Today, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks Jeff Yurek made the following statement regarding the future of Ontario’s Emissions Performance Standards (EPS) program:
“After over a year of discussions, we are very pleased that the federal government has accepted our made-in-Ontario Emissions Performance Standards (EPS) program as an alternative to the federal output-based pricing system. Our program regulates greenhouse gas emissions from large industrial facilities, setting the standards for lowering emissions that facilities are required to meet. If an industry does not meet the standard, it will have to pay.
The EPS program is one of Ontario’s Environment Plan commitments and is a key program in making polluters accountable for their greenhouse gas emissions with a system that is tough but fair, cost-effective and flexible to the needs and circumstances of our province.
This program rewards innovation amongst industrial facilities in Ontario and punishes bad behaviour. The more emissions the facility is able to reduce, the less they have to pay for their pollution. In fact, facilities can get credits for any reductions that surpass the standard, which they can then sell or trade to other emitters in the program.
Ontario’s approach does not enforce a blanket cap on emissions across Ontario and takes into consideration specific industry and facility conditions while allowing for economic growth. These regulations include a tailored approach appropriate to the specific regulated industry.
This program is our alternative to the federally imposed output-based pricing system. It is a more tailored program for Ontario’s environment and economy because it helps us achieve emission reductions from big polluters and achieve our share of Canada’s 2030 emissions reduction target without driving away business and job creators.
Unlike the federal government’s output-based pricing system, the EPS program phases-in stringency over time – saving Ontario industries the initial shock that is present in the federal plan and giving industry more time to meet its obligations. Ontario’s regulation covers the very same polluters as the federal system – there are no free passes, and no one is off the hook.
I strongly believe that it is a better program for Ontario’s environment and economy, and I am proud of Ontario’s EPS program. This program balances our province’s plan to fight climate change, as we work towards our 2030 greenhouse gas reduction targets under the Paris agreement, with economic growth as economies in Ontario and across Canada are struggling due to impacts of COVID-19. Having an EPS program in place in this province will give regulatory certainty and minimize costs for industry during this time of unprecedented challenge.
We will immediately get to work with the federal government to ensure a smooth transition for industry and to ensure there is clear understanding around compliance requirements.
With the help of our partners in industry and the federal government, I am confident that our made-in-Ontario plan is the best plan for our province, with important benefits for the health of our people and our economy, for generations to come.”