News / Calgary

Carbon Tax changes could make money for some Albertans

The next phase of the Alberta Carbon Levy went into effect on New Year's Day.

The Carbon Tax could add a few extra cents to gasoline prices at the pump.

File / The Canadian Press

The Carbon Tax could add a few extra cents to gasoline prices at the pump.

For Albertans, New Year’s Day marks an increase into the province-wide Carbon Tax – but it also comes with a boost in rebates as well.

The carbon levy has now increased from $20 per tonne to $30 per tonne of carbon dioxide emissions. The government said revenues from the levy will be invested in Alberta through green infrastructure, energy efficiency, renewable energy, bioenergy and innovation.

Officials say the carbon tax has helped improve Alberta’s economic outlook.

“Since 2015, our plan has supported mortgage-paying jobs, built an entirely new and long overdue energy efficiency industry, and put a meaningful dent in emissions reductions,” said Shannon Phillips, Minister responsible for the Climate Change Office.

Opposition Leader Jason Kenney of the United Conservative Party took to social media on New Year’s Eve, posting a video of him filling up at the pump and criticizing the carbon tax increase. He promised a repeal would be his party’s first bill should they be elected.

How the carbon tax affects you

According to University of Calgary professor and Economist Trevor Tombe, lower and middle class Albertans should see the majority of the carbon tax costs returned to them via rebate, and might actually make some money from it.

There are three main ways the average Albertan household will be affected.

First, there will be two to three extra cents added to gasoline prices.

Second, the average household will see extra costs added to heating their home through natural gas lines, by about 50 cents per gigajoule.

“Your average household, based on the amount of gasoline and natural gas usage of a typical household, combined will add up to about $15 a month on natural gas, and roughly the same on gasoline,” Tombe explained.

Finally, businesses still need to heat their space and transport goods, and those expenses will be passed on to consumers, who can expect to pay an extra $100 to $150 in 2018 for goods and services.

In all, Tombe estimates the average Alberta household will see an increase in costs of about $450 due to the carbon tax.

For low income households that earn less than $60,000, 80 per cent of them will see cash rebates that are actually higher than the amount they paid in carbon taxes all year, putting them out ahead.

According to the Alberta government, a couple earning up to $95,000 per year will receive a rebate of $450. A couple with two children earning up to $95,000 per year will receive a rebate of $540.

Albertans do not have to apply to receive the rebate, but must file their 2016 and subsequent income tax returns to be eligible, and it is non-taxable.

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