Posted on Oct 6, 2016 by Patricia Bernardo

Tom Darling, Manager Sustainability - KPMG
Tom Darling, Manager Sustainability - KPMG

On Tuesday September 20th, NSI held its first event of the 2016-2017 season. The event was a big success, welcoming 75 guests. A summary of the event, and helpful links, are provided below. Additional questions can be directed to Melissa at melissa@niagarasustainability.org.

Paul Hullar, President &CEO - Brightware Energy
Paul Hullar, President &CEO - Brightware Energy

Event Objectives
1. Provide an overview of the incoming cap and trade system
2. Discuss potential impacts at a local level, drawing on comparisons from California and the European Union
3. Provide a forum for discussion around challenges and opportunities, drawing on experience from local businesses & fostering collaboration


Tom Darling, Tax Manager, KPMG

Tikvah Mindorff, Executive Director - Niagara Sustainability Initiative (NSI)
Tikvah Mindorff, Executive Director - Niagara Sustainability Initiative (NSI)

- Tom discussed the requirements for opting in to the cap and trade system
- Those interested in participating voluntarily are encouraged to review the process as outlined by the MOECC, paying attention to dates and deadlines
- Facilities may be interested in opting in due to: a drop in the GHG reporting threshold; increased fuel and gas costs; or the distribution of allowances free of charge

Marcel Oestreich, Assistant Professor, Brock University

- Dr. Oestreich described cap and trade from an economics perspective using examples from the EU
- The EU is a great learning experience for Ontario, since the EU has phases similar to Ontario and is still on track to hit targets
- In the EU, many companies passed the cost of cap and trade onto consumers by increasing the output price, even if they received free allocations
- Suggestion to comply through investing, burning less, and purchasing allowances

Paul Hullar, Founder and CEO, Brightwave Energy

- Paul brought his expertise from his experience with California and discussed how companies can “win” with cap and trade
- Included a real life example, demonstrating that reducing emissions is more profitable than purchasing allowances
- Stressed the importance of having a flexible plan, as legislation can drastically change, and of having strategic partners

Panel Discussion

Bobbie Thoman, Market Research Analyst, Walker Environmental

- According to TD Bank, the cost of not preparing for climate change will be 5 billion annually by 2020, due to severe weather events
- Walker Industries was one of the first companies in Canada to quantify, verify and sell carbon offsets – voluntary market serves as a precursor for the regulated market

Emily Keene, Associate, Lancaster, Brooks & Welch LLP

- Key features of the legislation include: provincial authority for climate change programs; confirmation of Ontario’s emission reduction targets; allowances and levels of participation; and the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Account
- Organizations interested in determining the impact of the legislation on their operations should consult an environmental lawyer, and other experts, early on

Scott Johnstone, Director of Maintenance and Utility Services, Brock University

- Brock University is one of the few mandatory participants located in the Niagara Region, largely due to its on-site co-generation plant
- For the majority of local businesses (i.e. those under 10,000 tonnes), cap and trade will be primarily seen as an increase in energy bills
- Emphasized the unknowns past 2020 and recommends individuals stay informed and provide feedback to the MOECC

Helpful Links

Pictures of the event can be found here. Coverage from TVCOGECO can be found here.

For further background information and next steps, read our white paper: Ontario’s Cap and Trade Legislation—Local Perspectives & Opportunities.

A special thank you to White Oaks Resort, our venue sponsor, and Marnie Cluckie of the Niagara Region, our Master of Ceremonies.

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