New legislation will see Northerners get relief on aviation fuel tax

Northern pilots will soon see a reduced fuel bill. SHUTTERSTOCK

GORE BAY – Cuts announced last week by the provincial government to cut the aviation fuel tax rate in the North is good news for Northern communities and in costs for air travellers.

Legislation introduced recently will see a cut to the aviation fuel tax rate in the North. Effective January 1, 2020, the aviation fuel tax rate will decrease by 2.7 cents per litre from the current 6.7 cents per litre.

“I just heard that this week. That’s good, a decrease of four cents a litre,” said Robby Colwell, airport manager at the Gore Bay-Manitoulin Airport, last Friday. “It’s going to make things more affordable for consumers and the travelling public.”

The Ontario government is delivering on its commitment to reduce the aviation fuel tax rate in Northern Ontario, helping to lower the cost of living for people in the region.

Finance Minister Rod Phillips was joined by Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities and MPP for Sault Ste. Marie for the announcement on November 13.

As announced in the 2019 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review: A Plan to Build Ontario Together, the government is proposing to cut the aviation fuel tax rate in the North to 2.7 cents per litre from 6.7 cents per litre.

“Living in Northern Ontario can bring with it a higher cost of living, in part because of greater reliance on air travel and air freight,” said Minister Phillips. “That is why we are helping reduce costs in this region by cutting the aviation fuel tax rate.”

The lower aviation fuel tax rate would help reduce costs on things like groceries and air travel.

“Our government has heard loud and clear that people from all walks of life, especially those who live in Northern Ontario, are tired of paying more and getting less,” said Minister Phillips. “That is why we have a plan to make life more affordable for families and individuals in every corner of the province.” He feels the reduction will encourage airlines to use fuel services from the Northern communities. 

Minister Romano added, “we are putting money in people’s pockets by reducing taxes, helping families with child care expenses and ensuring post-secondary education is affordable. By taking these concrete steps we are ensuring that Ontario continues to be a place to live, work and play.”

Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines said, “Northerners know all too well about the high costs of essential goods in the North and the great distances we travel as a part of everyday life. Our government recognizes these unique challenges, and through this aviation fuel tax cut, we are taking real action to make life more affordable for the hardworking families across Northern Ontario.”

“A decrease of four cents per litre is substantial, and one area they could put this funding revenue is into airports,” said Mr. Colwell. “We’ve said previously that money made off aviation fuel tax should go back into aviation, airports; it makes sense, where the commerce takes place is on the (airport) runway.”

Mr. Phillips said the reduced aviation fuel tax rate will apply to the districts of Algoma, Cochrane, Kenora, Manitoulin, Nipissing, Parry Sound, Rainy River, Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Timiskaming.