The City of Whitehorse will pay an estimated $126,000 in carbon tax in 2019, but it’s unclear whether the city will see a rebate on that expenditure. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)

Yukon government won’t release municipal carbon tax rebate details until May

Details of potential rebates for municipalities to be announced in May

The City of Whitehorse will pay an estimated $126,000 in carbon tax in 2019, but it’s unclear whether the city will see a rebate on that expenditure.

“At this point it wasn’t 100 per cent clear how the municipalities will fit in or what role they will have,” said Peter O’Blenes, director of infrastructure and operations with the City of Whitehorse.

O’Blenes was speaking during the April 16 standing committees meeting.

“However, it was clear that 2019, Jan. 1, the carbon tax will come into effect. And there is kind of an indirect carbon tax and a direct carbon tax. And the direct carbon tax will start immediately.”

O’Blenes told council the tax in 2019 will be $20 per ton of carbon emissions. By 2022, he said that will rise to $50 a ton, which will bring the annual carbon tax bill for the city to $328,000.

When Coun. Samson Hartland asked if the city would be eligible for any sort of rebate, O’Blenes said that was unknown at this point.

The issue came up in the legislature on April 17, when Yukon Party MLA Stacy Hassard asked if the government would exempt municipalities from the carbon tax.

Premier Sandy Silver said he anticipated having an announcement about municipal rebates at May’s Association of Yukon Communities annual general meeting, being held in Dawson City.

“We will have a rebate system that will be in place for 2019 when carbon pricing comes into effect,” said Silver.

When Hassard asked Silver to commit to giving municipalities back 100 per cent of their carbon tax dollars, John Streicker, minister of community services, responded.

“I did have a conversation with the Association of Yukon Communities in the fall when I talked about carbon pricing and said that we had designed our rebate to be 100 per cent back to Yukoners and Yukon businesses,” Streicker said.

“Following that, in further conversations with them, I invited them to put in a proposal to us, which we have received. I’m pleased that we will be providing an announcement at the Association of Yukon Communities AGM, and I thank them for coming to us.”

In the meantime, Hartland asked O’Blenes how city administration planned to handle the issue of budgeting when the question of a potential rebate hadn’t been answered.

“It sounds like we’re not quite clear how the money may be coming back, so in my view, there is the potential as of today, for an increased cost to the operating budget of the City of Whitehorse that may relate into a potential tax increase to cover said cost,” Hartland said. “How are we budgeting for these impending costs right now?”

O’Blenes said YG was working on it and would be getting back to the municipalities, letting them know how it would work.

He said that, come summer, when administration starts budgeting, the operating department will work with finance to come up with a plan.

Silver continued his assertion that the territory needs to wait for more information from Ottawa before it can decide what the rebate is going to look like.

“We are waiting for these things to be addressed: namely, carbon pricing policy should include revenue recycling to avoid a disproportionate burden to vulnerable people and to Indigenous groups, but also, carbon pricing policies should minimize competitiveness impacts and carbon leakage, particularly for emission-intensive trade-exposed sectors,” he said.

Last week, the territorial government released an analysis of the carbon tax’s impact on the Yukon that was completed by the federal government.

Not knowing what the territorial rebate program is going to look like was a “big hole” in the presentation, said Jonas Smith, executive director of the Klondike Placer Miners’ Association.

The report uses numbers from 2013 to try and project what the economy is going to look like in the future, he said.

“There’s an inherent lag in information which can be expected and therefore excused but it is very likely we are not going to have an analysis if this has had any impact at all until year five so that’s pretty frustrating,” Smith said.

Placer mining is energy-intensive, he said.

“There are not alternatives currently right now and as such the industry itself are already leaders in reducing consumption and improving efficiency. We do everything in our power. Fuel is our single largest expense. If there is an alternative out there we are all over it already.”

He suggested placer miners could be rebated what they spend on the carbon tax, similar to how they currently have their GST remitted.

“Placer miners are GST-exempt. We produce a product that’s price is set by an international market, we can’t pass along costs to our customers, the price is set. As such we collect our receipts and we submit them and we get the GST remitted.”

Silver continued to acknowledge that placer miners need to be considered but again gave few specifics.

“For years now, I have been saying that carbon-pricing mechanism should not penalize those who cannot otherwise change behaviours,” he said.

Silver said there are direct costs and indirect costs when it comes to carbon pricing.

”Our groceries that come up right now and our commodities that come up from our four major hubs, which are Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta, already have carbon pricing mechanisms, so you’re already feeling the indirect costs of the carbon pricing mechanism,” he said.

“However, the direct costs that will be felt at the pumps as of January — 100 per cent of that money — 100 per cent — will be given back to Yukoners and Yukon businesses.”

In a statement this morning, the Yukon Party said the price of diesel yesterday in Dawson City was $1.61 per litre.

According to documents provided by the federal government, the carbon tax will increase this by 13.69 cents per litre by 2022.

As a result of this price increase, a placer operation could potentially see an increase on the amount they spend on fuel by over $200,000 per year, the official Opposition says.

“The premier needs to commit today that placer miners will either be exempt from the carbon tax scheme or that every placer miner will get 100 per cent of their money back,” said MLA Scott Kent in the statement.

Contact Amy Kenny at and Ashley Joannou at

Association of Yukon Communitiescarbon taxplacer miningYukon government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukon RCMP say they’ve received three reports of youth being extorted online. (Black Press file)
Yukon youth being extorted online

Yukon youth being extorted online Yukon RCMP say they’ve received three reports… Continue reading

Fines for contravening the fire ban start at $1,150 and could go as high as $100,000. File photo
Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. (Black Press file)
Yukon campgrounds to open early

Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. The early opening… Continue reading

Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce executive director Susan Guatto and program manager Andrei Samson outside the chamber office in downtown Whitehorse Feb. 23. (Stephanie Waddell, Yukon News)
When business models shift

Whitehorse chamber offers digital marketing workshop

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The aesthetics and economics of highway strips

One of the many cultural experiences you enjoy while driving from Whitehorse… Continue reading

Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone.
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone. (Submitted)
Yukon kids express gratitude for nature, pets and friends in art campaign

More than 50 children submitted artwork featuring things they are grateful for

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

Most Read