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Carbon tax ineffective in curbing fuel emissions, majority of Canadians believe


Two-thirds of Canadians say it is a poor time to increase the carbon tax, with a majority saying they believe the tax on gas is ineffective at tackling climate change.

This is according to a survey conducted by Nanos Research and commissioned by CTV News intended to better understand Canadian perception towards combating climate change through increasing prices on fuel.

From coast to coast, 21 per cent of respondents say now is “poor timing” for a carbon tax increase, with 46 per cent saying it’s “very poor” timing.

The sentiment against increasing the carbon tax was highest in the Prairies, where 79 per cent of survey respondents agreed that the timing for a higher price on carbon is not right.

Similarly in the Atlantic region, 73 per cent of respondents said the timing is “poor” or “very poor." In Quebec, 53 per cent of respondents also said the timing is wrong.

In 2019, the federal government’s nation-wide carbon price began at $20 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions. This has increased to $65 per tonne as of April 1, 2023. The price will increase by $15 per year until it reaches $170 per tonne.

Nanos’ survey also found that an increasing proportion of Canadians believe that the carbon tax is generally an ineffective strategy for reducing fuel consumption.

Compared to 2019 (36 per cent), more Canadians say they believe that higher gas prices from a carbon tax aren’t an effective way to reduce fuel consumption (45 per cent).

In 2019, Nanos found that 16 per cent of Canadians believed carbon taxes were effective at reducing fuel consumption and 26 per cent believed they were somewhat effective. Today, only nine per cent say carbon taxes are an effective strategy and 23 per cent say they are somewhat effective.

In Ontario, 33.1 per cent of respondents said the tax is “effective” or “somewhat effective.” Similarly, 33.3 per cent of B.C. respondents said the taxes could be helpful in encouraging people to use less fuel.

Sixty-five per cent of Ontario respondents and 63 per cent of B.C. respondents said they believe a carbon tax isn’t an effective way to encourage people to use less fuel.

The survey, meanwhile, also found that over half (53 per cent) of Canadians say the federal carbon pricing program is ineffective at combatting climate change.


Nanos conducted an RDD dual frame (land- and cell-lines) hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,081 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between July 30th to August 2nd, 2023, as part of an omnibus survey. Individuals randomly called using random digit dialling with a maximum of five call backs. The margin of error for this survey is ±3.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Top Stories

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