responded by saying the timing is either “poor” or “very poor.” That number lowered to 53% among respondents in Quebec. 

The number of Canadians who feel that this strategy is ineffective overall is increasing since the time the carbon tax was first implemented. 

In 2019, 36% of Canadians nationwide felt the tax wouldn’t help to reduce fuel consumption and that number has now risen to 45%.

In 2023, only 9% of Canadians surveyed felt the carbon tax was “effective” in reducing climate change and 23% felt it was “somewhat effective.” Those respondents were found to be highest in Ontario and B.C., where around 33% believed this to be the case. That still leaves around 63-65% of respondents in both provinces believing the carbon tax to be ineffective in reducing fuel consumption. 

Overall, the Nanos survey concluded that 53% of Canadians across the country believe that the federal carbon tax has no effect in the fight against climate change. 

It’s more than just a hunch on the part of those who are skeptical, as emissions actually rose in 2021, two years after the carbon tax was brought into effect. According to the Canadian Climate Institute, emissions in 2021 were up by 2.8% from 2020 and only 6.7% lower than levels recorded in 2005.

No government, regardless of political party, has been able to reach its emissions targets in the past 35 years. Despite this, the Trudeau government believes Canada can reach zero net emissions by 2050. 

In order to hit even the 2030 target emissions, which would be 40% below 2005 levels, Canada would have to drop its total emissions by 251 million tonnes annually, which many argue would result in a disastrous blow to Canada’s oil and gas sector.