New climate change plan coming this fall, PC government says
Province to consult with public, plan will include emissions reduction fund, minister says
The provincial government will put the onus on polluters in a new climate change plan it will release this fall, Ontario's environment minister says.
Rod Phillips, speaking at the Ontario Energy Association's annual conference in Toronto, said the plan will be "more balanced" than previous Liberal government policies, will save taxpayers' money and protect job creation while addressing climate change.
"We will strike the correct balance between a healthy economy and a healthy environment, and put the onus of pollution on polluters, not on the hard-working people of our province," Phillips said at a downtown Toronto hotel on Monday.
"Our plan focused on solutions, not one that has the government picking winners and losers."
Phillips said the government will consult the public before it rolls out the plan, which will include what he calls an emissions reduction fund. How the fund will work and what exactly it will focus on have yet to be determined, he said.
Public to be consulted on 'specific areas of focus'
Phillips said the province will consult the public on "specific areas of focus" to help the province deal with and be more resilient to climate change, but he did not say how or when those consultations will take place.
The announcement of a climate change plan comes after the government approved a regulation that calls for the end of the province's cap-and-trade program. The program was brought in by the previous Liberal government.
By cancelling cap-and-trade, the province is withdrawing from an arrangement with Quebec and California that established a joint carbon market to buy and sell pollution credits.
Phillips told the audience that the province estimates it will save more than $1.9 billion in 2019 from the elimination of cap-and-trade, a move he claimed will support the creation of thousands of new jobs.
The announcement also comes after the government introduced legislation to repeal the Green Energy Act, a bill that aimed to bolster the province's green energy industry, and after it cancelled 758 renewable energy contracts.
Phillips said the province will oppose and challenge the federal government's ability to impose a carbon tax on Ontario.