$116 Million Spent on Carbon Tax Paperwork Since 2019, Federal Records Show
Canada’s Treasury has spent more than $116 million on carbon tax-related paperwork since 2019 after the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act received royal assent in 2018 and went into effect a year later.
Treasury Secretary Diane Lebouthillier told the House of Commons in a recent Department inquiry that $116.53 million has been spent since 2019 and 333 staff are now tasked with collecting fuel charges and processing rebates after Conservative MP Chris Warkentin had requested the numbers, according to Blacklock’s reporter.
Warkentin asked, “What is the annual cost of managing the carbon tax collection and rebate program, and how many staff or full-time equivalents are dedicated to working on the carbon tax collection and carbon rebate program?”
The cost of collecting the carbon tax was $100.73 million — with $25.27 million in 2019-20, $37.04 million in 2020-21 and 38 $.41 million in 2021-22. Just over 300 full-time equivalents were tasked with collecting fuel charges in the 2021/22 financial year.
Another 33 employees were tasked with processing rebates in the last fiscal year to offset some of the cost of heating, commuting and other expenses. Total operating expenses for administering the rebate program totaled $15.8 million – with $7.95 million in 2019-20 and $3.5 million and $4.36 million in the years 2020-21 and 2021-22 respectively.
‘Loss for the year’
Rebates were paid to four provinces last year, namely Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Effective July 1, 2023, the program will be expanded to residents of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland & Labrador.
Treasury Secretary Chrystia Freeland claimed that most households receive more in rebates than they pay in carbon taxes.
“What’s important about the price of pollution in Canada is that all proceeds are returned to Canadians,” she said in a Nov. 22 news release.
“Eight out of 10 Canadian households that receive climate change incentive payments receive more money back in their bank accounts than the price of pollution costs them. And these regular payments benefit low-income households in particular.”
A report published by the Parliamentary Budget Office on March 24 takes a different view. It has been argued that “most households will experience a net loss” from federal carbon pricing in 2030-31.
“When the economic impact is combined with the tax impact, the net carbon cost increases for all households, reflecting the overall negative economic impact of the federal carbon tax,” says the report, titled “A Distributional Analysis Of Federal Carbon Pricing Under A Healthy Environment and Economy.”
The report estimates that the net loss per household by 2030-31 would average between $1,000 and over $2,000 in these provinces: Manitoba ($1,145), Ontario ($1,461), Saskatchewan ($1,464 ) and Alberta ($2,282).