TORONTO-Ontario's new premier has taken a step in his plan to dismantle the province's cap-and-trade system, a move some observers say leaves businesses involved in the program grappling with uncertainty.
That may or may not be a fair comparison, but it does seem odd that a Ford government that promised a better deal for taxpayers, seems to be digging a deeper financial hole to get there.
The government said it would immediately start an orderly wind-down of all programs funded out of cap-and-trade carbon tax revenues but agreed to honour certain contracts that have already been signed.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he will impose a revenue neutral carbon price on Ontario if Ford scraps cap and trade, while others say Ford's government may be sued by companies forced to buy carbon credits under Wynne's scheme.
Citing the Auditor General, the government stated the cap-and-trade program could cost Ontario consumers and businesses C$8 billion ($6.1 billion), with a minimal impact on the province's carbon emissions.
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It remains unclear how much exiting the cap-and-trade program will cost Ontario, which is part of a larger program with Quebec and California, and what will happen with the almost $3 billion in credits that companies have already purchased.
Berends believes the Ontario government's decision is also going to impact companies that are planning on using their allowances for their obligations towards Quebec and California before the November 1 deadline. Called Green On, the $377-million fund, financed through the proceeds of cap-and-trade auctions is winding down.
In Ontario, Ford's decision is drawing criticism from the opposition and environmental groups.
The change at Queen's Park will have major ramifications for the federal government, which plans to implement a carbon tax in provinces where there is none.
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