With the elimination of the “carbon tax,” we now know that the electric bus program, among other city and regional projects, could be at risk of never rolling down Brampton streets.

One of the first acts of the new Progressive Conservative provincial government, led by Premier Doug Ford, was to kill an environmental initiative called cap and trade, more commonly known as the carbon tax.

City spokesperson Natalie Stogdill that “staff were officially notified by the provincial government that previously approved funding of $8.309 million to Brampton for the Pan-Canadian Electric Bus and Demonstration Trial has been cancelled as a result of the government’s elimination of the cap-and-trade program.”

The project was $13 million to be shared with Brampton and York Region (with the municipalities making up the remaining costs), with the lion’s share of funding dedicated to Brampton’s pilot. Staff are looking for a new revenue source before cancelling the project.

What other projects are affected?

Killing cap and trade immediately led to the cancellation of the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Grant and green renovation credits for homeowners, as well as other projects funded by the Green Ontario Fund.

Brampton already received over $1.7 million from the province in March for its proposed shopping list of bike lanes and the city has confirmed that funding was already transferred before the provincial announcement. However, this means there will be no new funding for this in the near future.

The other big program axed is the $100 million Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, dedicated for school repairs. The Peel District School Board was slated to receive $6.6 million for ongoing school repair projects for the 2018-2019 school year and only work that was already contracted will be funded.

The Dufferin Peel Catholic School Board received $2.8 million last school year, and as their budget wasn’t finalized before June, will not receive anything this school year.

What is the Carbon Tax?

Carbon cap and trade is a tool used by some provinces, states, and countries to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In Ontario, electricity importers, facilities that emit 25,000 tonnes of GHG per year, and fuel suppliers that sell more 200 litres per year were required to participate in the program. Other companies could join voluntarily.

The Ontario government auctioned out allowances that allowed companies to offset their extra emissions in exchange for bonds. These bonds are what funded the Green Ontario Fund. As of March 2018, the fund had generated $2.8 billion.