Ontario's Ministry of Environment (MOE) has released a
discussion paper to support a dialogue on the elements of a
potential Provincial greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction program (the
Program). Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions in
Ontario: A Discussion Paper (the Paper) considers,
among other things, the following aspects of the Program:
principles and goals for development; potential elements; scope;
emissions reduction targets; certain compliance options; and public
Since 2009, the MOE has been
collecting data on GHG emissions from large emitters. The Paper
makes it clear that, moving forward, the MOE intends on
implementing the Program with the intent to reduce GHG emissions.
However, it is unclear, at this point, the exact form the Program
will take. What is clear is that the public and stakeholders will
be consulted with any further design of the Program.
The MOE notes the significant progress to reduce GHGs being
Europe, Australia, Asia, the
US, and most importantly, Canadian Federal and Provincial
initiatives. The Paper states that Ontario is interested in an
equivalency agreement with the Federal Government. Such an
agreement would mean Federal GHG regulations would not apply in
Ontario where Provincial regulations meet or exceed Federal
The Program's principles and goals include the
Achieving cost-effective, absolute reductions that considers
Provincial competiveness and supports an equivalency agreement with
the Federal Government;
Simplicity and transparency;
Equitable treatment of industry sectors;
Promoting investment in clean technology;
Broad alignment with other emission reduction programs;
Integration with other Provincial environmental policies.
The following is a summary of key aspects of potential elements
and scope of the Program:
Timing: the MOE would seek to have the Program
in place one year prior to any Federal industry-wide regulation of
Covered GHGs: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous
oxide, sulphur hexafluoride, hydrofluorocarbons and
perfluorocarbons from covered industries.
Covered Industries: at a minimum, those same
industrial sectors to be regulated by the Federal regulations.
Potentially, the MOE could broaden the scope of large emitters
consistent with facilities currently covered under Ontario's
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting regulation (O. Reg.
Inclusion of Electricity Sector: the MOE is
considering including emissions from the electricity sector in the
Program and setting an emissions limit aimed at stabilizing
emissions from the electricity sector over time.
Emissions Reduction Target for the Industrial
Sector: the emissions limit for industrial sectors are set
at the forecast of total emissions expected at the start of the
Program, and are to decline by five per cent over five years.
Potential Approaches to Emissions Reductions:
a mix of 1) production-based benchmarks; 2) energy benchmarks; and,
3) reductions from an historical baseline.
Compliance Options: the Paper acknowledges
stakeholder's desire for flexible compliance options including
investment in technology, trading emission credits, and the use of
The Paper concludes with a call for comments regarding the
Program from the interested public, industry stakeholders,
non-government organizations and Ontario's First Nation and
Métis Communities. The Paper has been posted on the Environmental Registry for a 90 day public
review that commenced January 21, 2013 and ends on April 21,
All comments on can be directed to:
Ministry of the Environment
Integrated Environmental Policy Division
Air Policy Instruments and Programs Design Branch
77 Wellesley Street West
M7A2T5 Otherwise, interested parties can submit a comment online
through the Environmental Registry. All comments received prior to
April 21, 2013 will be considered as part of the decision-making
process by the MOE if they are submitted in writing or
electronically using the form provided in the Environmental
Registry notice and reference Environmental Registry number
We will monitor the implementation of this Paper and the
development of the Program over time.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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