Doug Ford’s long-awaited environmental plan leaves Ontario families shortchanged by hundreds of millions of dollars.
Announced yesterday to much fanfare, Ford’s plan focuses on incentivizing polluting businesses to become more environmentally friendly. The program is called The Ontario Carbon Trust and is a $400 million fund handed out to big corporations who reduce their emissions.
The previous Ontario government environmental plan was a cap and trade system which forced corporations to pay for polluting Ontario’s environment. The costs of pollution were born by companies, not Ontario families and the money raised by the program went to services like healthcare and education.
Ford’s decision to cancel cap and trade blew a $3 billion dollar hole in Ontario’s budget. The new plan makes the deficit even worse as it does not collect any money. Instead, it gives taxpayer money directly to corporations rather than punishing them for polluting our rivers, lakes and forests.
Even more troubling is that the plan doesn’t do anything to combat climate change. Environmental group Pembina estimates that it reduces Ontario’s climate targets by 27%. The organization had this to say about the program:
“This plan reverses years of progress and erases popular programs that led to economic growth and cleaner air for Ontarians. This reversal in direction is costing Ontarians job growth in clean, innovative industries and putting the environment at risk.”
Ford’s new environmental plan is nothing more than a handout to big corporations and will do nothing to improve Ontario’s environment.