Quebec Cap-and-Trade System, Emissions Abatement and Economic Performance: A Firm-Level Analysis

To mitigate climate change effects, Quebec enacted in 2007 North America’s first carbon tax, as a levy on fossil fuel, and then implemented Canada’s first cap-and-trade system in 2013. In 2014, Quebec and California linked their respective cap-and-trade systems to create the world’s first carbon market initiated by two subnational jurisdictions. Quebec marks many firsts when it comes to carbon pricing leadership. Overall, Quebec’s emissions have decreased by 4.5% in comparison to a mere 0.8% reduction for the rest of Canada over the 2005-2019 period. To avoid the trap in which carbon pricing would be heralded as a panacea, I will conduct a joint facility-level and firm-level analysis to estimate the impact of the Quebec cap-and-trade system on large emitting firms’ emissions and economic performance. Large emitting firms represent over 40% of Canada’s total emissions for 2019, which is the country’s largest source of emissions. Initial findings will be presented as work-in-progress aimed at assessing causal effects of Quebec cap-and-trade system on facilities’ emissions and jobs, as well as firms’ economic performance. Findings from this research project will be contrasted with results from previous studies assessing the causal effects of the European Union Emission Trading System on firms’ emissions and economic performance.

Bio – Simon Dessureault

Simon Dessureault is pursuing his PhD in Public Policy at Carleton University where he is conducting research on carbon pricing policy. More precisely, he is assessing the link between carbon pricing, emissions abatement, and economic performance in the industrial sector. Simon is also a Senior Economist at the Centre for Special Business Projects (CSBP) at Statistics Canada. Prior to joining the CSBP, Simon was Senior Policy Analyst at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, where he led economic research, and policy analysis and development initiatives. From 2007 to 2016, he held three managerial positions in the food processing industry related to marketing, innovation, product development, and export. Simon holds degrees in agricultural and resource economics from Laval University and the University of Guelph. His graduate research project was awarded Outstanding M.Sc. Thesis in Food Distribution & Marketing by the Food Distribution Research Society based in the United States.