The Alberta Greenhouse Growers Association is bracing for the provincial carbon tax to come into effect in January 2017.
Association spokesperson Anna De Paoli says the tax will lead to an increase in imported produce and the loss of some greenhouses.
The greenhouse industry employs over 4,000 people in the province and grower Albert Cramer believes it’s time for the industry to start weighing the costs.
“For Alberta greenhouses, we estimate it’s going to be between four and five million dollars for the whole industry; flowers, trees, vegetables,” he said.
Ideally, the Alberta growers would like to see a rebate program similar to the one in British Columbia, where growers get an 80-per cent rebate on the carbon tax they pay.
“So what we’re asking the government to do is create a level playing field and to give the growers in Alberta rebates similar to that in B.C. so we can compete fairly in the same market,” De Paoli said.
Cramer believes a rebate or exemption isn’t a stretch considering growers absorb nearly 60 per cent of the carbon dioxide they produce in the growing process.
Sara Hastings-Simon of the Pembina Institute supports the carbon tax.
“There are benefits to a carbon levy,” she said. “It’s designed to fund innovation, which will allow Canadian investment to be more competitive than their American counterparts.”
Alberta’s carbon levy will begin at a rate of $20 per tonne beginning Jan. 1. One year later, the levy will increase to $30 per tonne.