Saskatchewan Trucking Association criticizes Supreme Court ruling on carbon tax

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan premier says Supreme Court ruling on carbon pricing ‘does not end’ province’s opposition' Saskatchewan premier says Supreme Court ruling on carbon pricing ‘does not end’ province’s opposition
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said on Thursday that the decision by the Supreme Court of Canada to allow the federal government to impose a so-called "carbon tax" on provinces “does not end our opposition to this costly and ineffective tax,” adding that “just because Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has the legal right to impose a carbon tax, I would say that it doesn’t mean that he should.” – Mar 25, 2021

The Saskatchewan Trucking Association (STA) claims the federal government’s carbon tax puts an undue cost on truck drivers and companies and is not supporting the industry move to greener technology.

Read more: Hoping for win in court, Alberta did not prepare carbon tax backup plan

The federal carbon tax recently increased on April 1. According to the Canada Revenue Agency, it will cost drivers an extra $0.0884 per litre to fill up with gasoline. According to the STA large trucks use light fuel oil, which will cost drivers an additional $0.1073 per litre.

Manager of policy and government relations at STA, Jordan Ewart, said fuel is essential to moving freight, food and even vaccines.

Ewart said it’s already costly to fill up a large truck, add that to carbon pricing at the tank, and one million litres of diesel fuel in 2021 would cost a driver about an extra $107,000 this year.

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In a press release, the Canadian Trucking Alliance estimates, based on diesel fuel consumption data, the trucking industry will pay $538 million in carbon pricing this year.

Ewart added that trucking organizations and associations like the STA are focusing their efforts on ensuring that those extra dollars captured by the government are coming back into the industries’ pockets.

“Whether that’s in the form of different equipment that will help vehicles become more fuel-efficient or aerodynamic, I’m not too sure what that looks like, but certainly these dollars need to be coming back to this industry if they want to help us and support us meet these environmental standards that are being set out,” Ewart told Global News.

Read more: Saskatchewan to bring in own carbon price on fuel following Supreme Court decision

Ewart said that the trucking industry in Saskatchewan and Canada is very supportive of meeting environmental standards, but it needs the government’s help to do so.

“We want to be a part of the solution, there’s no doubt about that, but it really doesn’t make sense to incorporate another tax that’s only an added cost now to doing business in Saskatchewan,” he said.

There have been tests in parts of the country with hydrogen fuel cell technologies and electric trucks, Ewart explained, but he said until the industry sees a competitive cost option to replace diesel, “it’s not going to go anywhere.”

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Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe announced in late March that the province would bring in its own tax after losing the Supreme Court battle.

Click to play video: 'Moe details measures Saskatchewan plans to take following Supreme Court ruling on carbon pricing' Moe details measures Saskatchewan plans to take following Supreme Court ruling on carbon pricing
Moe details measures Saskatchewan plans to take following Supreme Court ruling on carbon pricing – Mar 25, 2021

“The government will submit a proposal that will see Saskatchewan design its own carbon-pricing system for fuel … that will be similar to one the federal government has approved in the province of New Brunswick,” Moe said at an earlier press conference.

More on the Carbon Tax plan

The federal government’s carbon-tax-and-rebate program was introduced in 2018.

Under the Supreme Court’s ruling in late March, the federal government would collect the tax from Saskatchewan and then provide rebates to individuals filing tax claims in the province.

Revenue Canada estimates that the average household will receive about  $1,000 in rebates for 2020.

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The federal fuel charge came into effect on April 1, 2019 for several provinces including Saskatchewan. It is laid out in Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act. The rate reflects a carbon pollution price of $20 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2019, rising by $10 per tonne annually until it reaches $50 per tonne in 2022. The rates will increase every April 1.

The rates for fuel are based on “global warming potential factors and emission factors used by Environment and Climate Change Canada to report Canada’s emissions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.”

Moe added that introducing provincial legislation would allow for more control and flexibility in how carbon tax revenues are spent.

–with files from Canadian Press, Stephanie Taylor and Global News’ Brady Ratzlaff, Jonathan Guignard and Rachel Gilmore

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