Small business to get rebates for some of the cost of energy efficiency projects

An official confirmed afterwards the plan will include rebate payments.

The federal government’s plan to ease the carbon-price burden on small businesses will include rebate payments to cover some of the cost of making energy-efficiency upgrades.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna — who kicked off a month-long carbon-price tour at a Canadian Tire store in her Ottawa Centre riding Monday morning — said the final details of the plan are being worked out with business associations.

“I want it to be a program that isn’t highly bureaucratic, where you can make investments and get the money back right away,” she said.

An official confirmed afterwards the plan will include rebate payments.

The federal carbon price of $20 per tonne of carbon dioxide will start being charged April 1 on fossil-fuel inputs in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick — the four provinces without an equivalent provincial carbon price.

The price goes up by $10 each year until it hits $50 a tonne in 2022, when the Liberals, should they be re-elected in the fall, have promised to review the program to determine where the price goes after that.

The Liberals expect to bring in about $2.3 billion over the next 12 months in the four provinces having the levy imposed on them, and McKenna says every cent will be returned to the provinces where it was raised.

READ MORE: NDP MP calls for Facebook investigation following UK media reports

About 90 per cent of the money will go to individuals when they file their income taxes in the coming weeks.

The remaining 10 per cent is earmarked for small businesses, municipalities, hospitals, universities and Indigenous communities to cover what they can’t pass on to consumers or their own taxpayers through higher prices.

The government expects to provide at least $1.46 billion over five years to small and medium-sized businesses, including $155 million in the fiscal year starting April 1. Hospitals, municipalities and other community organizations will share at least $727 million over five years, starting with $73 million in 2019-2020 fiscal year.

Monique Moreau, vice-president of national affairs for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said rebates for energy efficiencies might help companies that haven’t done much on that front already. But she also said that fewer than one-fifth of the CFIB’s members fall into that category.

Energy-efficiency rebates, she said, can also be quite complicated and have in the past required spending on an energy audit up front. Banks also don’t want to lend money for these projects, she said, making it hard to finance the work before getting the rebate.

The CFIB doesn’t want a carbon tax at all, but Moreau said if the government is moving on it, there should be other measures to offset the financial hit for business, such as cutting payroll taxes like Canada Pension Plan contributions. Those contributions are to grow over the next five years so the government can increase payments to retirees. Moreau said a reduction in employment-insurance premiums didn’t offset the rise in pension-plan costs, making CPP another hit to business, beyond the carbon price.

The small-business tax rate was cut from 10.5 per cent to nine per cent over the last two years, which is one thing Ottawa points to when discussing making operations more affordable for business.

READ MORE: Metro Vancouver home sales sluggish in February as prices keep falling

McKenna will spend most of March promoting the climate incentive payments for individuals, which range from $128 to $305 for a single adult, and $256 to $609 for a family of four. (She’s to be in Windsor, Ont., on Tuesday.) The payments vary by province based on different sources of energy, with Saskatchewan families paying more in the carbon price largely because they get most of their electricity from coal.

The Liberals are also launching a series of radio ads on the carbon price and rebates in the four affected provinces this week.

Mia Rabson and Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rosie and the Riveters storm Harrison stage

Retro-style trio performs on Feb. 29

Fraser Cascade’s author talk will discuss potlatch history, education

Davidson’s history and education come together for informative presentation

Homeless count is coming to the Fraser Valley to help track the numbers

Training Feb. 27 in Chilliwack to help volunteers adopt respectful and compassionate approach

Mya Onos gears up for B.C. Winter Games

The decorated speed skater starts competing Friday

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Winds up to 70 km/hr expected across Metro Vancouver

Winds are expected to subside overnight

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

Fraser Health warns some schools of possible COVID-19 exposure

A sixth COVID-19 patient is a woman in her 30s in the Fraser Health region who recently returned from Iran

High-risk sex offender cuts off ankle bracelet, on the loose in Vancouver: police

Vancouver police said Kirstjon Olson, 38, is a provincial sex offender with 27 court-ordered conditions

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Most Read