Our cap on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions businesses can emit  (using a cap and trade program) is designed to help fight climate change and reward businesses that reduce their greenhouse gas pollution.

We’re investing all of our carbon market proceeds into projects to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. See the latest announced projects

Linking with Quebec and California

We signed a cap and trade linking agreement with Quebec and California on September 22, 2017. It comes into effect on January 1, 2018.

Linking the carbon market means that:

  • we will hold joint auctions of allowances with Quebec and California
  • allowances and credits issued by us, Quebec and California will now be accepted by any of the three cap and trade programs

The first joint auction with all three jurisdictions is February 21, 2018.

Businesses covered under cap and trade

Mandatory participants

You’re required, by law, to participate in the cap and trade program if you are:

  • an electricity importer
  • a facility or natural gas distributor that emits 25,000 tonnes or more of greenhouse gas emissions per year
  • a fuel supplier that sells more than 200 litres of fuel per year

Voluntary participants

Participation in the cap and trade program isn’t mandatory if you’re a facility that generates more than 10,000 but less than 25,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year.

You can choose to opt in to the program and will be subject to the same rules as mandatory participants.

Register to be a voluntary participant

Market participants

Even if your company doesn’t have emissions to report, you can still participate in the auction as a market participant.

Market participants can include individuals, not-for-profit organizations and companies without compliance obligations.

Program information

Western Climate Initiative, Inc

Ontario is a founding member of the Western Climate Initiative, Inc. (WCI) a not-for-profit organization set up to help member states and provinces establish cap and trade programs. WCI offers administrative and technical services, including use of the Compliance Instrument Tracking System Service (CITSS), the auction platform and market monitor to help ensure rigorous and appropriate oversight.

Key dates

January 1, 2018 - Ontario linkage with Quebec and California takes effect and Ontario Offset Credits Regulation is in force

January 1-15, 2018 – 2018 distribution of allowances free of charge

February 21, 2018 – Ontario, Quebec, and California first joint auction

May 15, 2018footnote 1 – Ontario, Quebec, and California second joint auction

June 1, 2018 2017 emissions reporting deadline

August 14, 2018footnote 1 - Ontario, Quebec, and California third joint auction

September 1, 2018 - 2017 emissions verification deadline

September 1, 2018 - Deadline to register as a voluntary participant for 2019

September 8, 2018 - Deadline to apply for allowances for 2019

November 14, 2018footnote 1 - Ontario, Quebec, and California fourth joint auction

Get help

Have questions about cap and trade? Find out who you can contact for assistance.