WINNIPEG, Man. – The Manitoba Trucking Association (MTA) is
concerned smaller carriers could struggle with the added costs of the
province’s new “made in Manitoba” carbon tax plan.
MTA executive director Terry Shaw said though some larger trucking
companies may “have a bigger stick” when it comes to negotiating the
added costs, smaller fleets will face a pair of hurdles: the challenge
of passing on the increased fuel costs to customers and owner-operators
looking for increased fuel compensation.
“No one faults folks wanting their increased costs covered,” said
Shaw, “but if the customer isn’t willing to pay more, then these
companies are put in a difficult position with their drivers.”
Provincial carriers will also face challenges competing with trucking
companies residing in the U.S., according to Shaw, where such taxes are
not imposed on fleets.
The Manitoba government’s carbon tax plan kicks in this September at a
price of $25 per ton, a level Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle
Squires said is half the amount mandated by the federal government
giving the province the second lowest carbon price in Canada by 2022.
“When it comes to addressing the challenges of climate change, we
must understand just how unique we are as a province,” said Squires.
“This plan sets out a made-in-Manitoba solution to climate change that
respects our clean energy investments, supports our economy and reduces
emissions. It will protect the environment while also building a
prosperous low-carbon economy in Manitoba.”
The government said its plan will save Manitobans and businesses over
$260 million over the next five years compared to the federal plan.
“Our Made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan will cost less and
reduce more than the made-in-Ottawa carbon tax,” said Premier Brian
Pallister. “Our lower carbon price respects the massive hydro
investments Manitobans have made over decades to build one of the
cleanest electricity systems in the world.”
The carbon tax will result in a 6.7-cents-per-liter increase on
diesel at the pumps, which the MTA said equates to an estimated $50
million in fuel tax paid by heavy diesel vehicles in Manitoba, in
addition to the $318 million the province already collects in fuel taxes
from the industry.
The MTA had been in talks with the government, which has been in
office since April 2016 after ending the NDP’s 17-year run, over the
carbon tax plan and its potential impact on the trucking industry.
“We’ve been involved from day one in helping this government craft
that plan, helping them understand what trucking means to the economy
and what trucking means in terms of environmental impacts,” Shaw said.
“We’re using the most efficient vehicles currently available, they just
happen to consume diesel, and that’s not going to change any time soon,
so wanting that to change, or planning on the fact that that will
change, is an invalid plan.”
Shaw said the federal government’s carbon tax plan, which would have
started at $10 per ton and increase each year to reach $50 per ton after
five years, would have been unmanageable from an industry perspective.
“There’s no cost certainty with that, and how do you budget for it?”
questioned Shaw. “You go from $10 a ton to $50 a ton, it’s like a 400%
increase over five years for trucking on one of our largest individual
cost components. That’s just unmanageable.”
While MTA members would have preferred no added tax, Shaw said the
government contended that remaining at $25 per ton, with proceeds going
toward programs aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, will protect
Manitobans from moving beyond that level and into the higher federally
mandated pricing structure.
However, instead of reinvesting carbon tax revenues into greenhouse
gas reducing programs, such as GrEEner Trucking Efficiency Initiative,
the MTA said “the government has clearly stated that carbon tax revenues
will be directed toward income tax and other cuts.”
“Our members believed that if a tax was going to be implemented,”
Shaw said, “seeing our industry’s tax revenues reinvested in our
industry on efficiency initiatives would mitigate the cost impacts of
The MTA has been informally advised by the provincial government that
something is coming for trucking, and Shaw said they will actively
pursue the government to ensure that commitment comes to fruition.
Under the new provincial carbon tax plan, agricultural emissions, as
well as marked fuels used by farmers for their farming operations, are
The government also said large industrial emitters will be able to
reduce their emissions while having their competitiveness concerns
addressed through an output based pricing system of performance
standards, offsets, and credit trading.
“Our vision is to make Manitoba the cleanest, greenest and most
climate-resilient province in Canada,” said Pallister. “We are charting
that course with a comprehensive plan based on Manitoba needs and
focused on Manitoba priorities.”
MTA board members plan to address the new Manitoba carbon tax policy
and its next step to address the plan during the association’s April 6
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