TORONTO — Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault is defending the decision to bury the cost of Ontario's cap-and-trade plan in the "delivery" line on natural gas bills.
The Ontario Energy Board announced last week that costs related to cap-and-trade would not appear as a separate line item on consumers' bills for natural gas, which is used to heat most homes in the province.
Utilities and industrial natural gas users had argued for a separate line item to provide transparency to customers about the cost of the plan, which is aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change.
Ontario Energy Minister Glen Thibeault sits in the Ontario legislature in February 2015. (Photo: Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star via Getty)
Thibeault insists nothing is being hidden, and says the government is being "very open and up front" about the new fee by talking with the media about it.
He says it's up to the energy board to decide how putting a price on carbon should appear on natural gas bills, so Ontario won't follow the lead of Quebec and British Columbia and include it as a separate line item.
The Progressive Conservatives say the Liberals are trying to "bury the evidence" on how much cap-and-trade will cost people every month, while the New Democrats say people deserve to know how much more they'll be paying.
Minister walks away from reporters
Thibeault said the government is being transparent, but he walked away from reporters without answering when asked if the energy board now sets policy for the Liberal government.
"The OEB has made that decision, and you know what, we're moving forward with it," he said. "The delivery charge is something that's important to start explaining to people, especially in northern and rural areas."