Government of Ontario Releases 2020 Budget
Minister of Finance Rod Phillips today released the Government of Ontario's 2020 budget, entitled Ontario's Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover (the Budget). The Budget is broadly focused on Ontario's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and projects approximately $187 billion in expenditures this year, including $30 billion in pandemic-specific spending, and a deficit of approximately $38.5 billion. This bulletin outlines key energy and climate highlights from today's Budget:
Proposal to reduce Global Adjustment costs for all electricity consumers effective January 1, 2021, by shifting the funding of payments to certain non-hydro renewable energy generators (i.e., wind, solar and bioenergy) from the rate base to the tax base. Class A and non-Regulated Price Plan (RPP) Class B customers are anticipated to save an average of approximately 14 and 16 per cent, respectively, on their electricity bills. The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) said that the proposal would not require any changes to its existing settlement processes with generators, consumers, or local distribution companies.
An investment of $20 million over four years to help conservation organizations purchase, restore, and manage new privately owned protected areas, through the Greenlands Conservation Partnership.
An announcement that the government may, subject to market conditions, issue another green bond before the end of the fiscal year. Ontario issued its eighth and largest green bond on October 6, 2020 for $1.5 billion.
Continued work on Ontario's multi-sector climate change impact assessment, anticipated to be released in 2022.
Proposed amendments to the following Acts:
Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 (to modernize OEB objectives by making innovation in the electricity sector a legislated objective of the OEB; to strengthen conflict of interest rules for OEB commissioners; to amend early access to land provisions to streamline approvals);
Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016 (to expand authority of the Lieutenant Governor in Council to make regulations that provide producers control over the design and establishment of a province-wide collection system for blue box materials);
Conservation Authorities Act (to further focus conservation authorities on their mandate and improve overall governance, oversight and accountability); and
Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994 (to enable forestry activities on Crown land to be conducted without the requirement for authorizations or orders under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (with new regulation-making authority for species at risk under the sustainable forest policy framework)).