Cap and trade
What you need to know about Ontario’s carbon market using a cap and trade program, including how it works and who is required to participate.
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
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
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
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.
- Auction information – guidance material on how to participate, auction notices, and auction reports
- User registration and account setup for Compliance Instrument Tracking System Service (CITSS) – registration guidance, forms and link to the CITSS webpage
- Emission allowances – information on early reduction credits, and how to apply for emission allowances distributed free of charge
- Offsets credits and protocols – information on compliance offset credits and protocols
- The rules for reporting greenhouse gas emissions
- How to register as a voluntary participant
- Cap and trade legislation and regulations
- Cap and trade market information – Information regarding current registered participants in Ontario’s cap and trade program and other reports that provide the market with data
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.
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, 2018
June 1, 2018 – 2017 emissions reporting deadline
August 14, 2018
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 2019November 14, 2018
Have questions about cap and trade? Find out who you can contact for assistance.
- footnote Back to paragraph Dates shown are subject to change and will be confirmed through the official Auction Notice.