Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, 2016, S.O. 2016, c. 7


Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, 2016

S.o. 2016, chapter 7

Historical version for the period October 31, 2018 to November 13, 2018.

Note: This Act is repealed on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor. (See: 2018, c. 13, s. 16)

Last amendment: 2018, c. 13, s. 16.



Human-induced climate change is real and impacts are being experienced around the globe. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has concluded that warming of the climate is unequivocal and that most of the observed increase in global average temperature is due to human activity.

To prevent dangerous climate change, the global community has identified the objectives of holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures. A rise beyond 2 degrees Celsius poses the very real risk that countries around the world will experience irreversible damage to their environment. Such a rise in temperature poses a risk of irreversible widespread impacts on human and natural systems and threatens Ontario’s agricultural resources, natural areas and ecosystems, and economic well-being.

This risk justifies action to mitigate climate change, including reducing greenhouse gas that causes climate change. The global community is mobilizing around this goal through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its related agreements, and Ontario is committed to playing its part.

By taking action now, Ontario’s households and communities, infrastructure, agricultural resources, natural areas and ecosystems, including the Great Lakes and the boreal forest, will be better protected for the benefit and enjoyment of all. Ontario will also be well positioned to take advantage of the low-carbon economy through local job creation, an expanding low-carbon technology sector and other global economic opportunities.

All Ontarians have a role to play in addressing climate change, including understanding how Ontarians contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and changing their behaviour to reduce those emissions.

The Government of Ontario believes that the public interest requires a broad effort to reduce greenhouse gas and to build a cleaner and more prosperous Province. The Government will continue to involve and engage individuals, businesses, communities, municipalities, non-governmental organizations and First Nation and Métis communities in the ultimate goal of fostering a high-productivity low-carbon economy and society in Ontario.

First Nation and Métis communities have a special relationship with the environment and are deeply connected spiritually and culturally to the land, water, air and animals. They may offer their traditional ecological knowledge as the Government of Ontario develops specific actions.

The Government of Ontario cannot address this challenge alone. Collective action is required. As a leading sub-national jurisdiction, Ontario will participate in the international response to reduce greenhouse gas by establishing a carbon price. A key purpose of this Act is to establish a broad carbon price through a cap and trade program that will change the behaviour of everyone across the Province, including spurring low-carbon innovation. A cap and trade program in Ontario will allow Ontario to link to other regional cap and trade markets as part of the international, national and interprovincial responses to reduce greenhouse gas.

In addition to the carbon price signal and to further support the reduction of greenhouse gas, the Government of Ontario will pursue complementary actions to support and promote the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Enabled and supported by the cap and trade program and related actions, the Government of Ontario envisions, by 2050, a thriving society generating fewer or zero greenhouse gas emissions. Businesses and innovators will be creating world-leading low-carbon technologies and products that drive new economic growth, productivity and job creation. Ontarians will live, work and travel in sustainable ways in healthier and more liveable communities.

Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:




1 (1) In this Act,

“cap and trade accounts” means, in relation to a registered participant, the accounts established under section 22 for the participant; (“comptes du programme de plafonnement et d’échange”)

“compliance period” means the compliance period established under section 14; (“période de conformité”)

“credit” means an Ontario credit or an instrument created by a jurisdiction other than Ontario that, under section 38, is to be treated as a credit for the purposes of this Act; (“crédit”)

“Director” means a person appointed as a Director under section 72; (“directeur”)

“designated account agent” means an account agent designated under section 24; (“agent de comptes désigné”)

“emission allowance” means an Ontario emission allowance or an instrument created by a jurisdiction other than Ontario that, under section 38, is to be treated as an emission allowance for the purposes of this Act; (“quota d’émission”)

“Greenhouse Gas Reduction Account” means the account in the Public Accounts that is required by section 71; (“Compte de réduction des gaz à effet de serre”)

“mandatory participant” means a person who is required by section 15 to register or who is registered as a mandatory participant; (“participant assujetti”)

“market participant” means a person who is registered as a market participant under section 17; (“participant au marché”)

“Minister” means the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change or such other member of the Executive Council as may be assigned the administration of this Act under the Executive Council Act; (“ministre”)

“Ontario credit” means a credit created under section 35; (“crédit de l’Ontario”)

“Ontario emission allowance” means an emission allowance created under section 30; (“quota d’émission de l’Ontario”)

“person” includes an individual, corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, association or any other organization or entity; (“personne”)

“prescribed” means prescribed by a regulation made under this Act; (“prescrit”)

“provincial officer” means a person designated as a provincial officer under section 73; (“agent provincial”)

“public servant” means a public servant appointed under Part III of the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006; (“fonctionnaire”)

record” includes any information that is recorded or stored by means of any device; (“dossier”)

“registered participant” means a person who is registered under section 15, 16 or 17; (“participant inscrit”)

“voluntary participant” means a person who is registered as a voluntary participant under section 16. (“participant volontaire”)

Interpretation, amount of an emission allowance, credit

(2) A reference in this Act to the amount of an emission allowance or credit is a reference to the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that is represented by the allowance or credit.

Related persons

(3) For the purposes of this Act, a person is considered to be related to another person in such circumstances as may be prescribed by regulation.

Intention of the Legislature

(4) For greater certainty, all of the provisions of this Act, including Schedule 1, remain in full force and effect, even if some provisions are held to be invalid, the intention of the Legislature being to give separate and independent effect to the extent of its powers to every provision contained in this Act.


2 (1) Recognizing the critical environmental and economic challenge of climate change that is facing the global community, the purpose of this Act is to create a regulatory scheme,

(a) to reduce greenhouse gas in order to respond to climate change, to protect the environment and to assist Ontarians to transition to a low-carbon economy; and

(b) to enable Ontario to collaborate and coordinate its actions with similar actions in other jurisdictions in order to ensure the efficacy of its regulatory scheme in the context of a broader international effort to respond to climate change.


(2) The cap and trade program is a market mechanism established under this Act that is intended to encourage Ontarians to change their behaviour by influencing their economic decisions that directly or indirectly contribute to the emission of greenhouse gas.

Existing aboriginal or treaty rights

3 For greater certainty, nothing in this Act shall be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from the protection provided for the existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada as recognized and affirmed in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

Crown bound

4 This Act binds the Crown.

Greenhouse Gas

Greenhouse gas

5 This Act applies with respect to the following types of greenhouse gas and such other contaminants as may be prescribed as greenhouse gas by the regulations:

1. Carbon dioxide.

2. Methane.

3. Nitrous oxide.

4. Hydrofluorocarbons.

5. Perfluorocarbons.

6. Sulphur hexafluoride.

7. Nitrogen trifluoride.

Emission reduction targets

6 (1) The following targets are established for reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from the amount of emissions in Ontario calculated for 1990:

1. A reduction of 15 per cent by the end of 2020.

2. A reduction of 37 per cent by the end of 2030.

3. A reduction of 80 per cent by the end of 2050.


(2) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by regulation, increase the targets specified in subsection (1).

Interim targets

(3) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by regulation, establish interim targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.


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