Saskatchewan has stopped collecting the federal carbon levy on natural gas and electricity for residential customers, defying Ottawa’s climate change policy. This move comes after the province’s request for a broader heating fuel exemption was denied, leading to a tense standoff between the two governments.
SaskEnergy, the provincial natural gas utility, stopped collecting the levy on January 1st, 2024. The company faces potential fines and jail time if it doesn’t remit the collected funds to the federal government by February 28th.
Saskatchewan passed legislation shielding its executives from legal consequences, shifting the burden to the province. This move has raised concerns about the province’s commitment to upholding federal laws.
Trudeau has criticized Saskatchewan’s actions, emphasizing the importance of national compliance with the carbon pricing system. He argues that heating oil is more expensive than natural gas and that the system includes rebates for most Canadians.
Saskatchewan claims residents will save $400 annually by not paying the levy. The province also justifies its decision by pointing to the high cost of heating oil in Atlantic Canada, which was granted an exemption.
Saskatchewan is also not collecting the carbon levy on electricity. This move, however, is less likely to face legal challenges as the province has control over its own electricity utility.
The situation remains complex and uncertain. The federal government could take legal action against Saskatchewan, while the province’s legislation shielding executives could face legal challenges. The outcome of this dispute will have significant implications for Canada’s climate change policies and the federal-provincial relationship.