Ontario Standing Up for Small Businesses by Opposing Job-Killing Federal Carbon Tax

Published on May 09, 2019


                                                                May 9, 2019

NORTH YORK— Ontario’s government for the people is working to keep Ontario open for business by fighting the job-killing federal carbon tax on the province’s small businesses. There are more than 470,000 small-and mediumsized businesses in communities across the province employing about onethird of Ontario workers and the government is committed to creating an environment where they can grow and thrive.

The federal carbon tax came into effect on April 1, 2019, and its financial burden is already evident. Small businesses across the province, will face an increase in heating costs by $1,000 in 2022. This amount of money could be better used by small business owners to grow and create jobs in Ontario. 

Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, and Todd Smith, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, were at Drewry’s Variety Convenience today to talk about how the federal government’s carbon tax threatens jobs and small businesses in the province.

“The federal carbon tax is a job-killer. It will increase overhead costs on Ontario’s small businesses, and put the brakes on their growth,” said Minister Smith. “Job creators need a government that’s on their side; not another unnecessary tax. Our government is standing up for Ontario’s hardworking small business owners, protecting their employees, and ensuring they can continue to create good jobs.”

“In addition to making life more unaffordable for families, the carbon tax will impact small businesses here in Mississauga,” said Deepak Anand, Member of Provincial Parliament for Mississauga-Malton. “Small businesses can’t afford the federal government’s burdensome carbon tax. That’s why our government is using every tool at its disposal to challenge the constitutionality of the federal carbon tax.”

Small businesses have started speaking out against the federal carbon tax. In a recent survey of business owners in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business found that 87 per cent opposed this federal carbon tax plan. "We're on the precipice of an affordability crisis for small businesses,” said Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. “In fact, 84 per cent of small businesses in the four affected provinces say they can't afford the federal carbon tax.” 

Small businesses have now gone over a month without receiving information about grants and rebates promised to them under the federal carbon tax. It is still not clear whether the model for the rebate program will be designed based on other federal government climate programs targeted at small businesses, such as the Low Carbon Economy Fund. This program requires a minimum total project cost of $2 million for a business to be eligible, which doesn’t reflect the reality of most small businesses in Ontario.

“Nearly half of the revenues of the carbon tax will come from small businesses, but they can expect to receive just 7 per cent back in the form of yet-to-be-determined grants and rebates,” added Dan Kelly. “We are asking the federal government to cancel the federal carbon tax and work with the four provinces on approaches to climate change that do not negatively affect small businesses.”

Our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan considers our province's specific priorities, challenges and opportunities, and commits to reducing our emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, a target that aligns with the federal government's Paris commitments, without imposing a carbon tax on the people and small businesses of our province. 

Through the efforts of individuals and industry, Ontario already leads the country in reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, evidence of this can be seen by the fact that Ontario is already most of the way to this target, with the province's emissions down 22 per cent since 2005. Our Environment Plan is proof you can fight climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions without a carbon tax. 

The government remains committed to fighting the federal government carbon tax on the people of Ontario. Ontario’s case challenging the constitutionality of the federal carbon tax was heard by the Court of Appeal earlier this month and the decision has been reserved.