Ontario announces greenhouse gas reporting regulation

December 9, 2009

On December 1, 2009, the government of Ontario introduced a key regulation in support of the implementation of a cap-and-trade program in the province. The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Regulation (O.Reg. 452/09) will assist the development of this program by providing for the collection of accurate greenhouse gas (GHG) emission data. It is also aimed at aligning Ontario's cap-and-trade program with those being developed across North America. To this end, where viable, the province intends to work with other provinces and the federal government to harmonize GHG reporting requirements, as well as with its Western Climate Initiative partners, to harmonize with U.S. EPA reporting requirements. The regulation follows the introduction of Bill 185 on May 27, 2009, an act designed to implement Ontario's cap-and-trade program through amendments to the Environmental Protection Act, which bill passed its third reading on December 3, 2009.

Key Elements of the Regulation

The new regulation requires a broad range of organizations in the province to report their GHG emissions, starting with emissions for the 2010 calendar year. The regulation addresses a number of key issues, including:

  • Affected Facilities: All facilities that emit 25,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) or more per year are required to report GHG emissions data. The government anticipates that between 200 and 300 facilities in the province will fall into this category.1
  • Timing: GHG emissions from 2010 are to be reported in 2011, with annual reporting thereafter. The first emission reports are due on June 1, 2011.
  • Phasing in: Facilities are permitted to apply best-alternative quantification methods in reporting GHG emissions for 2010. As of 2011, facilities will be required to use identified standard quantification methods. This phase-in approach allows facilities time to build quantification capacity.
  • Third-Party Verification: Annual third-party verification, in accordance with ISO standards, will be required, with the first verification to be submitted in 2012 in respect of 2011 emissions. Facilities are encouraged to undertake voluntary third-party verification in reporting GHG emissions for 2010.
  • Smaller Emitters: Facilities emitting between 10,000 and 25,000 tonnes of CO2e are not required to report GHG emissions. The government plans to develop an outreach program to encourage voluntary reporting by smaller emitters so that they are prepared to adapt to emerging continent-wide cap-and-trade requirements.2

The regulation is accompanied by a technical guideline, entitled "Guideline for Greenhouse Gas Emission Reporting," which outlines the best alternative quantification methods in emissions reporting for 2010 and mandatory standard quantification methods, to be used as of 2011, to quantify emissions. The government received submissions on the draft GHG emission-reporting regulation and guideline from stakeholders, including industry, associations, municipalities and consulting groups, during a thirty-day public-comment period. In response, several amendments were made in the final regulation. Third-party verification will be phased in to allow facilities to adapt to the new requirements. Additionally, some confidential business information has been removed from the reporting obligation. Technical modifications were also adjusted to be more consistent with federal and U.S. requirements, to give more time for preparation of certain reports and to allow emission factors to be used in the reporting of certain types of emissions.

We will continue to examine this regulation as part of our ongoing review of Ontario's climate change strategy. Look for further analysis and observation in future bulletins.


1  Government of Ontario, news release, "Ontario Takes Next Step Toward a Cap-and-Trade System" (December 1, 2009)
2  Government of Ontario, Environmental Registry, "Regulation Decision Notice: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Regulation and Guideline" (December 1, 2009), EBR Registry Number: 010-7889.


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