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Raven Recycling won't pay carbon levy for shipping, says Community Services Minister

Yukon's Minister of Community Services says he clarified how the carbon levy is applied with Raven Recycling after meeting with the organization Thursday morning.

Raven Recycling worried it would have had to pay $32,484 in carbon levies in 2022

Raven Recycling will be challenged by the new carbon levy. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Yukon's Minister of Community Services says he clarified how the carbon levy is applied with Raven Recycling after meeting with the organization Thursday morning.

Raven Recycling warned about possibly downsizing operations if it had to pay over $32,000 in carbon levies in 2022 on the non-refundable materials it sends south for recycling.

But John Streicker says when carbon pricing comes into effect this July 1, Raven Recycling will not pay a carbon levy for shipping.

"They hire a shipping company to do this. It's the shipping company that's energy intensive, which by the way gets a rebate if they're a Yukon company," said Streicker during question period Thursday afternoon.

Raven Recycling is a social enterprise, which means it channels its profits into education and recycling non-refundable material like tin cans and plastics. It's also a registered charity and does not file a T2 corporation income tax return, which makes it ineligible for the rebate.

The organization raised concerns earlier this year in a letter that was tabled in the Yukon Legislature Wednesday afternoon. In it, Raven Recycling thought it would have to pay $32,484 in carbon levies in 2022, when the levy hits its peak.

Raven Recycling may not have to pay as hefty of a carbon levy, but according to executive director Joy Snyder, it has approximately $43,000 in yearly internal fuel costs. 

Joy Snyder, executive director of Raven Recycling says the organization spends approximately $243,000 on fuel each year. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

"It's one thing when a business is expected to sort of pass that on to their customers. But a large part of what we do is the non-refundable recycling and we have a free public drop off," says Snyder.

"Raven would be expected to bear that cost," she says.

Another Whitehorse recycling operation, P&M Recycling, will receive a carbon rebate because it is a business.

Rebate program constricted

Other businesses will receive a refundable income tax credit with their tax assessment for the previous year. Businesses will be rebated 120 per cent of what they pay in carbon levies. Placer and quartz mining operations are also eligible for the rebate if they file their receipts with the Yukon government. 

Non-governmental organizations are ineligible for the carbon price rebate because it is estimated they only contribute up to 0.5 per cent of carbon emissions in the territory. The government says when NGOs ask for their funding, costs associated with carbon levies will be part of these talks.

Snyder says Raven Recycling does not receive core funding from the territorial government, but it does receive diversion credits from the Yukon government and the City of Whitehorse for diverting recyclable material from landfills.

Raven Recycling ships 4,000 tonnes of recyclable material south every year.

The Raven Recycling Association runs a bottle depot as a way to generate money for the not-for-profit business. It also has a contract through the Yukon territorial government to process the region's recycling. (Raven Recycling/Submitted)

Yukon Premier and Finance Minister Sandy Silver says the territorial government's rebate program is constricted by the federal government's definition of who is eligible.

"If there's nothing we can do in the current incarnation of this program that's not to say that we can't help them reduce their emissions where they see that this carbon price is going to add to their overall costs," Silver told reporters Wednesday afternoon.

"We can take a look at how we can supplement that with different types of programming to make their building more energy efficient … or some other initiatives," he said.

Snyder says Raven Recycling studied ways to reduce how much recyclable materials they are shipping out and ways to reuse those materials instead, but the territory does not have enough waste to make a project feasible.

The best outcome for the not-for-profit would be getting the carbon rebate, Snyder said, but it will find other ways around the rising costs if it is not exempted.

Raven Recycling to meet with minister

During a debate Tuesday afternoon in the Yukon Legislature on the carbon price rebate, Minister of Community Services John Streicker says carbon pricing is meant to shift people's habits from fossil fuels.

"The challenge that I perceive for all of us, including Raven Recycling, is that if they were to get an exemption — so, "Hey, I don't have to worry about that" — they will stay dependent on fossil fuels. That is the problem," Streicker said.

Yukon NDP Leader Liz Hanson said the government should either exempt all emissions-intensive trade-exposed industries or none.