Ontario Energy News: Weekly Roundup for April 15 to 21

  • April 15: Ontario's constitutional challenge to the federal carbon tax imposed under the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Price Act ("GGPPA") was heard before the Appeal Court for Ontario. The federal carbon tax came into effect on April 1, 2019, and applied to any province or territory that failed to meet Canada's national climate change standards.  The government of Ontario’s position is that the GGPPA: (1) intrudes upon the province’s constitutional right under s. 92 of the Constitutional Act to regular "property and civil rights in the provinces"; (2) the federal carbon tax is overly expansive in its depth and scope; (3) would allow the federal government to regulate "all human activity" in Ontario; and (4) undermines Canada's cooperative form of federalism.  The Ford government also highlighted the fact that (under the former liberal government), Ontario became the first jurisdiction in North America to achieve a 100% phase-out of coal-generated electricity.  The federal government's position was that climate change knows no geographic borders; it is an "urgent threat to humanity" that is interprovincial and international in nature, and that it is a matter of national concern. It also asserted that the federal act intrudes minimally on provincial powers in that it only applies to provinces or territories that don't meet national climate change standards.
  • April 15: Ontario Energy Board overhauled the rules who pays to upgrade power lines in remote parts of Ontario. Under the previous rules, if a new gold mine required $25 million in upgrades to the line while the line needed $100 million in upgrades or work, the company in question would be on the hook for the total $125 million cost. Under the new rules, the same company would be responsible for its portion of the upgrade, or would have to pay $25 million into the project. However, it is still up in the air as to who determines if the line itself needs complete upgrading. 
  • April 15: As part of its ongoing green initiative to be 50% emissions free by 2032 and 100% emissions free by 2040, the Toronto Transit Commission ("TTC") announced that its first of a fleet of 60 "zero emissions buses" was delivered and ready for testing before commissioning into circulation.
  • April 17: Albertans elects Jason Kenney and the United Conservative Party (UPC).  Transition into power began on Thursday, April 18, 2019.  Of particular note and among many other things, Kenney has vowed to fight Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Court on the federal carbon tax, and to get Trudeau defeated in the fall national election.
  • April 18: Greg Rickford, Ontario Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, and Todd Smith, Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, hold a public consultation on industrial electricity pricing design and programs with stakeholders in the Automotive Industry. 
  • April 19: Exercise caution this holiday weekend; keep children and pets away from waterways. With warmer weather ahead, significant rainfall, snow melts, unstable snow banks, thin (and falling) ice, higher than usual water levels, and high water flows, including near roadways and generating stations, OPG President of Renewable Energy cautions the public that water flows and levels can become dangerous very quickly and without notice.