Toronto

Gas prices going up about 4 cents a litre in Ontario, minister reminds drivers

Ontario Environment Minister Glen Murray says not much will change in Ontario due to a new national climate change deal signed last week, but reminds residents they'll be paying about four cents a litre more for gas and about $5 more monthly in natural gas bills starting in January.

'It's not a lot,' Ontario Minister Glen Murray says of the costs associated with cap-and-trade

Ontario Environment Minister Glen Murray says of a four-cent increase in gas prices that will take effect in January: 'It's not a lot.' (CBC)

Ontario Environment Minister Glen Murray says not much will change in the province due to a new national climate change deal signed last week, but reminds residents they'll be paying about four cents a litre more for gas and about $5 more monthly in natural gas bills starting in January.

"It's not a lot," Murray told Metro Morning on Tuesday.

Murray said the price increases are examples of the costs associated with Ontario's cap-and-trade program. Both increases will take effect Jan. 1, 2017.

Murray said the provincial government is very aware that residents are trying to keep living costs down.

"What I would say is the government has been listening very carefully to that. The focus is so much on reducing the cost of living," he said.

But Murray said provinces are taking the lead on fighting climate change and Ontario is part of a "global market" that is trying to reduce emissions through carbon pricing.

"We've been very clear there are costs associated with this. You have to put a price on carbon. The fuels that cause the problem are being priced around the world," said Murray.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, centre, talks as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left to right, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil, Prince Edward Island Premier Wade MacLauchlan and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley look on. Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and Pallister did not sign a pan-Canadian climate framework. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

As for the national climate change framework signed Friday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and all but two of the provincial premiers, Murray said the Wynne government has not committed itself to anything new.

The new deal puts in place a carbon pricing plan and aims to meet Canada's 2030 emissions reduction targets. Murray said Ontario, along with Quebec and California, already has a cap-and-trade system in place that he described as a "cost-effective" mechanism to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In that system, the province limits the amount of pollution allowed every year and companies trade to stay under their individual caps.

"That system is validated by this process, as long as it meets the outcomes that we have committed to as a province, as long we meet our targets. It doesn't have much effect," Murray said.

"It really starts to affect the other provinces that didn't really have any carbon pricing system in place."

Revenue from Ontario's cap-and-trade program will be used to subsidize environmental projects and programs in the province, he said.

A person pumps fuel in Toronto. Gas prices will rise by about four cents a litre starting in January 2017. (Michelle Siu/Canadian Press)

With files from Metro Morning

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