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Ontario winds up carbon cap-and-trade plan

Following the program's somewhat abrupt closure, Ontario shut the book on its carbon cap-and-trade program with a final payout of C$5.09 million in compensation to market participants.

Twenty-seven eligible entities received payments under the program, the government said in a March 25 statement. The province said the final tally was consistent with its own estimate of the costs for winding up the program and considerably less than the estimates made by critics of the action. Ontario raised about C$1.5 billion through emissions-credit sales under the program, which lasted less than a year.

Killing the program, through which Ontario participated in the Western Climate Initiative along with California and Quebec, was one of the key planks of the electoral platform of Premier Doug Ford, who won an upset victory over the governing Liberal Party in June 2018. Ford's Progressive Conservatives finalized legislation ending the program in late 2018 as part of a flurry of lawmaking that overturned that and other so-called green initiatives. The end of the program comes days ahead of the April 1 introduction of a federal tax on emissions.

"This closes the book on the cap-and-trade carbon tax era in Ontario," Ford said in the statement. "In one week, the federal government will impose a brand-new job-killing carbon tax, punishing the hardworking people of Ontario. Our government remains part of a growing coalition of provinces across Canada that oppose this cash grab, which raises the cost of essentials like home heating and gasoline."

Ontario derives the bulk of its baseload electric power from nuclear plants operated by Bruce Power LP and Ontario Power Generation Inc.