A new think-tank analysis suggests Ontario’s green-energy levy may not be constitutional.
The C.D. Howe Institute says that’s because the levy — enacted by regulation — could be considered an indirect tax rather than a fee.
If that’s the case, the government would have to give back the money it collected but could then pass legislation to impose the tax.
However, Ontario’s Taxpayer Protection Act requires a provincial referendum before new taxes are imposed.
Ontario recently changed regulations to allow the Ontario Energy Board to collect $53.7 million from electricity distributors to fund green-energy programs.
Last month, Premier Dalton McGuinty insisted it’s not a tax, saying the new green fee would cost consumers about 33 cents a month.