Solar panels and energy tax in Canada
Energy & Household Trends, Solar Power

Canada needs a unified strategy on taxing energy

The CBC recently carried a story, P.E.I. man wants to know why he pays HST on electricity he generates himself, which left us scratching our heads. Honestly, this poor guy lives in a province where oil consumption for heating houses is exempt from HST, yet electricity is not, and legislation requires that he be taxed for generating it. Worse still? This man, whose solar panels are producing more electricity than he needs for his home, allowing him to sell the remainder through net metering to the grid, notes that the province’s customers then pay HST on what they use.

An article like this one illustrates approaches to carbon pricing in Alberta and Ontario, where oil is very much subject to taxing: http://www.macleans.ca/economy/economicanalysis/what-carbon-prices-in-alberta-and-ontario-will-cost-… Although taxed federally, as of late 2016 electricity consumption in Ontario no longer has the provincial portion (8%) of HST applied to consumers’ bills, whereas electricity pricing in Alberta remains steady following recent carbon pricing shifts.

Part of the problem with rationalizing energy pricing and taxation, of course, is the huge variation in energy generation infrastructure across the provinces and territories. Unlike Ontario, whose electricity is “90% emissions-free, thanks in part to Ontario’s early action to close coal-fired power generation” (source: https://www.ontario.ca/page/cap-and-trade-ontario), P.E.I. is in a much less fortunate position, with no active hydro-electric station, and a reliance on both out-of-province sources of electricity, as well as two in-province sources that are fired by diesel and oil.

None of the above really helps to explain how P.E.I. can tax someone who is generating clean electricity to contribute to a grid that is sorely lacking in local, clean sources of electricity, nor how it can fail to tax oil usage. The CBC story further explains that P.E.I.’s government and Maritime Electric claim that “federal tax law requires HST be charged to homeowners involved in net metering…[and that] homeowners could claim back the HST by registering as a business.” Are there any more hoops that homeowners should jump through in the name of nonsense?

While it may be understandably challenging for Canada to develop a unified and logical strategy on carbon taxing, there is an undeniable need for green solutions like solar electricity generation to be supported, not hindered! The future needs to be carbon-free, and solar panels are helping us to get there, along with individuals like the P.E.I. man who decided to build the most energy efficient home he could afford, unaware that the government would penalize him for doing so.

Sustainable valentine's day gifts from LoveFresh and other Canadian retailers
Simply Sustainable

Put a little green in your Valentine’s Day

A sustainable Valentine’s Day is fun and easy. We’re sharing our Top 10 List of Canadian inspired eco-friendly Valentine’s gifts and ideas – have fun! If you have one to add to your list, we would love to hear from you!

Flowers

The CBC offers a great article on why plants should replace flowers this Valentine’s Day: For a more sustainable Valentine’s Day, ditch flowers for a plant.

Seed Cards from Botanical Paperworks

Valentine cards from Botanical PaperworksFlowers and cards are two top sellers every Valentine’s Day.

Botanical Paperworks ingeniously combines this sweet duo into one with their eco-friendly Valentines which are handmade from post-consumer waste cardstock and feature embedded seeds.

Drink Red & White from Connect

Southbrook Vineyards from southern Ontario is very serious about good wine and the environment. Connect is pro-green. Choose any Connect to show you don’t obsess about food-matching, but you do get serious about the environment. Connect White and Red are both made from organically-grown grapes. This Ontario vintner uses lightweight bottles, sourced locally, that are made from glass collected in the Ontario Bag-it-Back program. Available from most LCBO outlets.

Giddy YoYo Chocolate

Canadian-made, Fair-Trade vegan chocolate from Giddy Yo Yo.The flavours are so rich that you won’t mind sharing a bar with someone you love.

Matt & Nat Bag

Matt & Nat purses and bagsThis Montreal-based, vegan company has a commitment to sustainable, eco-friendly design. Materials range from recycled nylons, cardboard, rubber and cork to recycled bicycle tires. Bag linings only made from 100% recycled plastic bottles.

The beauty of each bag is undeniable. Matt & Nat believes you should Live Beautifully.

Natural Beauty Products

LOVEFRESH is a Toronto-based luxury line of fun and natural beauty products that will keep your skin glowing. Think body butters, sugar scrubs, lotions and more.

Canadian Diamonds

When you see the CanadaMark logo inscribed on a diamond, you can be sure that it is completely natural, and free of treatments that are sometimes used to “improve” a diamond.

Red & White Hemp Fabrics

Efforts IndustriesHemp clothing made in Canada by Effort Industries has supplied eco-friendly hemp fabrics (Made in Canada) to environmentally conscious businesses across North America since 1994.

Clothing lines for women, men and kids, as well as accessories, fabrics, and home decor options.

Massage Oils from Saje Natural Wellness

Saje natural wellness offers something for everyone. Ingredients are derived from safe and renewable resources and haven’t been tested on animals. Packaging is simple and made of recycled or recyclable materials. The healing power of touch is right at your fingertips with essential oil blends in an organic, jojoba oil base.

Candlelight dinner? Soy Candles!

Campy Candles are handpoured in small batches using Eco Soy wax and a blend of phthalate free fragrance oils.

Wishing you and yours a very happy Valentine’s Day!