Carbon Pricing

Written by Curtis Andre

Written by Curtis Andre

In a couple of weeks, the federal carbon pollution pricing system will apply in Ontario. We had some questions as you may have and we found some answers and solutions that we’d like to share with you.

From the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (excerpts):

“Protecting the environment and growing the economy go together. In 2016, the federal government worked with provinces, territories, and with input from Indigenous Peoples on Canada’s first comprehensive climate action plan, which includes a stringent, fair, and efficient price on carbon pollution.

As part of Canada’s plan, provinces and territories had the flexibility to maintain or develop a carbon pollution pricing system that works for their circumstances, provided it meets the federal standard. The Government of Canada worked with provinces and territories on this for over two years.

On July 3, 2018, the Government of Ontario ended its climate plan, including its cap-and-trade pollution pricing system. This has resulted in a projected annual increase of emissions of approximately 48 million tonnes of carbon pollution in 2030, equivalent to the emissions from about 30 coal-fired electricity units. The province has also cancelled their investments in energy efficiency and low-carbon projects that help schools, businesses, and hospitals reduce emissions and reduce costs, therefore costing Ontarians money and good jobs.”

“...under the federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act larger industrial facilities, an output-based pricing system for emissions-intensive trade-exposed (EITE) industries will start applying in January 2019. This will cover facilities emitting 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per year or more, with the ability for smaller EITE facilities that emit 10,000 tonnes of CO2e per year or more to voluntarily opt-in to the system over time. A charge applied to fossil fuels, generally paid by registered distributors (fuel producers and distributors), as set out in the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, Part 1, will start applying in April 2019.”

“The Government of Canada has committed to return all direct proceeds collected in Ontario, under the federal carbon pollution pricing backstop system through direct payments to families and investments to reduce emissions, save money, and create jobs. In Ontario, we will return the direct proceeds as follows:

  • Climate Action Incentive payments: Under the proposed approach, most of the proceeds the federal government collects from Ontario through the fuel charge will be returned directly to Ontario’s individuals and families through Climate Action Incentive Payments.

  • Support for particularly affected sectors: The remainder of fuel charge proceeds will be used to provide support to the province’s schools, hospitals, small and medium-sized businesses, colleges and universities, municipalities, not-for-profit organizations and Indigenous communities, which will help save money and create good jobs. In Ontario, this amount is estimated at $1.45 billion over the next five fiscal years.

  • Direct proceeds from industrial facilities under the federal output-based pricing system will be directed to supporting reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario.”

From recent media:

  • Carbon pricing will make a significant contribution towards meeting Canada’s greenhouse gas reduction target. A price on carbon could cut carbon pollution across Canada by 80 to 90 million tonnes in 2022, once all provinces and territories have systems that meet the federal standard. This is equivalent to taking 23-26 million cars off the road for a yea or shutting down 20-23 coal-fired power plants for a year. Without this contribution, more costly regulatory interventions would be needed to meet our target.

  • GDP growth would remain strong with pan-Canadian carbon pricing. Applying the federal carbon pricing system to the nine provinces and territories that are not pricing carbon pollution today would not be expected to have any significant impact on national economic growth rates in the context of a more than $2 trillion economy. It is also likely to stimulate innovation, investments in clean technology and benefit long-term growth opportunities, although these benefits are not included in the modelling analysis.

  • The numbers to date agree. British Columbia saw net emissions fall by 4.7 per cent over eight years after putting in a carbon tax, and for an example outside of Canada, Sweden has seen emissions fall by 26 per cent since implementing a carbon tax in 1991 alongside an existing energy tax. By comparison, Saskatchewan — which does not have a carbon tax — saw heavy increases in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990-2015.

At Sustainable Kingston we support the transition to a low-carbon economy, and have been helping our business members cut carbon emissions and reduce environmental impacts for the last 3 years.

The transition is happening and businesses are responding; businesses who know that change means opportunity. In this case, we know that businesses who embrace the low-carbon economy, will not only gain credibility with consumers but will also see an economic advantage in the immediate term.

We know from working on the ground with businesses owners (especially SME’s) that these are busy people with often limited time and resources.  It can be tough to know where to start. But when given the opportunity to take action, many of our business members have seen amazing short and long term benefits that save money for their organization and minimize impact to our environment.

The sooner that local businesses can reduce their carbon emissions, the stronger and more competitive they will become.  We’ve seen this through our network of members at Sustainable Kingston and we welcome local business owners to contact us and let us help you make that transition. The low carbon economy is simply a better way to do business. is about connecting people who care to businesses that are making a measurable difference in sustainability. The .eco domain signifies a trusted and global branding for businesses/groups that are committed to the sustainable future of the planet. By obtaining this domain, has joined a community that is taking action and making real positive change.

For Business

If your business is committed to measurable sustainability and you would like to join our program please send us an email at There are 12 badges that businesses can apply for and be awarded upon fulfilling the requirements. Badges have been developed with great care by the team taking into account the six priority areas and complying with ISEAL's mission, codes of good practice, and credibility principles. Current members may directly contact your program manager for information on how to apply for additional badges.

A membership will allow your business to:

-Promote your sustainable practices to your existing and potential customers

-Attract environmentally minded clients to find you from the local to national level

-Provide cost-effective, third-party validation of your carbon footprint reduction

-Have a highly visible profile in a network of over 250 businesses across Canada that are significantly and measurably sustainable -

-Get free tickets to signature events and sustainability workshops

-Gain access to our qualified staff to assist you with your Green Team projects!

For People

Our site is designed to empower people to use their purchasing power to support organizations that care, and that are committed to making a positive difference in our future.

Every business featured on our site is taking measurable action towards creating a more resilient and livable future and has provided us with proof of their actions.

Is your favorite business not listed here? Send us an email at with their information and we can take it from there.

A Circular Economy

Written by SK intern, Jadon Hook

Written by SK intern, Jadon Hook

Canada generated 11.5 million tonnes of waste in 2014 [1], which averages out to about a tonne of waste per person annually in Ontario. Only 25% of our waste this past decade has been recycled which means we are annually sending close to 8 million tonnes to landfills.

What is the solution to reducing our waste footprint? Transitioning into a circular economy.

What is a Circular Economy?

A circular economy is a sustainable model that looks to eliminate waste not just from the recycling process but in a resource or products lifecycle. Moving away from the traditional linear “make, use, and dispose” model, a circular economy looks to maximize our resources while minimizing our waste and footprint.


Circular Economy.jpg

Fig. 1.1 [1]

Following these steps will increase waste reduction starting in the design of the products themselves. A company can design its products to have less packaging, use less raw materials, and reuse old materials so they are diverted from landfills.

Why Transition into a Circular Economy?

To meet environmental priorities moving towards a circular economy will drive businesses towards innovation, sustainable growth, and stimulate business development while diverting waste from landfills and maximizing current resources.

Companies integrating more sustainable designs into their products can reduce waste from excess packaging or unnecessary resources but that also results in cost savings which every business can get behind.

The circular economy model can create jobs, raise our gross domestic product (GDP), and save taxpayers money! According to Statistics Canada, local government expenses for waste is about $1.8 billion in 2004 to $3.2 billion in 2013. A study by Stats. Canada also said Ontario can create 10 times more jobs in waste diversion programs as opposed to waste disposal [2]. The study also estimated that 7 jobs are created every 1000 tonnes of waste diverted [2].

A circular economy encourages businesses to become more innovative and implement higher-quality and long-lasting features into product designs which can create better products for consumers to buy.

With the waste sector generating 6% of all greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in Canada [1] this presents an opportunity to divert our Co2 emissions even further while promoting sustainable business development.

The Role of the Consumer

The circular economy does not just mean businesses changing but also a cultural shift in the consumers and individuals. Voting with your wallet has always and remains a consumer’s greatest asset to change how a business operates. Reward businesses who integrate sustainable practices with purchases instead of going for the cheaper option from a less sustainable source.

Saying no to plastic bags, straws, cutlery and using reusable options instead will stop businesses from purchasing these single-use plastic items and move towards innovative alternatives. You can find local businesses that use these practices on our map!

Other methods that consumers can follow to promote a circular economy are:

-          Getting the most out of clothing and other products- repair, reuse, recycle

-          Choose slow fashion-focused companies- What is slow fashion?

-          Promoting the companies who strive to bring sustainable action

-          Buy quality, over quantity

-          Meal plan to avoid food waste

-          Adapt a zero-waste lifestyle- guide on becoming zero-waste

How can we Achieve a Circular Economy?

Ontario specifically has outlined a goal and strategic plan for the transition into a circular economy you can read the full report here!

The goals are to achieve a zero-waste Ontario and achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions from the waste sector.

Implementing the 3Rs (reuse, reduce, recycle) into policy and legislation will ensure businesses start following these 3 key principles. Developing and promoting diversion campaigns while also utilizing current programs like the Blue Box program!

This switch will require a group effort from government leaders, businesses, and most importantly individuals who want a cleaner greener future.


[1] Ontario Government, "Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario: Building the Circular Economy," 2017.

[2] Statistics Canada, "Waste Management Industry Study," Statistics Canada, 2004-2012.

Kingston Climate Change Symposium - Walking the Talk

Written by Tess Wittmann

Written by Tess Wittmann

Climate change is today’s most significant global threat to our quality of life. As a community, we have a responsibility to take action. The Kingston Climate Change Symposium is coming up on January 17th and we try our best to walk-the-talk when it comes to sustainability at our events. We want to make a statement and showcase the many simple and effective ways we can work to build a more livable and resilient city. We are proud to showcase several initiatives that will reduce the environmental impact of the event and promote Sustainable Kingston's Six Priority Areas. 

See the examples below of how Sustainable Kingston is doing its best to walk-the-talk!



We are working with the City of Kingston Solid Waste Division again this year to make The Kingston Climate Change Symposium a waste-free event.

Waste Sorting Stations, led by a small team of volunteers, will be provided at The Grand Theatre. They will take recycling and organics from attendees and dispose it into the appropriate bins, offering an educational element as well as ensuring effective waste diversion.

Surplus food for the event will be posted on to be donated to social service organizations who can put this food to great use. Anything that isn't picked up will be donated to Farm Sanctuaries.



In addition to supporting a waste-free initiative, we have partnered with local food vendors who will use reusable and compostable materials. Rather than bringing disposable plates, vendors will provide compostable or reusable serving dishes to reduce packaging wherever possible.

Culligan Water is graciously donating water refill stations, so attendees can fill up their reusable water bottles.

Copper Branch is sponsoring a vegan meal to further reduce the event's environmental impact.

Bread and Butter is sponsoring baked goods and The Tea Room is sponsoring coffee for our first break. There will even be oat milk as a vegan alternative to milk and cream for your hot beverage!



Sustainable Kingston is working with Carbonzero to offset the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the Kingston Climate Change Symposium. Sustainable Kingston is proud to recognize Carbonzero as its official offset sponsor. 



We are providing a student discount of $20 (43% discount from the original ticket fee) to inspire innovation and collaboration among the next generation.

This event will be a positive space event to support and welcome all members of the community.

We are also pushing to make this event as accessible as possible. A couple of examples include a wheelchair accessible event and an available water bowl for service dogs.



We are partnering with the City of Kingston to provide free bus transportation for ticket holders. Just show your ticket on January 17th and you can use the bus for free for the entire day. The downtown transfer point is only a 3-minute walk to the Grand Theatre! So, take the economic and environmental option and use sustainable transportation.