Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe announced the province’s intent to cease collecting the carbon tax on electric heat.
This move, aimed at extending fairness in carbon tax application across the province, follows the federal government’s exemption of home heating oil from the carbon levy, which Moe criticized for disproportionately benefiting Atlantic Canada.
In a video posted to X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday, Moe and Jim Lemaigre, the Saskatchewan Party MLA for Athabasca and a key advocate for northern communities, announced that the exemption would be introduced on January 1, 2024.
“We are going to need to determine who is heating their home with electricity and then estimate the percentage of their power bill that is being used for that heat,” Moe explained.
He added that the government will work out the details, but the important thing to note is that the carbon tax exemption will be extended to everyone in Saskatchewan who uses electric heat.
The decision comes as a relief to many Saskatchewan residents, particularly those in the northern regions, where electric heat is an everyday necessity.
Lemaigre, highlighted the unique challenges faced in these communities.
“Unfortunately, northern Saskatchewan and communities like La Loche, Black Lake, and Stony Rapids don’t use natural gas to heat their homes. Many still use electric heat,” he said.
Approximately 85% of Saskatchewan residents heat their homes with natural gas, with the remainder relying on electric heat and other sources. The Premier’s announcement is a significant step in addressing the concerns of this 15%, bringing them in line with the majority who benefit from natural gas heating.
The shift in policy aligns with broader provincial opposition to federal carbon pricing.
NDP Leader Carla Beck claimed that Moe’s announcement aligns with what her party has been asking the government to do for months.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has reiterated his previous commitment to enforcing the carbon tax.
“Canada is a country of the rule of law, and we expect all Canadians to follow the law,” he said.
“That applies to provinces as much as it applies to individual citizens.”
True North previously reported on the legislation introduced to scrap the carbon tax on natural gas in Saskatchewan. The province has shielded executives at SaskEnergy from being fined or jailed if the Crown corporation does not remit the tax.
Moe said that because the residents of Saskatchewan own the natural gas utility SaskEnergy, the provincial government decided to stop collecting the carbon tax on natural gas.
“Well, we also own the electrical utility, and that’s why our government has decided that SaskPower will also stop collecting the carbon tax on electric heat,” said Moe.
Concluding the announcement, Lemaigre emphasized that if the federal government would not stick up for its citizens, then the provincial government would.
“If the federal government isn’t going to provide carbon tax fairness to families, your Saskatchewan Party government will,” he said.