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Today, Ontario’s Court of Appeal found that the Federal Government’s Carbon scheme is constitutional, “regulatory in nature”, and “not a tax.”

The Honourable Strathy, Chief Justice of Ontario, wrote that the Act[1] “is within Parliament’s jurisdiction to legislate in relation to matters of ‘national concern’ under the ‘Peace, Order, and good Government’ (‘POGG’) clause of s. 91 of the Constitution Act, 1867” (para 3).

In making its determination the Court of Appeal noted “With the longest coastline in the world, high altitude areas where warming is amplified, and significant Arctic territory, Canada has been disproportionately impacted by global warming.  In the Canadian Arctic, for instance, the rate of warming has been even higher than in southern parts of Canada, estimated at three times the global rate.”  (para 10).

The Ontario Court of Appeal reasoned that Canada would be heavily impacted by climate change according to uncontested evidence. The scheme, which established minimum national standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, was a Pan-Canadian commitment to address the impact of climate change.  Finally, these Pan-Canadian efforts would be undermined if one or several province(s) did not participate.

Here is a link to the decision: http://www.ontariocourts.ca/coa/ggppa/
Citation: Reference re Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, 2019 ONCA 544.

This article was written with the assistance of Savvas Daginis second year summer student.


[1] Being the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, Part 5 of the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No.1, S.C. 2018, c. 12.

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