As we reported in our earlier blog last fall, Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) proposed certain amendments to the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Regulation (O. Reg. 452/09) (the Regulation) in preparation for the introduction of a cap-and-trade system in the province. In December 2015, the MOECC filed amendments to the Regulation that came into force on January 1, 2016. An amended Guideline for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting was published at the same time.

The proposed amendments to the Regulation were subject to public review and comment in September and October 2015. Approximately 30 comments were received from stakeholders ranging from fuel suppliers, industry, energy companies, municipalities and the Québec government.  While most were supportive of the approach to broaden the scope of the reporting program, a number of stakeholders expressed technical concerns. A summary of the major comments is available on the Environmental Registry web site. As a result of the public consultation, the MOECC made the following additional changes to the proposed amendments to the guideline under EBR Registry Number 012-4549:

  • classify natural gas transmissions and distribution fugitive emissions as reporting only; and
  • make reporting of mobile emissions optional.

The final amendments to the Regulation include:

  • lowering the reporting threshold to 10,000 tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) from the current threshold of 25,000 tonnes per year, while maintaining the requirement to have emissions greater than 25,000 tonnes per year third party verified;
  • dividing the emission sources into those that only need to report and those that require third party verification;
  • clarification on verification to allow for the use of qualified positive, in addition to positive and adverse verification statements;
  • adding petroleum product suppliers and natural gas distributors to the reporting regulation starting in 2016, to support the implementation of a cap and trade program; and
  • adding other sources to the reporting regulation including:
    • equipment used for natural gas transmission, distribution and storage;
    • electricity imports;
    • electricity transmission and distribution;
    • magnesium production;
    • and mobile equipment at facilities (optional reporting only).

It is anticipated that the final design details for Ontario’s proposed cap-and-trade program will be released in spring 2016, with regulations to follow.