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Bill to protect SaskEnergy employees from legal repercussions of not collecting carbon tax passes unanimously

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The Saskatchewan government says a bill intended to protect SaskEnergy employees and board members from repercussions of not collecting carbon tax for natural gas home heating passed unanimously on Monday.

Known as The SaskEnergy (Carbon Tax Fairness for Families) Amendment Act, or Bill 151 – SaskEnergy Minister Dustin Duncan says the bill will give the province sole authority and responsibility for decisions on whether they collect carbon tax and how that money would be distributed if collected on SaskEnergy bills. The bill passed by a vote of 45-0 with support from both sides of the House.

The province says the new legislation would compensate SaskEnergy and all current and former directors, employees, agents, members, affiliates and other representatives from repercussions that could be faced for the province not collecting carbon tax on natural gas heating bills.

According to the province, that includes, costs, charges and expenses that SaskEnergy or an individual may receive concerning civil, criminal, administrative, investigative, or other matters that is implicated in refusing to collect the tax.

On Oct. 30, Premier Scott Moe first announced the province’s intention to stop collecting carbon tax on natural gas for home heating beginning Jan. 1 in response to Ottawa’s decision to pause carbon tax on home heating oil.

According to the province, the average family would save $400 in 2024 if the federal carbon tax is removed from SaskEnergy bills.

The bill now only needs Royal Assent to become law, which is expected on Thursday, according to the province.

Follwoing Moe's announcement on Oct. 30 federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said it's an expectation by everyone in Canada that people should follow the law, saying it would be illegal for Saskatchewan to stop collecting the federal carbon tax on natural gas for home heating. 

"It's our job to ensure that the law is enforced, it will be," Freeland said in November.

SaskEnergy bills have had the federal carbon tax included in them since April 1, 2019.

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