Alberta’s Climate Leadership Act will become effective on January 1st, 2017, unleashing varying carbon levies on no fewer than 25 different fuels consumed by industry and consumers inside Alberta.  That’s the Grinch.

The Act does, however, offer users of fuels in Alberta a myriad of exemptions under which relief from the carbon levies may be available, in part or in whole.  That’s Santa.


Available Exemptions

No fewer than 12 exemptions are available including:

Already Regulated Under Alberta’s Specified Gas Emitters Regulation – if the use of the fuel results in direct emissions currently regulated under the SPER, then there won’t be a “double levy”.   The SPER dates from 2007 (arguably Alberta’s first pre-emption of federal regulation over greenhouse gases) and is maintained under the Act for now, though its days are surely numbered.

Fuel Used in a Production Process before 2023 –  In the event that the fuel is used in an Alberta-based production process, depending upon flaring/venting and ore information on the exemption of fuel used in a production process before 2023

Agricultural Use Fuels – Farming operations will be exempt from the levy.

Biofuels – Gasoline and diesel with biofuel content, such as ethanol and biodiesel, will be subject to lower levy rates on gasoline and diesel.

Inter‑jurisdictional flights –  Emissions from fuel used by airplanes flying outside of Alberta will be exempt from the levy.

With all of these exemptions, it remains an open question as to how to measure the effectiveness of the Act (along with the SGER) in light of the proposed default federal minimum carbon tax.


Exemption Certificate Application Process

In order to obtain relief from the carbon levy under the Act, separate application and verification processes are required for each category of exemption.  No commitment on processing time has been given.

Before carbon levies start to become due in January, companies with operations in Alberta may wish to ensure the levy is truly owing by making use of the available technical and legislative exemption guidance.  That’s Santa’s Little Helper.


Jonathan D. Cocker heads Baker McKenzie’s Environmental Practice Group in Canada and is an active member of the firm's Global Consumer Goods & Retail and Energy, Mining and Infrastructure groups. Mr. Cocker provides advice and representation to multinational companies on a variety of environmental and product compliance matters, including extended producer responsibilities, dangerous goods transportation, GHS, regulated wastes, consumer product and food safety, and contaminated lands matters. He assisted in the founding of one of North America’s first Circular Economy Producer Responsibility Organizations and provides advice and representation to a number of domestic and international industry groups in respect of resource recovery obligations. Mr. Cocker was recently appointed the first Sustainability Officer of the International Bar Association Mr. Cocker is a frequent speaker and writer on environmental issues and has authored numerous publications including recent publications in the Environment and Climate Change Law Review, Detritus – the Official Journal of the International Waste Working Group, Chemical Watch, Circular Economy: Global Perspectives published by Springer, and in the upcoming Yale University Journal of Industrial Ecology’s special issue on Material Efficiency for Climate Change Mitigation. Mr. Cocker maintains a blog focused upon international resource recovery issues at