NB – Talks with the Premier's Office on propane school bus success and changes to the Gasoline & Motive Fuel Tax Act
On January 22, the CPA met with the New Brunswick premier’s office to discuss the propane advantage and current issues.
Vice-President of Government Relations Allan Murphy met with Wes McLean, deputy chief of staff to Premier Higgs to review the positive feedback the CPA has received from the province’s procurement department on their purchase of propane school buses. The province is very satisfied with the sixteen buses that were put into service in September. They are working well, while reducing GHGs, have no issues starting in cold weather and they heat very fast. Murphy explained to Maclean that the experience reported by New Brunswick officials is similar to what student transportation officials in other parts of Canada, such as the Brandon School Division, have been reporting for years.
Also discussed was the province’s changes to the Gasoline & Motive Fuel Tax Act, which will come into force on April 1, 2020. The new legislation aligns New Brunswick with the federal government’s pan-Canadian framework for GHG reductions. Currently, propane is exempt from the provincial tax of 6.7 cents/litre that will soon be applied under the Act by all exempt groups (e.g., fishermen, farmers, wood producers, aquaculture, etc.) for qualifying activities. The proposed legislation would also exempt these groups from paying the carbon tax on carbon emitting products. All exemptions available for marked diesel would also be applicable to propane.
Atlantic Government Relations Director Jean-Francois Duguay also contacted the province’s Department of Finance to discuss outstanding issues regarding the tax treatment of propane, specifically product loss and cremation taxation, as well as obtaining more clarity on the upcoming Gasoline & Motive Fuel Tax Act.
The CPA filed a pre-budget submission in February outlining how the expansion of propane can help reduce energy costs for New Brunswick families and create jobs while protecting New Brunswick’s air quality. The CPA recommended rebates for homeowners to switch off heating oil to propane and for fleet owners to convert fleet vehicles from diesel or gasoline to propane. The CPA also recommended the government include propane as an energy option for government procurement in residential, commmercial, agricultural, industrial and transportation applications.