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Carbon and Greenhouse Gas Legislation in Nunavut

May 2021

Carbon Tax in the Territories 

Upagiaqtavut – Setting the Course: Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation in Nunavut

Nunavut has set out its approach to climate change in Upagiaqtavut – Setting the Course: Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation in Nunavut [PDF]. A central focus of the Upagiaqtavut document is an adaptation initiative strategy, which aims to increase adaptive capacity within Nunavut communities and is tailored around four main components or napuit:

  • partnership building
  • research and monitoring
  • education and outreach; and
  • government planning and policy. Specific action items taken to date include the establishment of permafrost monitoring stations throughout the territory and information collection initiatives on local water supplies.

Carbon pricing

The Nunavut Government has not implemented its own carbon pricing regime. As a result, the federal price on carbon came into effect in Nunavut on July 1, 2019 under the federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (the Act). The federal carbon levy applies in Nunavut at a rate of $40 per tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2021 and will rise yearly until it reaches $50 per tonne in 2022.

The Act has the following features:

  • For larger industrial facilities, an output-based pricing system for emissions-intensive trade-exposed (EITE) industries applies. It covers facilities emitting 50,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year or more, with the ability for smaller EITE facilities that emit 10,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions to voluntarily opt-in to the system over time. A charge applied to fossil fuels, generally paid by registered distributors (fuel producers and distributors).

Carbon pricing in Nunavut takes into account the territory’s special circumstances, including high costs of living and of energy, and challenges with food security. In this regard, the federal government has agreed to:

  • provide relief for fuels used for aviation in the territory. The fuel charge will apply to these fuels at a rate of $0/litre
  • provide fuel charge relief for diesel-fired electricity generation for remote communities

Nunavut Carbon Rebate

Launched in July 2019, the territorial government subsidizes half of the cost of the federal carbon price for fuel purchased at the pump by residents of Nunavut through the Nunavut Carbon Rebate. Consumers in Nunavut pay the other half when they purchase the fuel. This is similar to what is done through the Nunavut Electrical Subsidy Program, where the Department of Finance works with Qulliq Energy Corporation to subsidize the price of electricity for households and businesses.

In 2022, the territorial government will begin to slowly reduce the subsidy by 10% each year until the rebate phases out completely in 2028.

South Baffin Energy Management Project

On August 20, 2020, the federal government and the Government of Nunavut announced an investment to support the South Baffin Energy Management Project. This project aims to improve energy efficiency and introduce renewable energy in 45 provincially-owned government buildings in the South Baffin region. Over the course of this project, Nunavut is expected to see a cumulative reduction of about 24,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.