Early tax filers among first to receive 2024 Canada carbon rebates

OTTAWA — Canadians who filed their taxes by the middle of March are among those who may have already received the first instalment of the Canada carbon rebate.

Qualified residents of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and all four Atlantic provinces started receiving the first of four instalments Monday.

Those who filed their taxes since March 15 will see their first instalment on May 15, while those filing after Monday will have to wait until June or July.

The payments, based on household size, range from $190 in New Brunswick to $450 in Alberta for a typical family of four.

Ottawa has already launched a new online estimator that shows how much Canadians can expect to get from the rebates.

Hoping to make the rebates more familiar, Ottawa rechristened the "Canada Carbon Rebate" earlier this year, but is still negotiating with the big banks about changing how the deposits are labelled.

Ottawa has been battling with banks about how the deposits are labelled since they moved to quarterly payments for the rebates in 2022.

Many Canadians were confused — or didn't even realize they were getting a rebate — when payments showed up with vague labels like "EFT deposit from Canada," "EFT Credit Canada" or just "federal payment."

Not all the banks co-operated. Some argued there was a 15-character limit on deposit descriptions, while others insisted making the change would be too complicated.

Banks have since been asked to use either the new full name — Canada Carbon Rebate — or a shortened version such as "CDACarbonRebate" in English or "Carbone RemiseCA" in French.

TD Bank said its clients will see the rebate listed as "CDACARBONREBATE CCR."

RBC said their immediate deposits will be labelled "federal climate incentive," but future deposits will be listed as "Canadian Carbon Rebate."

The rebates are designed to offset what people pay in carbon pricing when they buy fuel so they're not left worse off as a result.

People who take steps to lower their fuel use will do even better, since they still get the same rebate but pay less in carbon pricing.

The rebate amounts are set annually based on how much carbon price Ottawa expects to collect in each province.

British Columbia, Quebec and the Northwest Territories have their own carbon pricing system for consumers so residents there don't receive the federal payment. Yukon and Nunavut use the federal system but have an agreement to distribute the proceeds themselves.

The parliamentary budget officer says about 80 per cent of Canadians get back more from the rebates than they pay.

But he also warns that the economic impact of carbon pricing could lower wages over time, erasing that benefit for some Canadians.

The government argues that climate change itself is likely to cause economic harm if left unchecked.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 15, 2024.

The Canadian Press