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Canada becomes first country to issue climate income cheques
Sudbury, Ontario—On Friday, July 15th, 2022 Canadians living in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta—provinces where the federal pollution pricing system applies—will receive their first quarterly Climate Action Incentive payment. Thus, Canada becomes the first country in the world to issue direct payments back to citizens from the pollution fee levied on carbon based fuels.
Starting in 2019, oil, coal, and natural gas distributors were charged a pollution fee of $10 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), rising by $10 per year to $170 per tonne CO2e in 2030. The carbon fee for this pollution pricing policy is revenue-neutral. Between 2019 and 2021 the revenue was recycled back to the citizens in their income taxes “climate action incentive“. Of note, 80% of households come out ahead, a finding confirmed by the Parliamentary Budget Office and Clean Prosperity.
This quarterly delivery, which replaces an annual credit from previous years, will ensure that Canadians receive payments on a more regular basis. The first payment will be a “double-up” payment that will return proceeds from the first two quarters of the 2022‒23 year (April–June, and July–September). Quarterly payments will follow in October 2022 and January 2023. Canadians can register for direct deposit to ensure that payment is fast, convenient and secure.
For the 2022‒23 fiscal year, a family of four will receive $745 in Ontario, $832 in Manitoba, $1,101 in Saskatchewan, and $1,079 in Alberta. Families in rural and small communities are eligible to receive an extra 10 percent.
For almost 12 years, Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada (CCL Canada) has been meeting monthly, sending out actions to volunteers on a monthly basis and diligently recording their actions and progress. They have been focused on Canada enacting a carbon pricing policy where the revenue from the pollution fees is returned back to citizens. This policy has two names globally: carbon fee and dividend or climate income.
On October 16, 2018, just prior to PM Trudeau’s announcement that it will no longer be free to pollute in Canada, now-retired Albertan Senator Grant Mitchell said to them, “You are one of the most successful lobbying groups I have worked with because you are about to get what you lobbied for.”
In 2020, CCL Canada secured 1,249 signatures on a Parliamentary Petition sponsored by the Member of Parliament for Nickel Belt, Marc Serre. The petition called for the revenues collected from Canada’s pollution pricing to be distributed as cheques or bank deposits. They were thrilled when the intention of the government to do exactly that was announced in December 2020.
Peer-reviewed research published in a November 2021 article in Nature reported that it will be possible to reach a 2ºC target while also increasing wellbeing, reducing inequality, and alleviating poverty globally if countries enacted a carbon fee with an equal per capita dividend policy. Thus, with a few more policies in play in addition to carbon fees with dividends, the 1.5ºC goal could be reached while reducing inequality at the same time.
Currently, Austria is about to operationalize a carbon fee and dividend-like policy in the fall of 2022, and Switzerland has a form of carbon fee and dividend.
Climate Leaders Around the World Praise Canada’s Carbon Pricing Policy
“A huge step — Canada may lead the world to understand that carbon fee and dividend is essential to solve the climate crisis.”
Director Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions Program
Columbia University Earth Institute
“Direct Climate Action Incentive payments to Canadians will enhance household incomes while the energy transition unfolds. The Canadian model is an example to other countries, both in the overall structure of the national pollution pricing plan and in the way it responds to persistent and detailed advocacy by Canadian citizens.”
Citizens’ Climate International
“Receiving cheques from pollution pricing is literally a dream come true. I want to take this moment to thank all the unsung heroes who made this happen in Canada. Your attention to the CCL-way and your Canadian politeness is why this happened. WE DID IT!”
National Director of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) Canada
Director of Programs at Citizens’ Climate International (CCI)
“This is wonderful news for Australia as we begin to engage with our new government and they figure out how to use their better-than-expected mandate to address climate change. It’s great to have Canada leading the way as our society and political economy is similar to ours.”
National Chair CCL Australia
“In every climate conversation we have, CCL Canada’s successes creating fair carbon pricing almost invariably arises. Canada provides us a beacon we work towards and a constant reminder of hope. You led the way and now we follow.”
Chapter Lead, CCL Scotland
“Justice is a tool of leadership. Through leadership, justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done to all. The people of the Great White North have shown the world how to push on marching through the natural maple forests to the light at the end of the tunnel. CCL Canada, you did this without violence. CCI Ghana and CCI Africa are grateful for the precedent set.”
Kwamee Kwame, Frederick E Apana, Cedric Dzelu
On behalf of CCI Ghana
“This is groundbreaking for Canada and the entire world; carbon pricing is the most effective tool to make polluters pay and climate income will propel its universal adoption. The economies of the Global South have a working model for reference in planning for a just transition. The future is here.”
CCL Leader in India
“Delightful example of how to address the energy and cost of living crises for households in a way that solves the longer term climate crisis. This is counter intuitive for many politicians, so it’s impressive to see some EU member states starting down the same path.”
Chairperson – Citizens’ Climate Europe
“We receive this news with great excitement and interest. Canada’s climate income policy marks a breakthrough in the fight against the climate crisis and provides an example of scientifically effective and socially just policies that can be implemented in other countries.”
Alba Pena and Jorge Martinez
Chapter co-leads, CCL Mexico
“Great news. A check or direct transfer to citizens is the best way to make climate income visible and an essential tool for raising awareness and educating about the need to change our behavior to adapt to climate change. Canada shows us the way.”
Dr. Rafael Pinilla
CCL leader in Spain
“I always reference Canada wherever I talk about Carbon Pricing. It is evident of the efforts Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada has put in championing for a price on pollution as it has come the first to pay her citizens Carbon dividends. It’s so encouraging and puts the fight for climate action to be achievable once citizens take the initiative through support from the government. Yes We Can.”
CCI Volunteer, Kenya
“Cheering for Canadian citizens. Although France had implemented a carbon fee as well, recycling the revenues back to families was the crucially missing part. Very glad Canada is leading the way in climate action with such a smart, sustainable and fair policy. We aim for the same!”
Chapter co-Lead, CCL France
“We are thrilled to hear the news from Canada! By implementing the “climate action incentive” it is setting an example and showing the world that it is possible to act on climate, hearing the science and the citizens, while protecting the economy and the communities. Hopefully this will inspire other countries to do the same.”
Chapter leader, CCL Colombia
“Climate income cheques to the Canadian have significance that is more a symbolic than a monetary benefit. The Canadian example is set to be followed by the rest of the world that will certainly help reduce emissions while paving the way to wider Loss and Damage justifiable claims by the victims of climate change. Moving forward, the marvelous achievements of goals by CCL Canada is going to provide impetus to the global movement.”
Chapter Leader, CCL Lahore, Pakistan
About Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada
CCL Canada is a volunteer-driven and non-partisan organization. Since 2010, they have been focused on advocating for an incrementally increasing price on carbon pollution, with 100% of the revenue returned directly and equitably to citizens.
Between 2010 and 2015, CCL Canada grew to 28 chapters in 70 ridings, conducted 3 national conferences, lobbied about 250 times, produced professional TV commercials and documented 865 times their words appeared in newspapers. Between 2016 and 2017 they grew to 36 chapters covering 85 ridings, conducted 5 national conferences, lobbied 489 times, recorded 1302 appearances in newspapers and sent 1,548 letters to parliament. In 2018 they grew to 38 chapters covering about 100 ridings, conducted 2 national conferences, 728 appearances in newspapers and recorded 525 letters sent to parliament.
In October 2018 they were 13th time lucky lobbying on Parliament Hill. That is when they found out Canada would be enacting a climate income policy.
CCL Canada continued to lobby for improvements to the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act. In 2020, they secured 1,249 signatures on a Parliamentary Petition sponsored by MP Marc Serre that called for the revenues collected from Canada’s pollution pricing to be distributed as cheques or bank deposits. They were thrilled when the intention of the government to do exactly that was announced in December 2020.
Currently, CCL Canada has 41 active chapters and their volunteers are continuing to lobby for improvements to the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act. As of July 13, 2022 CCL Canada volunteers have recorded 54 lobbying sessions, 354 media publications, sent 349 letters to their MPs asking them to act on the GHG pollution problem of the anaesthetic gas Desflurane and sent 321 letters to the G7 leaders asking them to “Steer Us To Safety”. They also conducted a national conference in May called “Keeping it Polite.”