Trudeau Liberals owe small businesses $2.5 billion in carbon rebates: report

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) estimates that small businesses pay nearly half of the federal carbon tax revenue but receive only 0.17% of all carbon rebates between 2019 and 2023. Enterprises in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba are owed $2.5 billion.

Trudeau Liberals owe small businesses $2.5 billion in carbon rebates: report
Remove Ads

Small businesses continue to wait on billions in carbon rebates from the federal government. The finance department has been “developing the specifics” for payouts since 2019. The Trudeau Liberals owe them $2.5 billion in carbon tax revenue, reported Blacklock’s Reporter. 

“There is no mechanism in place to return a dime to small businesses paying the federal carbon tax,” said Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

On a provincial basis, payouts amount to $1.3 billion in Ontario, $718 million in Alberta, $301 million in Saskatchewan, and $144 million in Manitoba. Rebates in Atlantic Canada have not been calculated as of writing.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) pledged reimbursement last fall, with compensation details expected in July.

"Despite the promises made, close to zero has been returned to small business," said Jasmin Guenette, CFIB vice president of national affairs. 

Michael Bernstein, executive director of the non-profit group Clean Prosperity, said that businesses contribute an estimated 25% to 35% in revenues. 

The ECCC has yet to clarify the proportion small businesses pay for the total carbon tax bill.

“While Federation calculations estimate small firms pay close to half the carbon tax revenue collected by [the] government, only 0.17 percent of all carbon tax revenues were returned to small businesses between 2019 and 2023,” said Fueling Unfairness: Carbon Pricing And Small Business.

When Ottawa introduced the federal carbon tax in 2018, it pledged a "revenue-neutral" tax, with nearly 89% of the proceeds ($11.4 billion) returned to households through rebates. The Trudeau Liberals allocated 7% of revenues to small and medium-sized businesses to fund projects that curb their greenhouse gas emissions and reduce their carbon tax bill.

In 2019, Environment Canada promised $155 million rebates for small businesses. That figure fell to $150 million, and its scope limited to subsidizing electric vehicles, high-efficiency appliances and building refits. The feds later cancelled the initial programs by year three, citing difficulty getting money out the door. 

Budget 2022 promised a new retrofit program for businesses, with $2.5 billion allocated for companies in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario by 2025. Additional funds are expected for the Maritime provinces.

“Increases in the carbon tax, coupled with minimal compensation, made the cost of doing business substantially higher, negatively impacting thousands of businesses,” reads Fueling Unfairness.

According to the Federation, three in five small businesses incurred 10% higher energy costs last year despite using the same amount of power in previous years.

“When these small business people come into my office and say, ‘My costs are going up, I have to lay someone off or cut someone’s pay,’ I’ll say to them that someday the government is going to announce a program,” said Opposition leader Pierre Poilievre.

“They can fill out a form and maybe staple on their receipts from gas and other expenses that have gone up, and maybe someone in Finance Canada or Environment Canada will reply to them and say, ‘Thanks for your letter,’” he added.

While the CFIB said most businesses (52%) dislike the carbon tax, most support offsetting their emissions and costs through retrofit grants. 

"Our research shows business owners care about the environment and take proactive steps to reduce their environmental footprint. But to date, they have received little or nothing in carbon tax revenues from the federal government," said Taylor Brown, senior CFIB policy analyst. 

If the carbon tax increases to $170 per tonne in 2030, over half (56%) of small businesses said they would have to increase their prices to offset costs, said Fueling Unfairness.

Over four in ten (45%) said it would increase pressure on them to freeze or cut salaries and wages, while 40% said they would have to reduce investment in their business. "Businesses want their money back," said Brown.

Remove Ads
Remove Ads

Don't Get Censored

Big Tech is censoring us. Sign up so we can always stay in touch.

Remove Ads