Alberta Repeals Its Carbon Tax Legislation

Author:Ms Chidinma Thompson and Bradon Willms
Profession:Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
 
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On June 3, 2019, Alberta's United Conservative Party government passed Bill 1 - An Act to Repeal the Carbon Tax (the Repeal Act). The Repeal Act received royal assent today, and is expected to be proclaimed imminently. Upon coming into force, the Repeal Act repeals the Climate Leadership Act,1 which enabled provincial carbon levies under the former NDP government. As a result of the Repeal Act, fuel purchasers will no longer be charged a provincial levy at the time of sale, and sellers and distributors will no longer be required to remit levies to the provincial government. However, this does not mean that Alberta is free from carbon tax. Alberta will soon become one of the federal backstop provinces. Albertans need to understand the federal carbon tax requirements, compliance methods and potential impacts resulting from the change in carbon regime.

Transitional Provisions and Administration of the Repeal Act

The Climate Leadership Act is repealed retroactively to May 30, 2019, and news reports indicate that the provincial government had already started implementing the changes as at May 30, 2019. For fuel purchased before the repeal date, but not yet taken into possession, no levy is deemed to have been payable at the time of purchase. 2 This effectively allows the purchasers to obtain a refund from the fuel seller. Further, anyone who owned fuel for the purposes of resale as of the repeal date, and who paid a carbon levy when they bought or imported the fuel, may file a report with the Alberta Minister of Energy by no later than June 29, 2019 requesting a refund of the levies paid. 3 This provides a mechanism for sellers to recover levies they paid on unsold fuel which they can no longer pass on to their purchasers.

Ordinarily, any obligations and liabilities that accrued under legislation prior to its repeal remain unaffected by the repeal, pursuant to section 35 of Alberta's Interpretation Act. 4 However, the Repeal Act deals with this by retroactively deeming those obligations to have ended. This ensures that any seller who was required to collect a carbon levy prior to the repeal, and had not done so, is no longer required by law to collect it. 5 The transitional provisions also ensure that notwithstanding the repeal, purchasers who would have been eligible for a refund or credit this year will still remain eligible. 6

Amendments to Other Legislation

The Repeal Act also makes several consequential amendments to other pieces of...

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