Ottawa owes Ontario small businesses $1.3B in past due carbon tax rebates

One-time payout would mean over $2,600 per Ontario SME 

Toronto, March 6, 2024 – With the recent confirmation from Ottawa that it owes Canada’s small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME)s over $2.5 billion in carbon tax (fuel charge) rebates, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is calling on the federal government to immediately distribute the funds equally to all SMEs as it does with the consumer carbon rebate. 

Ontario’s share of the $2.5 billion works out to over $1.3 billion. If the federal government were to distribute the $1.3 billion as a one-time payment to all active, incorporated businesses in the province, each Ontario SME would get $2,637.

“It’s deeply unfair that five years into the program, Ottawa is still sitting on $1.3 billion it owes to small firms,” said Ryan Mallough, CFIB’s Ontario vice president. “Small businesses can’t wait. The federal government must pay this debt now and return the promised carbon tax revenues to all Ontario small businesses.”

The federal government recently announced that it reduced the amount of financial relief businesses will receive from carbon tax revenues in 2024 from 9% to 5%.

“Ottawa is already taking future funds out of small business owners’ pockets,” said Julie Kwiecinski, CFIB’s Ontario director of provincial affairs. “They cut the program in half before returning the promised $1.3 billion to Ontario businesses. Meanwhile, the carbon tax keeps increasing.” 

CFIB continues to call for fairness for small businesses and push the federal government to:

  • Immediately return the $2.5 billion it collected and set aside for Canadian small businesses since 2019, including the $1.3 billion for Ontario firms.
  • Scrap the idea of returning the SME allocation to only “emissions-intensive, trade-exposed" businesses in favour of a simple rebate for all SMEs.  
  • Scrap the plan to reduce the SME share of carbon tax revenue from 9% to 5% in 2024 and rebate it annually.  
  • Increase the SME rebate to 40% of carbon tax revenue – the share CFIB estimates comes from business.
  • Pass Bill C-234 as originally proposed to exempt natural gas and propane used for on-farm activities, including grain drying and heating farm buildings. 
  • Freeze the carbon tax rate at its current level.
  • Exempt all heating fuels, including natural gas.

“The federal government must immediately fix the broken carbon tax rebate system,” said Kwiecinski. “Small businesses deserve to be treated fairly.”

Small businesses can add their voice to CFIB’s fight for fairness by signing CFIB’s petition.

For media inquiries or interviews, please contact: 
Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, CFIB 

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 97,000 members across every industry and region, including 38,000 in Ontario. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at