Opportunity to Comment on Ontario’s Emission Performance Standards Program
As Ontario continues its transition from a federally-regulated Output-Based Pricing System (“OBPS”) for greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions to a provincial Emissions Performance Standards (“EPS”) program and pricing regime, the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (“MECP”) has published for comment EPS program regulatory amendments for the 2023-2030 period. The EPS program regulates GHG emissions from large industrial facilities in the province by setting emissions limits that form the basis for the compliance obligations of these facilities. The proposed changes to the EPS program for 2023-2030 are open for comment until October 10, 2022.
The proposed changes are, for the most part, necessary for Ontario to meet the benchmark requirements and carbon pricing set by the federal government. As we reported in our previous blog post, in March 2021, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the federal government’s authority to regulate GHG emissions across the country. As a result, provincial GHG emissions pricing regimes must meet the benchmarks set by the federal government; if such benchmarks are not met, a province would be required to comply with the federal pricing regime.
The federal government has announced that the price on carbon across Canada must be a minimum of $65 per tCO2e in 2023 rising by $15 per year to $170 per tCO2e in 2030. The federal benchmark also requires that provinces and territories must not implement measures that directly offset, reduce or negate the price signal sent by the price on carbon (such as, for example, carbon price rebates at the gas pump or utility bills) and that provinces that use energy-based standards (standards based on energy use per unit) for any industrial facilities must replace these with alternate performance standards. To meet these and other requirements, the Ontario EPS system needs to be amended.
The Ontario government is seeking feedback on the following components of the proposed amendments to the EPS regime:
- carbon price
- program scope
- registration and cessation of coverage
- emissions performance standards
- electricity generation and cogeneration
- stringency factors
- other administrative and technical changes
- carbon leakage and related competitiveness assessment
- public reporting
Interested parties should be sure to submit their comments before the October 10th deadline.
We’re here to help
McCarthy Tétrault is here to assist you in navigating these regulatory changes and opportunities for comment. To discuss how the proposed regulation impacts your Ontario organization or project, please consult our Environmental, Regulatory & Aboriginal (ERA) Group.
carbon price Ontario’s Emission Performance Standards Program tCO2e emission performance standards GHG emissions Federal Government