Canada's greenhouse gas regime is poised to be one of the
country's leading business challenges in 2016. From Paris to
provincial legislatures, big changes are coming, with Canadian
companies – and large carbon emitters across a range of
industries – still determining what the impacts will be on
their bottom lines.
Nationally, there will be significant changes to Canada's
energy systems and economy, heavily weighted in natural resources.
With green energy sources likely to play a larger role, experienced
renewable project developers with strong balance sheets and a low
cost of capital are likely to be some of the biggest winners in
In Alberta, Premier Rachel Notley announced a far-reaching and
comprehensive climate change strategy, with sweeping new regulatory
requirements for the electricity, oil and gas industries. The
result for a province already reeling from low commodity prices is
an economy-wide carbon tax, a 100 megatonne cap on oil sands
emissions and a phase-out of coal. Ontario has proposed a cap and
trade program, to take effect in 2016, which will be its primary
vehicle to achieve emissions targets. Depending upon the industry,
new policies in Edmonton and Ontario may reflect an operational
cost, a barrier to entry or a reason to shut down entirely.
Companies with emissions-reducing technologies, or venture
capital/private equity focused on renewable and energy efficiency
project financing are currently well-placed for success. However,
even outside of Alberta, de-carbonization and structural changes to
the oil and gas industry will have significant commercial
implications, for example, on manufacturers in Central Canada,large
energy consumers and overall currency valuation.
In the upcoming year, business will look ahead to not only the
implementation of provincial carbon initiatives, but also to the
federal government pursuing its own climate change agenda. This
involves new international obligations arising from the 2015 United
Nations Climate Change Conference, as well as a commitment to set
national emissions targets. 2016 will therefore be a watershed year
for Canadian business in navigating the shoals of carbon policy and
economic transition. Changes are expected to be rapid and
multi-dimensional, effects complicated.
The Imperial Oil refinery pled guilty to one offence for discharging a contaminant, coker stabilizer, thermocracked gas, into the natural environment causing an adverse effect and was fined $650,000...
Ontario's Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change continues to roll out its Climate Change Action Plan with its proposed GHG guide for projects that are subject to the province's Environmental Assessment Act.
In June, 2016, Justice Faieta of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded damages of $57,712.31 plus interest against legal counsel who failed to file a claim within the required limitation period.
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