Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has faced controversy while attempting to defend the government’s three-year pause on charging carbon tax for home heating oil, with New Democrats and Conservatives saying it doesn’t go far enough. 

While it is applicable to all provinces, the exemption particularly impacts the Atlantic provinces, where 30 per cent of households use heating oil for heating their homes.  

Approximately 79 per cent of Saskatchewan homes use natural gas and another 19 per cent use electricity, according to Statistics Canada’s 2021 data. 

The national pause on charging carbon tax for home heating oil, in conjunction with the Oil to Heat Pump Affordability programs, is meant to make the transition away from home heating oil to heat pumps easier. 

On Nov. 2nd during Question Period, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government is “Moving on phasing out home heating oil, because it’s dirtier, more expensive, and is disproportionately relied upon by lower income Canadians who don’t have other choices.” 

During the same question period, MP Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, said, “The issue around heating oil is, it is two to four times as expensive as natural gas as a heating source; [the cost] has accelerated by 75 per cent in 2022 alone; it is creating a significant challenge for folks.” 

Fraser Tolmie, MP for Moose Jaw-Lake Centre-Lanigan, spoke with us and thinks the exemption should be extended to all energy bills. “Saskatchewan is being treated unfairly by the Liberal government and you know, we don't think that people should be paying carbon tax on their heating and energy bills.” 

Tolmie was asked what he thought about the New Democrats' plan to back the Conservatives on their motion when it comes to removing carbon tax from all heating sources. “We need to have a commonsense plan and you know, a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian. The Prime Minister has said that in the House of Commons, and we are seeing people that are being divided.” 

"We're hoping that we're going to get the support in the House, because people want to be treated fairly. And right now, those that are using natural gas or electricity for a heat source are not being treated fairly by this Liberal government.” 

Canadians are reporting that energy bills are causing them to make different financial decisions, with Statistics Canada showing that one in seven households in 2023 said that such bills took precedence over necessities for at least one month during the last year.  


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