Saskatchewan

Sask. environment minister 'disappointed' with reduced carbon tax rebate

Saskatchewan Environment Minister Dustin Duncan says he "disappointed" the federal government's carbon tax rebate for the people in the province will be lower than initially projected.

Dustin Duncan to meet with federal counterpart Jonathan Wilkinson this week in Regina

Saskatchewan Environment Minister Dustin Duncan says he is not surprised the federal government's carbon tax rebate is smaller than projected. (CBC News)

Saskatchewan Environment Minister Dustin Duncan says he "disappointed" the federal government's carbon tax rebate for the people in the province will be lower than initially projected.

The federal government has decreased the carbon tax rebates in three provinces — including Saskatchewan — that have not adopted models that meet federal requirements.

"I'd like to say that I'm surprised but I'm not," Duncan said Tuesday.

A family of four in Saskatchewan will qualify for rebates totalling $809 in 2020, down from the $903 that was projected last year.

"Merry Christmas from the federal government," Duncan said jokingly.

Saskatchewan is seeing the biggest drop in projections when compared to Manitoba and Ontario. Alberta will also now be subject to the federal government's backstop after it repealed its consumer portion of the carbon tax.

Saskatchewan:

  • Single adult or first adult in a couple — $405
  • Second adult in a couple or first child of a single parent — $202
  • Each child under 18 — $101
  • Baseline amount for a family of four — $809

Last week, New Brunswick's revised carbon tax plan was tentatively accepted by the federal government. 

Premier Blaine Higgs says his new provincial carbon tax will cost New Brunswickers about two cents a litre at gas pumps starting April 1.

That will be a reduction from the federal carbon tax, which is scheduled to rise to 6.6 cents a litre from the current 4.4 cents on that date but instead will stop being applied in the province. 

Duncan said he was not sure how New Brunswick's changes meet the federal standard.

"If that's the case, then what are we talking about? It really shows what this is all about. it is really not about reducing emissions."

Duncan said Saskatchewan has no plans at the moment to make similar changes.

He said the province is focused on the current carbon tax challenge being heard in the Alberta Court of Appeal this week. He said the provincial government will likely wait until after the Supreme Court makes its decision on Saskatchewan's carbon tax appeal sometime in 2020.

"We will want to look at what our options are but we're not to the point where we've seriously contemplated doing it but we're certainly watching pretty closely what other provinces are doing," Duncan said.

Duncan said he will meet face-to-face with new federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson in person this week in Regina.

While the carbon tax will likely be discussed, Duncan said he also plans to talk about the federal government's role in the future of carbon capture and sequestration and small modular nuclear reactors.

with files from Jacques Poitras & The Canadian Press

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