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Ontario Election 2022: Summary of the PC, Liberal, NDP and Green Platforms on Climate and Energy Issues

May 19, 2022
A brief summary of the major Ontario party platforms on climate and energy issues for the June 2022 election is available here on the Sustainable Energy Initiative website.

The Overall Assessment is as follows:

The PC Government 

The Progressive Conservatives would continue their current pathway, with a weak standard for industrial emissions and by implication a continuation of the federal ‘backstop’ carbon price on consumer heating and transportation fuels. The two major climate mitigation actions for the PCs would be the ‘greening’ of the steel sector, which may produce emissions reductions of 1.9MTCO2e/yr by 2029, and a focus on EV manufacturing and supply chains. The latter will have no direct impact on reducing emissions, as there is no strategy to promote EV adoption in the province other than reliance on federal measures. There is also a risk that increased mining activity in Ontario’s far north boreal region (e.g. the ‘Ring of Fire’) could significantly affect the carbon sink and storage functions of the region and lead to major increases in emissions of GHGs, particularly methane, if not managed very carefully.  This consideration is ignored in the government’s recent critical minerals strategy, as is the question of impacts on Indigenous communities.

The Major Opposition Parties

All three major opposition parties oppose the Ford government’s plans for the 413 and Bradford Bypass highways. All have similar GHG emission reduction targets and have strategies around EVs, transit, building retrofits and energy efficiency, green industrial and renewable energy development and phasing out gas-fired electricity generation. The Liberals specifically mention nuclear in their plans around electricity, the Greens call for the closure of Pickering and no new nuclear capacity. The NDP is silent on the issue.

The big difference among the opposition parties is on approaches to carbon pricing. The Greens would develop a provincial system to replace the federal ‘backstop’ carbon price on heating and transportation fuels, and increase the price significantly relative to the federal plan (to $300/tonne), although revenues would continue to be rebated to taxpayers. The system for industrial emissions would be strengthened (Ontario currently operates under an ‘equivalency’ exemption for the federal Output-Based Pricing System (OBPS)) to generate an additional $500 million/yr in revenues. There would also be climate surcharges on high-income earners, parking lots and fossil gas.  The current $7 billion in hydro rate subsidies would be reallocated to supporting low-income and rural consumers, and energy efficiency investments.

The Liberals would seem to retain the federal ‘backstop’ carbon pricing system on heating and transportation fuels, but would strengthen the system for industrial emissions to generate an additional $361/million/yr in revenues.

The NDP would replace the federal carbon pricing backstop for consumer heating and transportation fuels with a new cap and trade system, focused on industrial emitters, which would generate $30 billion in revenues by 2025-26.