Canada’s response to Saskatchewan court decision

From: Environment and Climate Change Canada

Backgrounder

What is the hearing about?

Carbon pollution knows no borders. Establishing minimum national price stringency standards for greenhouse gas emissions is a matter of national concern. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are causing climate change. Failure by one province to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will harm the rest of the country.

In June 2018, the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act became law, ensuring that it will no longer be free to pollute anywhere in Canada. The purpose of carbon pricing is to encourage the changes and innovation needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which cause climate change.

The Province of Saskatchewan has asked the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan for its opinion on whether the Parliament of Canada has the constitutional authority to pass the Act.

Canada’s position is that the Act is constitutional. Parliament has authority to pass the Act for the peace, order, and good government of Canada, under section 91 of the Constitution Act, 1867 to address the cumulative dimensions of greenhouse gas emissions.

What does the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act do?

The Act implements a central component of Canada’s climate plan, the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. The Pan-Canadian Framework includes a federal-provincial-territorial commitment to ensure carbon pricing applies in every province and territory in Canada. The Act fulfills Canada’s commitment to put in place a pricing mechanism on greenhouse gas emissions.

Canada worked with provinces and territories for two years to put a price on carbon pollution across the country. The Act implements a carbon pollution pricing system that will apply as a backstop in all provinces and territories that do not have a carbon pricing system of their own or that have a system that does not meet the federal benchmark.

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