Canada

Saskatchewan v. Canada re Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act; Bill C-74, Part 5

Jurisdiction: Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan, Canada


Principle law(s): Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act


Side A: Saskatchewan (Government)


Side B: Canada (Government)


Core objectives:

Whether the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act passed by the national government is constitutional


Summary
In April of 2018, the Province of Saskatchewan filed a reference case with the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan, asking whether the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (GGPPA) was an unconstitutional intrusion into provincial jurisdiction. The GGPPA was introduced into Parliament on March 28, 2018 as Part 5 of Bill C-74 and became law on June 21, 2018. It established a federal price on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, effective as of January 2019, in any province or territory that has not implemented a compliant carbon pricing regime or any province or territory that requests it. 

On May 3, 2019, the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan ruled that the (GGPPA) is not unconstitutional in whole or in part by a 3-2 majority. The court rejected Canada's broader argument that Parliament has jurisdiction over "the cumulative dimensions of GHG emissions" under the national concern branch of its "Peace, Order, and good Government" [POGG] power. The court found this approach would exceed the constitutional authority of Parliament and intrude too far into areas of Provincial authority and limit Provincial efforts to deal with GHG emissions. However, the Court did rule that Parliament has more narrow authority under the POGG to establish "minimum national standards of price stringency for GHG emissions" because this authority "has the singleness, distinctiveness and indivisibility required by the law." Accordingly, the court ruled that the GGPPA is constitutionally valid under this more narrow POGG authority. 

The Attorney General for Saskatchewan has appealed the decision. Related documents will be posted and summarized when available. The provinces of Manitoba and Ontario have also challenged the constitutionality of the GGPPA and those cases are pending. The Paris Agreement was among the laws discussed in the preamble of the GGPPA in regard to the need for a carbon pricing mechanism.
Case documents

Related laws and policies
  • This law implements Canada legislation
    Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act

    Passed in 2018 Legislative

    The Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act establishes a federal price on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions beginning in January 2019 and applying to any province or territory of Canada that requests the price, or to any province or territory of Canada that has not implemented a compliant carbon prici...

from the Grantham Research Institute
from the Grantham Research Institute
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