LASER TALK: Recent Canadian Views on Carbon Pricing


Canada’s carbon pricing backstop policy is a form of carbon fee and dividend.

In October 2018, after Prime Minister Trudeau explained how Canada’s  carbon pricing plan would work, more people got on board: an Angus-Reid report found that while 45% of Canadians supported a federal carbon plan in July 2018, it had ticked up to 54% in October 2018.

A silent majority of Canadians want climate action. A December 2018  Ipsos-Reid survey seems to bear this out — 75 percent of respondents said Canada needs to do more to address climate change. Pent-up Canadian desire for climate action was also uncovered in the September 2018 Ikea/GlobeScan study  This trend is also supported by a global trend uncovered in February 2019 in a global Pew survey, that included Canada, that climate concerns are rising sharply around the world.

In January 2019, Ontario Premier Doug Ford claimed the federal government’s carbon tax would cause a recession in Ontario, many economists disagreed. And it seems most regular people do as well according to a February 2019 Abacus poll.

When respondents were presented with a question which noted that many economists had offered a contrary view, namely that the impact of the tax would be too small to cause a recession, even more people (73% in Ontario, 74% across Canada) rejected Mr. Ford’s contention.

In the same Abacus poll, Canadian opinion about the federal carbon tax backstop reveals that 35% support the idea, 28% oppose it and 37% say they are open to considering it. When told of the idea that revenues would be rebated to affected households, support climbs by 9 points, and opposition declines by 6 points.

Opposition to the carbon tax is highest in Alberta, but even there only 41% are set against the idea, which drops to 30% when the rebate is introduced.

In Ontario, 34% support, 37% are open to, and 30% oppose the federal carbon tax. With the rebate, support jumps to 42%, and opposition drops to 22%.

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Other polling data to consider: