Media briefs

Media brief: The carbon price in B.C. and its impact on emissions, jobs and the economy

Carbon pricing is a regular feature of Canadian headlines, as parties and governments clash over the right to impose a price on pollution across Canada. Many of these discussions are centred around whether carbon pricing is genuinely effective at reducing emissions. But these arguments often misinterpret, or altogether miss, an important piece of Canadian carbon pricing evidence: B.C. 

B.C.’s decade-old version of the carbon price has won international acclaim, with the World Bank and the United Nations describing it as the “most comprehensive of its kind”, underscoring its success in “transformational change” in the province. This brief summarizes some of the key facts pertaining to the policy and the effect it has had on emissions, consumer choice, jobs and the economy.

Carbon pricing is just one part of a whole suite of policies that are helping us reach our emissions targets, but as is evidenced in B.C., it is an extremely effective one. In fact, in a 2015 survey completed by 365 economists, 81% said that pricing carbon is the most efficient way to cut pollution. 


  • Since 2008, the carbon price has substantially reduced the consumption and demand for fossil fuels including:
  • The carbon price incentivized B.C. drivers to purchase more fuel-efficient vehicles. Without the tax, the average vehicle on B.C. roads in 2016 would have been 4% less efficient.
  • Between 2007 and 2013, the carbon price was found to have increased employment by 0.74% annually. While employment fell in carbon-intensive industries, clean service industries experienced greater employment growth.
  • The price helped drive innovation. B.C.’s cleantech sector grew significantly to include nearly 300 companies. Earlier this year, 12 Canadian companies were named to the Global Cleantech 100 list—half of those were from B.C.
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