Ontario Election: Where Does Each Party Stand On Environment & Hydro?

An in-depth look at where each party in Ontario stands on the environment and hydro. This is a part of our 2018 Election Hub.

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Click on any of the party names to view our platform breakdown for that party.

Hydro rates have been on the increase for a long time, but the Liberals blew up the growing powder keg when they sold off a majority of Hydro One, Ontario’s public utility company. Since then, the Liberals have promised to borrow more money in order to subsidize hydro bills by 25%.

The parties have promised measures to further decrease the amount Ontarians must pay for their electricity.

Another political hot topic is the Liberal Green Energy Act from 2009, under which the government has since been subsidizing renewable energy generation such as solar and wind projects. Even the Liberals and the Greens admit that there are big problems with the Green Energy Act.

The Liberals introduced a new carbon pricing program, which came into effect on this past January 1st. The program is a cap-and-trade scheme which ties Ontario’s emission limits to Quebec and California.

The below graph came from a document that was leaked by the PCs last year. It shows that the government projects that hydro rates will continue to increase, with or without the new hydro bill subsidy.

It also shows that by 2026 under the Liberals’ new plan, hydro rates will be higher than they would be without the program, and that the government plans for hydro rates to more than double between 2014 and 2045.

Click on any of the party names to view our platform breakdown for that party.

Liberal Party

The government introduced hydro bill subsidies to provide much needed relief for families. Unfortunately, almost half of the money spent on the subsidy will go to interest payments on the additional debt the province needs to incur as a result.

It also does not help that the Liberals have been blamed for having caused the skyrocketing rates in the first place.

In addition, the government announced $1.7 billion over 3 years for the Green Ontario Fund, a government agency that seeks to help companies and individuals reduce their environmental impact.

Despite joining other parties in criticizing their own Green Energy Act, the Liberals have continued to approve green energy contracts. The contracts involve green energy companies being paid for power that they generate and contribute to the grid.

Progressive Conservative Party

Doug Ford has made it clear that he would fire the CEO of Hydro One, who makes around 10 times the salary of the CEO of Hydro Quebec. However, because the majority of shares have been sold off, the government alone would not be able to do this. They also promise to cut hydro bills by an additional 12%, in part by returning the province’s share of dividends from Hydro One.

They would also scrap the current cap-and-trade arrangement with Quebec and California, as well as oppose the federal carbon tax.

With respect to the Green Energy Act, the PCs would stop signing new contracts and cancel existing projects that are in “pre-construction”.

With respect to rural communities, the PCs would allow the private sector to participate in natural gas distribution. They claim it would create up to $100 million in savings which they would invest in cellular and broadband expansion.

New Democratic Party

After their traditional policy proposal of removing HST from home hydro bills was implemented by the Liberals, the NDP now wants the government to go further.

The NDP promises to buy back control over Hydro One, get rid of on-peak off-peak hours which could substantially increase energy demand during the day, and make First Nations exempt from delivery charges.

Green Party

The Green Party pledges to put Ontario on a path to 100% renewable energy, primarily through taxes and subsidies.

Libertarian Party

The Libertarian Party claims that it will cut hydro rates “in half”. They promise the repealing of the Green Energy Act, removal of subsidized power from the grid, termination of existing contracts for subsidized power generation, firing of all Liberal public appointees, and general deregulation measures.

None of the Above Party

No specific platform points on this topic.

Trillium Party

The Trillium Party wants to repeal the Green Energy Act and cancel the government’s current FIT contracts with already existing renewable energy producers. However, they would still allow producers to feed renewable energy into the grid for credit (which is actually just what FIT, “Feed-In-Tariff”, contracts are), but would only allow renewable energy generation “which does not affect others”. This would include forcing some owners to dismantle their wind turbines at their own expense.


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Mika Ryu

Law student at Western University, and UofT graduate in economics and linguistics. Remember that your version of the world is always too simple.

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