GOVERNMENT PASSES CARBON TAX FAIRNESS FOR FAMILIES ACT

On December 4, 2023, the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan unanimously passed The SaskEnergy (Carbon Tax Fairness for Families) Amendment Act.

“These legislative amendments will give our government, and me as minister, the sole authority and responsibility for decisions regarding the collection and remittance of the federal carbon tax on SaskEnergy bills while also providing protection for SaskEnergy employees and board members,” Minister Responsible for SaskEnergy Dustin Duncan said. “The passage of this legislation will enable our government to protect Saskatchewan families’ ability to afford to heat their homes this winter by removing the federal carbon tax from the natural gas bills of residential customers.”

The bill amends The SaskEnergy Act to designate the Crown as the sole registered distributor of natural gas in Saskatchewan, and invests all powers, rights, authorities, responsibilities and obligations for the purposes of Part 1 of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (Canada), to the Government of Saskatchewan. These authorities include providing the minister with the sole decision-making authority with respect to payment of any charge, tax, levy, remittance or other payment required by Part 1 of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (Canada).

Under this legislation, the Crown will indemnify SaskEnergy and all current and former directors, officers, employees, agents, members, affiliates and other representatives from all damages, costs, charges and expenses, including legal fees, that the corporation or individual incurs with respect to any civil, criminal, administrative, investigative or other matter in which the corporation or individual is implicated in relation to the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (Canada).

On October 30, Premier Scott Moe announced that SaskEnergy will stop collecting the carbon tax on January 1, 2024, in response to the federal government’s decision to stop charging the carbon tax on home heating oil, which primarily benefits families in Atlantic Canada. Moe said the federal government should extend the exemption to all forms of home heating, but if they refused to do that, the province would stop collecting the carbon tax on SaskEnergy bills.

The removal of the federal carbon tax from SaskEnergy bills, effective January 1, 2024, will save the average Saskatchewan family approximately $400 in 2024. The bill will receive Royal Assent on December 6, 2023.