Too little, too late: Carbon tax rebate a drop in the bucket for small firms

Toronto, May 30, 2019 – The Carbon Action Incentive Fund announced today by the federal government will do little to relieve small businesses of the financial burden imposed by the carbon tax, said the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

“We’re entering month three of the carbon tax and the government is just now announcing details of only one stream of the rebate program they promised to small businesses,” said CFIB president Dan Kelly. “They are now in the position of having to spend even more money just to get a fraction of their carbon taxes back. This is simply too little, too late for small firms. Nothing short of a full rebate equal to the amount they will spend in carbon taxes would be satisfactory.”

Small firms contribute nearly 50 per cent of the carbon tax revenues and most (80 per cent) report they will be able to pass a quarter or less of the new costs down to consumers. 

The government announced two rebate streams for SMEs:

  1. SME project funding: The new fund will provide between $20,000 and $250,000 for larger energy-efficient projects, representing up to 25 per cent of the total cost of eligible projects. 
  2. Rebate program: The government also promised it will release details of a separate fund to cover up to 50 per cent of the cost of specified energy-efficient equipment. 

“Many small businesses want to take action on climate change, but the carbon tax is putting them further behind. In fact, 71 per cent have told us that the carbon tax makes it harder for them to make further investments to reduce their emissions,” added Kelly. “For the project funding program, small businesses must put up a minimum investment of $80,000 and go through a team of bureaucrats and additional red tape just to qualify. And there are still no details on the rebate program, which we anticipate could quickly run out of money leaving small firms with an even bigger bill to pay.”

CFIB has called on the federal government to abandon the carbon tax. If the government insists on keeping the tax, it must provide small businesses with rebates equal to the amount they will pay.

“While most consumers will be getting back more than they’ve paid in carbon taxes, small business owners are paying far more than their share. On environmental policy, small businesses appear to be an afterthought for this government,” concluded Kelly.

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Milena Stanoeva, CFIB

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every industry and region. 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