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The recommendations come as the government works with the provinces and territories to establish a pan-Canadian approach to carbon pricing.Ben Nelms/Bloomberg

Canada's largest mining companies have endorsed the federal government's effort to establish a national price on carbon pollution.

The Mining Association of Canada is set to release Wednesday its proposal for a national climate policy, which recommends a "broad-based carbon price that is applicable to all sectors of the Canadian economy."

The association represents most of the largest miners in the country, including oil sands producers such as Suncor Energy Inc. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC.

Its recommendations come as the government works with the provinces and territories to establish a pan-Canadian approach to carbon pricing.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the premiers agreed last month in Vancouver to hammer out a national climate strategy within six months. They acknowledged the need for carbon pricing but there was no agreement on what that actually entails or whether Ottawa should set a minimum price.

Some premiers, including Saskatchewan's Brad Wall, rejected the idea of a broad-based carbon price, saying it would hurt the economy.

The mining association supports an economy-wide levy without specifying a level to be applied either through a tax or cap-and-trade approach. A carbon price represents "the most effective and efficient means of driving emissions reductions," it said in a statement to be released Wednesday.

But governments need to ease the transition to avoid declines in investment and employment in carbon-intensive sectors, it added. Ontario and Alberta are pursuing different carbon-pricing policies but both governments will cushion the impact for large industrial emitters that face foreign competition for sales and investment.

As those provinces join British Columbia and Quebec with some form of carbon pricing, most mining operations in Canada will face some form of levy, association president Pierre Gratton said Tuesday.

Mr. Gratton said many mining companies have already adopted new technology that will cut energy use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And those efforts would be hastened through the application of a carbon tax, particularly if the revenue is used to develop and deploy lower-emission technologies.

"We need to make sure that what gets collected is directed to further achieving our climate change objectives," he said.

Follow Shawn McCarthy on Twitter: @smccarthy55Opens in a new window

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