Small business to get rebates for some of the cost of energy efficiency projects

An official confirmed afterwards the plan will include rebate payments.

The federal government’s plan to ease the carbon-price burden on small businesses will include rebate payments to cover some of the cost of making energy-efficiency upgrades.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna — who kicked off a month-long carbon-price tour at a Canadian Tire store in her Ottawa Centre riding Monday morning — said the final details of the plan are being worked out with business associations.

“I want it to be a program that isn’t highly bureaucratic, where you can make investments and get the money back right away,” she said.

An official confirmed afterwards the plan will include rebate payments.

The federal carbon price of $20 per tonne of carbon dioxide will start being charged April 1 on fossil-fuel inputs in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick — the four provinces without an equivalent provincial carbon price.

The price goes up by $10 each year until it hits $50 a tonne in 2022, when the Liberals, should they be re-elected in the fall, have promised to review the program to determine where the price goes after that.

The Liberals expect to bring in about $2.3 billion over the next 12 months in the four provinces having the levy imposed on them, and McKenna says every cent will be returned to the provinces where it was raised.

READ MORE: NDP MP calls for Facebook investigation following UK media reports

About 90 per cent of the money will go to individuals when they file their income taxes in the coming weeks.

The remaining 10 per cent is earmarked for small businesses, municipalities, hospitals, universities and Indigenous communities to cover what they can’t pass on to consumers or their own taxpayers through higher prices.

The government expects to provide at least $1.46 billion over five years to small and medium-sized businesses, including $155 million in the fiscal year starting April 1. Hospitals, municipalities and other community organizations will share at least $727 million over five years, starting with $73 million in 2019-2020 fiscal year.

Monique Moreau, vice-president of national affairs for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said rebates for energy efficiencies might help companies that haven’t done much on that front already. But she also said that fewer than one-fifth of the CFIB’s members fall into that category.

Energy-efficiency rebates, she said, can also be quite complicated and have in the past required spending on an energy audit up front. Banks also don’t want to lend money for these projects, she said, making it hard to finance the work before getting the rebate.

The CFIB doesn’t want a carbon tax at all, but Moreau said if the government is moving on it, there should be other measures to offset the financial hit for business, such as cutting payroll taxes like Canada Pension Plan contributions. Those contributions are to grow over the next five years so the government can increase payments to retirees. Moreau said a reduction in employment-insurance premiums didn’t offset the rise in pension-plan costs, making CPP another hit to business, beyond the carbon price.

The small-business tax rate was cut from 10.5 per cent to nine per cent over the last two years, which is one thing Ottawa points to when discussing making operations more affordable for business.

READ MORE: Metro Vancouver home sales sluggish in February as prices keep falling

McKenna will spend most of March promoting the climate incentive payments for individuals, which range from $128 to $305 for a single adult, and $256 to $609 for a family of four. (She’s to be in Windsor, Ont., on Tuesday.) The payments vary by province based on different sources of energy, with Saskatchewan families paying more in the carbon price largely because they get most of their electricity from coal.

The Liberals are also launching a series of radio ads on the carbon price and rebates in the four affected provinces this week.

Mia Rabson and Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority to fall fake eagle tree at Ogden Point

Last year a fake tree was installed to try to entice eagles to stay in the area, without much success

Ambitious B.C. Aviation Museum need $10M to get iconic Lancaster back in the air

Volunteers flock to work on bomber, restoration expected to take 10 years

Saanich to potentially host first hydrogen fuel station on Vancouver Island

Station proposed for corner of Quadra Street and McKenzie Avenue

Three children to run Victoria as ‘Mayors’ on Tuesday

Local kids will be honorary mayors for a day

Langford man sentenced to 15 months for child pornography collection

Andre Mollon sentenced for posession of more than 1,000 child pornography images and 70 videos

Victoria hosts ‘Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave’

The hockey cave was recently featured on a Netflix special

Inspirational Vancouver Island youngster dies after battle with brain cancer

Kaiden Finley ‘was seriously the strongest 11-year-old’

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

B.C. NDP moves to provide tax credits, tax cut for LNG Canada

Provincial sales tax break of $596 million repayable after construction

Most Read