Ottawa Announces New Carbon Tax Rebate Programs

Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna unveiled two carbon tax rebate programs for the four Canadian provinces charged with Ottawa’s carbon tax. They will get back a portion of that money in the form of rebates for small- and medium-sized businesses implementing energy-efficient projects.

Proceeds from the fuel charge imposed on Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario and Saskatchewan will unlock $1.45 billion over the next five years — though, for some, this is just not enough.

Details of the first stream of funding, the Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIF) SME Project, were released on May 30. The funds would cover up to 25 per cent of the cost of larger, energy-efficient retrofit projects, such as building retrofits, fuel switching and renewable energy production, for example. Details on the second stream — the CAIF Rebate program — will be released in June. The program would cover between 25 and 50 per cent of eligible costs of specified energy-efficient appliances, such as heating and cooling equipment. The minister expects the rebate will be limited to a maximum amount of $20,000 per applicant.

Another $10 million in funding will be made available through the Low Carbon Economy Fund Partnerships program for small businesses taking on smaller projects, with funding levels ranging between $20,000 and $250,000.

These carbon tax rebate programs are subject to Royal Assent of the Budget Implementation Act and subsequent decisions from the Minister of Finance.

Over the next year, $150 million in rebates will be made available, based on the percentage of revenue collected within each province. Still, the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB) is underwhelmed. The organization says the funding will “do little to relieve small businesses of the financial burden imposed by the carbon tax.”

More than half a million small businesses in Canada are affected by the national carbon price in the four covered provinces. CFIB has called on the federal government to axe the carbon tax — or provide businesses with “rebates equal to the amount they will pay.”

“Small- and medium-sized businesses are now in the position of having to spend even more money just to get a fraction of their carbon taxes back,” said CFIB President Dan Kelly. “This is simply too little, too late for small firms. Nothing short of a full rebate equal to the amount they will spend in carbon taxes would be satisfactory.”

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