Windsor hospitals seeking carbon tax exemption

Windsor Regional Hospital Metropolitan Campus, February 1, 2018. Blackburn News file photo.

Windsor Regional Hospital is considering asking the federal government for a carbon tax exemption.

CEO David Musyj said the carbon tax will hit the hospital’s budget hard. He said it will cost the hospital an extra $160,000 this year and an additional $400,000 a year in heating and cooling costs over the next four or five years.

The federal government imposed the carbon tax on four provinces on April 1, including Ontario.

Musyj said the money could be better spent on patients and services.

“[We have] very little ability to stop using natural gas. So, when you have to pay an additional $400,000 a year, that’s just money lost,” said Musyj.

Musyj also said the hospital’s electrical use has remained the same or gone down over the past five years but costs have increased by around $600,000 a year to more than $4 million a year for electricity.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said this week that hospital heating and cooling costs across the province will go from $10.8 million this year to more than $27.2 million in 2022-2023.

The provincial government is taking the federal government to court later this month because it said it introduced a climate change plan in November that is adequate and the federal government should not impose this tax on Ontarians.

Musyj said reducing the carbon footprint is a noble cause but not at the expense of hospitals and patients.

“At the end of the day all this is going to do is negatively impact the services we deliver, which is not what anyone wants,” he added.

Musyj said he hopes hospitals will get an exemption from the carbon tax but he’s not sure if the request will be successful.

“Can we get an exemption but who else would be exempted too. Do you get into school boards and things like that, are they exempted? Musyj said.