The Feds Get Carbon Pricing Through the High Court

The Supreme Court of Canada recently released its decision in Reference re Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, where a 6-3 majority upheld the federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (the “Act”) as ‘constitutional’, which means the government can enact such legislation.

Based on this decision, the federal GHG emission pricing standards are here to stay, and some jurisdictions will have some work to do in order to bring their pricing schemes into compliance with the federal minimum standards. There will also be implications for industry, as federally regulated pricing will mean increasing and consistent GHG compliance costs across the country, and all businesses will need to incorporate these increasing prices as they plan their future operations.

The Act aims to reduce greenhouse gas (“GHG”) by introducing minimum national standards for carbon-pricing. The Act only applies to those provinces and territories that do not implement their own pricing scheme or have pricing below the federal benchmarks.

The Majority of the court held that the true subject matter of the Act was reducing GHG emissions, which was a national concern. Given the Act’s environmental benefits, the Majority was satisfied that the impact on provincial autonomy was justified.

Click here to read the full case summary.

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