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Canadian Civil Liberties Association to challenge mandatory anti-carbon tax sticker

The notice gas stations will be forced to post at every pump or they could face steep fines. CITYNEWS/Cristina Howorun

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association says they will be challenging the Ford government’s mandatory anti-carbon tax gas stickers in court.

They say forcing gas stations to post them at pumps violates Freedom of Expression under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the stickers are a “compelled political message.”

The government introduced legislation back in April that would require the notice to be put on gas pumps showing that the tax has added 4.4 cents a litre to the price of gasoline and that will rise to 11 cents per litre by 2022.

Gas stations, according to the Federal Carbon Transparency Act, could face a fine of up to $10,000 per day the stickers are not displayed.

For individual owners, it’s $500 per day for first offence, $1,000 per day per second offence. For corporate-owned stations, a first-time offense is $5,000, after that it’s $10,000 a day.

There is also a fine of up to $10,000 if someone attempts to obstruct the inspection of a gas station for the notice.

The stickers will have to be displayed as of August 30, ahead of the Labour Day long weekend.

The provincial government provide CityNews with a statement in response to the court challenge.

“Our government’s transparency measures will make sure families and small businesses know exactly how much the federal carbon tax adds to the price per litre,” read a statement. “We will continue to pursue measures that ensures all Ontarians are aware of the costs associated with this tax.”

The Canadian Independent Petroleum Marketers Association – which represents more than half of gas stations across Ontario and the country, have also pushed back against the stickers, saying they are concerned the stickers are a “one-sided partisan message.”

President and CEO Jennifer Stewart said they proposed a different sticker that showed all the elements that go into the price at the pumps, like crude and wholesale price and both provincial and federal taxes, but the province turned those down.

The Association did say they would be complying with the order to put the stickers up.

Alberta and Saskatchewan, who are also fighting against the federal carbon tax, say they have no plans to follow Ontario’s lead and force gas stations to put anti-carbon tax stickers on their pumps.

The carbon tax is expected cost to a typical household $258 this year and $648 by 2022.

Residents of provinces with the tax will be getting rebates on their income tax returns that start at $128 annually and increase for people with spouses or dependents at home. The federal government says a family of four in Ontario would get $307 this year.

With files from The Canadian Press