The Ontario government is committed to fighting the increased costs to hospitals caused by the “burdensome federal carbon tax,” according to a news release from the province on April 3.
The release said that in the three days since the federal government imposed its carbon tax, hospitals across the province are already being affected by increased costs. Rod Phillips, minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, and Christine Elliott, deputy premier and minister of Health and Long-Term Care, were at Milton District Hospital on April 3 to talk about how the carbon tax will increase heating costs at local hospitals. The carbon tax will impact Ontario’s hospitals by increasing annual heating costs by $10.9 million in 2019, rising to $27.2 million in 2022, according to the release.
“The federal carbon tax will increase operation costs for hospitals in Ontario,” Elliott said. “Hospitals should be able to focus their resources on providing the quality, patient-centred care that Ontarians expect and deserve, and not have to deal with unnecessary rising operational costs. Our government is committed to ensuring money is being directed to front-line services – where it belongs – to improve patient experience, and provide better and connected care.”
For the $27.2 million in estimated costs, Ontario could offer 104,615 more MRI operating hours for an additional 157,000 patients or fund over 3,300 pacemaker implantations, according to the release. It also states that the goal of reducing emissions 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 in the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan aligns with the Federal Government’s Paris commitments without the inclusion of a carbon tax on “vulnerable groups in our province.”
“We know that the federal carbon tax will increase the cost to heat your home, fuel your car and feed your family,” Phillips said. “More than this, the carbon tax will also have an effect on the institutions that provide essential and life-saving services to the people of Ontario including hospitals.”
Ontario is part of a coalition of provinces including Saskatchewan and New Brunswick that have pledged to fight the federal government’s carbon tax. Ontario’s case challenging the constitutionality of the federal carbon tax will be heard by the Court of Appeal from April 15 to 18.
“Our plan serves as proof that you can both oppose a carbon tax and continue to do more to fight climate change – you don’t have to choose,” Phillips said. “Ontario deserves both a healthy environment and a healthy economy.”
Ginette Petitpas Taylor, minister of Health, and Catherine McKenna, minister of the Environment and Climate Change, responded in a joint statement, saying that Doug Ford continues to mislead Ontarians about the importance of climate change.
“While endangering Ontario’s health care system and closing Overdose Prevention Sites during a crisis, his government has done nothing as climate change threatens Ontarians’ health,” said the statement. “Refusing to take action, he prefers to incite fear about practical and proven measures like a putting a price on pollution.”
The statement also discussed the possibility of higher healthcare costs due to climate change and said that by refusing to address climate change, Ford would add 30 million additional tons of carbon pollution into the air.
“The cost of climate change is already taking a toll on health care, which is why 10 per cent of the revenues in Ontario will support hospitals, schools, small businesses and communities – with the other 90 per cent going directly back to Ontarians,” said the statement, adding that the Climate Action Incentive rebate aims to help Ontario families. “While we’re fighting to make life better for Ontarians and putting more money in their pockets, Doug Ford wants to make pollution free again and put public services in jeopardy.”
See a table of cost estimates for local hospitals and read quick facts about the carbon tax below.
Estimated Total Costs Under Federal Carbon Charge
|Haliburton Highlands Health Services Corporation (Haliburton)||$8,602||$12,893||$17,187||$21,481|
|Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (Huntsville)||$50,582||$75,937||$101,293||$126,648|
|Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (Orillia)||$74,012||$111,113||$148,214||$185,314|
|Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (Barrie)||$160,217||$240,530||$320,844||$401,157|
|Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care (Penetanguishene)||$33,731||$50,639||$67,548||$84,457|
|West Parry Sound Health Centre (Parry Sound)||$44,635||$67,009||$89,383||$111,757|
Quick facts about the carbon tax from the Ontario Government
- Starting January 1, 2019, the federal government’s output-based pricing system for large emitters came into force.
- The federal carbon tax will cost a typical household $258/year in 2019 and will rise to $648 by 2022.
- The federal carbon tax on fuels came into effect on April 1, 2019. It will increase the price of gasoline in Ontario by 4.4 cents per litre. This will rise to 6.6 cents in 2020, 8.8 cents in 2021, and 11.1 cents per litre in April 2022.
- The federal carbon tax will increase the price of natural gas in Ontario by 3.9 cents per cubic metre. This increase will rise to 5.9 cents in 2020, 7.8 cents in 2021, and 9.8 cents per cubic metre in April 2022.
- The federal carbon tax will increase the price of diesel by 5.4 cents per litre in 2019, rising to 13.4 cents by 2022.
- In a survey of business owners in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business found that 87 per cent opposed this federal carbon tax plan.