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Ontario set for last cap-and-trade auction before joining Quebec and California

Ontario's final cap-and-trade auction before entering a joint market with Quebec and California next year is set for today.
Ontario's final cap-and-trade auction before entering a joint market with Quebec and California next year is set for today. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File

TORONTO – Ontario’s final cap-and-trade auction before entering a joint market with Quebec and California next year is set for today.

The province launched the program aimed at lowering greenhouse gas emissions this year and has seen three sell-out auctions, bringing in about $1.5 billion for green projects.

READ MORE: Ontario government’s second cap-and-trade auction sells out of current allowances

The system puts caps on the amount of pollution companies in certain industries can emit, and if they exceed those limits they must buy allowances at auction or from other companies that come in under their limits.

As of Jan. 1, Ontario will join Quebec and California’s carbon market, which has also seen three sold out auctions in a row for current credits.

READ MORE: Ontario cap-and-trade revenues expected to be smaller than previous estimates

Critics in Ontario have slammed both the cost to consumers – an extra 4.3 cents per litre to the price of gasoline and about $80 a year to natural gas home heating costs, as well as indirect costs – and the potential cost to the economy.

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The auditor general has said that when Ontario links its market with Quebec and California, an estimated $466 million will leave the Ontario economy over three years, because it will be cheaper to buy allowances from those jurisdictions.

VIDEO: Ontario cap-and-trade costs to remain hidden on home heating bills

Ontario cap-and-trade costs to remain hidden on home heating bills
Ontario cap-and-trade costs to remain hidden on home heating bills