FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government will align with its Atlantic Canadian counterparts by opting for the federal backstop on carbon pricing.

Pending federal approval, the federal government will be applying its carbon tax and will be responsible for redistributing the collected revenues. Under the federal backstop, 90 per cent of the revenues collected by the federal government are returned to individuals through rebate cheques.

“The landscape has changed considerably since 2020 when we brought in our own carbon-pricing plan,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “There was no room for negotiation on federal requirements for 2023-2030, and in late-November, the federal government announced it would be applying the federal backstop in the Atlantic provinces and providing rebate cheques.”

Higgs said this resulted in the province re-evaluating what was in the best interest of New Brunswickers.

The provincial government will no longer collect the carbon tax but remains committed to previously legislated tax reductions and funding climate change initiatives, he said.

“As we have said from the outset, the federal carbon tax has and will continue to result in higher prices on everything. We remain concerned the tax will continue to have a larger impact on individuals, businesses, and the economy,” he said. “We know New Brunswickers are struggling with record high prices on everything from food to fuel. This decision means financial help is on its way.”

The rebate, the amount of which will be determined by the federal government, is based on the amount of carbon tax collected in the province each year. The rebate will be issued by the federal government to individuals and families. For 2023-24, as a comparison point, a family of four in Nova Scotia is estimated to receive an annualized amount of $992, and in Prince Edward Island an annualized amount of $960. Higgs said he expects the amount in New Brunswick to be close to these amounts.

Higgs said the provincial government remains committed to fighting climate change and will continue working to meet the objectives in its renewed climate change action plan, which was released in September.

The province has communicated its decision to the federal Department of Environment and Climate Change.