By December 12, 2017 Read More →

Saskatchewan releases climate plan without carbon tax, critics say won’t meet federal standards


Brad Wall, premier of Saskatchewan.

Oil and gas, electricity sectors exempted from carbon pricing

The Saskatchewan Government released a Climate Plan called Prairie Resilience: A Made-in-Saskatchewan Climate Change Strategy, which it says focuses on the principles of readiness and resilience, while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adapting to the effects of climate change – without a carbon tax.

Dustin Duncan, Saskatchewan Environment Minister.

“This plan is broader and bolder than a single policy such as a carbon tax and will achieve better and more meaningful outcomes over the long term. Our climate change strategy recognizes the investment and innovation that has taken place and sets out the road map for future actions.

“This is about protecting our people and communities as much as it is about working with industry and others to reduce emissions here in Saskatchewan,” Dustin Duncan said, Saskatchewan’s Environment Minister.

The strategy proposes actions in key areas, including natural systems; physical infrastructure; economic sustainability; community preparedness; and measuring, monitoring and reporting, according to the Saskatchewan Government press release.


The climate change strategy includes developing and implementing sector-specific output-based performance standards on large emitting facilities, such as those in oil and gas, and mining.

Those standards will be developed in consultation with industry throughout 2018 and will recognize actions already taken by industry to reduce emissions.

Flexible compliance options for industry that will be developed that will include:

  • Making improvements at facilities to reduce emissions intensity
  • Purchasing a carbon offset, representing a reduction in GHG emissions
  • Using best performance credits
  • Utilizing a market mechanism outlined in the Paris Accord, such as an internationally transferred mitigation outcome
  • Paying into a technology fund.

Dan Woynillowicz, policy director, Clean Energy Canada.

“The government of Saskatchewan continues to drag its heels on delivering policies to cut carbon pollution, instead opting for political grandstanding,” said Dan Woynillowicz, policy director at Clean Energy Canada.

“The province’s newly announced strategy is short on details and further delays any real policy implementation to 2019 or beyond. It has plenty of exploring, encouraging and further consulting with industry—but targets and detailed policies are absent.”

Duncan says that stakeholder consultations will begin in early 2018 and will refine the strategy and allow the province to implement regulations, resilience measures and reporting structures in 2018.

Saskatchewan has the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions in Canada and legal scholars have validated the federal government’s constitutional authority to impose a minimum carbon price, says Clean Energy Canada, and it is not clear yet whether Saskatchewan’s climate plan will meet federal requirements.

“The federal government has offered flexibility that allows provinces to design carbon pricing policies to suit their economy. Ironically, this ‘made in Saskatchewan’ approach to pollution pricing invites a ‘made in Ottawa’ approach to deliver results,” said Woynillowicz.

The climate change strategy’s use of approaches that put a price on carbon pollution would only apply to large industrial emitters, such as mining and manufacturing, but not to the oil and gas or electricity sectors, according to Woynillowicz.

electric semi-truck

Posted in: Canada

1 Comment on "Saskatchewan releases climate plan without carbon tax, critics say won’t meet federal standards"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Aldyen Donnelly says:

    Please note that the Manitoba legal opinion that “validated” the federal government’s authority to impose a minimum carbon tax on a province makes some assumptions that, so far, are not applicable to the feds’ actual proposal. So either the feds have to massively adjust thw structure of their minimum tax C proposal, or the referenced legal opinion impose not relevant.

    Perhaps this explains why the feds have elected to delay publication of their proposed minimum Ctax regulation until late 2018. We may, perhaps, also see another postponement announced at that time.