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Money matters: The carbon tax and what it means for your wallet in N.S and N.B.

Click to play video: 'The carbon tax and what it means for your wallet in N.S. and N.B.'
The carbon tax and what it means for your wallet in N.S. and N.B.
WATCH: The carbon tax and what it means for your wallet in N.S. and N.B – Jun 29, 2023

As the carbon tax comes into effect this weekend, Atlantic Canadians will see a significant increase in fuel prices — a change that will only continue in the coming years.

Beginning this Saturday, Nova Scotia will see an additional 14 cents a litre for gasoline and just over 17 cents a litre for diesel.

Additionally, on July 7, the Clean Fuel Adjuster charge will be applied to wholesalers and gasoline will jump 3.74 cents a litre and diesel will increase by over 4 cents a litre.

“I think it’s important that we understand that that price is not going to go down any time soon,” said Atlantica Centre for Energy President Michelle Robichaud. “It’s going to continue to increase and we have to understand what that impact is on our own personal budgets, our businesses, etc.”

While the carbon tax isn’t new, it does impact Atlantic Canadians differently, as the highly dispersed population is much more reliant on fossil fuels.

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“Typically, our homes are heated — a good chunk of them — with fossil fuels like oil for example,” said Robichaud. “We are highly electrified. So, as we’re moving to an even more electrification in our society, it’s just going to cost more because all of that electrification costs more.”

The federal government looks to offset some of these new and rising costs with rebates.

A family of four in Atlantic Canada can expect four quarterly payments — different in every province: $248 in Nova Scotia; $184 in New Brunswick; $240 in P.E.I; and $328 in Newfoundland.

For New Brunswick this year, the first payment will arrive in October as a double payment. Payments will be issued in July, October and January for Nova Scotia, P.E.I and Newfoundland.

Click to play video: 'Nova Scotia to be hit hard by increase in fuel prices'
Nova Scotia to be hit hard by increase in fuel prices

“Putting a price on pollution has been, for a long time, amongst the best ways to contribute to reducing emissions,” said Dominic LeBlanc.

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The federal minister of intergovernmental affairs said, “We accept the challenge of ensuring that those that are least able to pay that cost are reimbursed. That’s why the federal plan returns money directly to the pocket of consumers.”

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) says small businesses are not seeing those rebates and will be deeply affected.

“Any business that finds itself with large fleets of vehicles will see their costs increase,” said CFIB Atlantic VP Louis-Philippe Gauthier. “Unfortunately, right now there is no mechanism for them to go get those taxes that they’ve paid into, while rebate cheques are flying over the skies to all of the consumers.”

He says these businesses are still carrying debt relating to the pandemic in many cases and have federal loans due at the end of the year.

“When you’re paying into a carbon tax where there’s no mechanisms for your business to get back the money it pays into it … you look at that and you ask yourself, ‘Is this fair?'”

Robichaud says behaviour changes by individuals and businesses will be necessary to keep up with costs.

“Atlantic Canadians are extremely resilient, and if they have the information and if they are prepared for this change, they’ll adapt.”

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