British Columbians Divided on Future of Provincial Carbon Tax

More than three-in-five (62%) say the carbon tax has negatively affected the finances of their household, up 26 points since 2020.

Vancouver, BC [October 25, 2023] – Residents of British Columbia are split on what should happen to the provincial carbon tax in the event of a Conservative Party victory in the next Canadian federal election, a new Research Co. poll has found.

The carbon tax was implemented in British Columbia by the provincial government—headed by Gordon Campbell of the BC Liberals—in July 2008, a decade before the federal government brought in a federal carbon tax. The federal Conservative Party has pledged to abolish the federal carbon tax if it forms the government after the next election.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 43% of British Columbians think the provincial carbon tax should be scrapped if the federal version is abandoned, while 40% would prefer to keep it.

Support for keeping the provincial carbon tax is highest among British Columbians aged 18-to-34 (54%), but drops among those aged 35-to-54 (44%) and those aged 55 and over (36%).

Fewer than three-in-ten British Columbians (28%) think the introduction of the carbon tax has led people to be more mindful of their carbon consumption and change their behaviour, down nine points since a similar Research Co. poll conducted in October 2020.

More than three-in-five British Columbians (62%, +26) say that the carbon tax has negatively affected the finances of their household.

“The notion of the British Columbia carbon tax causing financial strife is more prevalent in Northern BC (65%), Metro Vancouver (64%) and the Fraser Valley (also 64%),” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “The proportions are slightly lower in Southern BC (56%) and Vancouver Island (also 56%).”

At least two thirds of British Columbians say they are personally concerned about four environmental problems: global warning or climate change (71%, +8), the pollution of rivers, lakes and reservoirs (70 %, +4), the pollution of drinking water (69%, +4) and air pollution (66%, +1).

Majorities of British Columbians are also personally worried about six other problems: the contamination of soil and water by toxic waste (64%, +4), the extinction of plant and animal species (63%, +5), deforestation (62%, +4), the maintenance of the supply of fresh water for household needs (also 62%, +7), the depletion of fish stocks through overfishing (61%, +3) and the loss of tropical rain forests (58%, +3).

More than two-in-five British Columbians believe three levels of government are not paying enough attention to the environment: federal (46%, +5), municipal (44%, +6) and provincial (43%, +8).

Methodology: Results are based on an online study conducted from October 12 to October 14, 2023, among 800 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.