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Trudeau Announces Saskatchewan Will Continue to Receive Carbon Rebate

The prime minister stated that despite his disagreement with the provincial government of Saskatchewan over withholding the carbon tax on home heating, residents will still receive carbon rebates.

“We’re going to continue to deliver the Canada carbon rebate to families right across Saskatchewan, despite the fact that Premier Moe is not sending that money to Ottawa right now,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at an April 23 news conference in Saskatoon.
The announcement from the prime minister follows a previous suggestion by Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson last month that residents would not receive the rebate if the province continued to withhold carbon tax for home heating.

Mr. Trudeau mentioned that the federal revenue agency has mechanisms in place to collect the money owed by the province to Ottawa.

Minister of Crown Investments Dustin Duncan expressed confidence in the province’s decision not to collect the tax, protecting Saskatchewan residents from paying unfair home heating prices.

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“The federal government is indicating they’re going to do what they can to recoup the money,” Mr. Duncan said on April 23 in Regina.

“But by the looks of the federal budget documents, it looks like they might not have the power to do what they’re wanting to do.”

Regarding the promise to give rebates to Saskatchewan residents, the prime minister emphasized that their view is against collecting it initially. However, he noted that the federal government returning the money is a positive aspect.

Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault mentioned in Ottawa on April 23 that although unsure about the collection process, Mr. Trudeau has instructed the agency to proceed with it.

“The prime minister, and I think cabinet, felt it wouldn’t be fair for the people of Saskatchewan to pay for the irresponsible attitude of the provincial government,” Mr. Guilbeault said.

Premier Scott Moe and his government have been firm opponents of carbon pricing and began withholding the home heating carbon tax since January 1 of the previous year.

The province stopped collecting the carbon tax on home heating to protest the prime minister’s refusal to exempt all forms of home heating from the tax, benefiting Atlantic Canada mainly, as in other parts of the country, natural gas, propane, and electricity are the primary heat sources.

Family of Four Better Off, Trudeau Says

Mr. Trudeau highlighted that eight out of 10 households in federally carbon-taxed provinces receive more back in rebates than they pay in taxes, with low-income and middle-income families in Saskatchewan usually benefiting from the carbon rebate initiative.

A family of four in Saskatchewan is expected to receive $1,800 back, which exceeds the cost of pollution, according to Mr. Trudeau.

A 2023 Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) report contradicted Mr. Trudeau’s claims that Canadians benefit more from rebates than their expenses. The report suggested that most middle-class Canadian households would experience a “net loss” of between $377 and $911 in 2024–2025, even after receiving federal rebates due to the carbon tax.

The prime minister emphasized that carbon pricing is the most effective way to tackle the effects of climate change and set Canada on a path to success in the future.

The federal carbon tax is imposed on the carbon content of fuels to reduce CO2 emissions and is enforced nationwide except in British Columbia, Quebec, and the Northwest Territories, where they manage their own fuel tax.

Carbon pricing began at $20 per tonne in 2019 and is planned to increase by $15 per tonne each year until reaching $170 per tonne by 2030.

The Canadian Press contributed to this report.

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