Definition of ‘inefficient fossil fuel subsidy’ still elusive in Canada


Drilling rig in winter with pump jacks in background.

OTTAWA – Canada is still working on defining an “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidy, some 13 years after it signed an international agreement to eliminate them and four years since launching a peer review with Argentina to identify what subsidies exist.

In general, subsidies are considered to be government aid to fossil fuel companies, but Ottawa draws a distinction between those that encourage more production or consumption and those that help the sector cut greenhouse gas emissions.

But it hasn’t been clear where it draws that line.

Canada has promised to eliminate inefficient subsidies at G20 and G7 leaders’ meetings every year since 2009 and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged during the last election campaign to move the deadline for doing so up by two years to 2023.

MPs on the House of Commons environment committee Thursday repeatedly queried federal officials about when the government will define “inefficient” and were told the work is still ongoing.


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