Adapting Offset Protocols for Ontario, Québec and Other Jurisdictions

On April 13, 2015 Ontario announced that it would introduce a Cap-and-Trade program to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Ontario. It is currently Ontario’s intent to link its program with California and Québec’s joint program beginning in 2018. Ontario is working with Québec to develop a supply of high quality offsets with integrity, transparency and financial value for its GHG program. To do this Ontario intends to establish regulatory standards for GHG emissions reduction projects, issue carbon offset credits generated from such projects, and track the issuance and transaction of credits in a highly secure and transparent system.

The Reserve has been retained by the Government of Ontario to develop up to 13 protocols to facilitate the creation of high quality offsets for use in the GHG programs that have been or may be implemented in Ontario, Québec, and potentially other provinces. The Reserve’s partners for the work include Viresco Solutions, Brightspot Climate, Cap-Op Energy, Green Analytics and ÉcoRessources. Québec is intimately involved in the project and is a funding partner.

Ontario has identified three priority project types for protocol development: landfill gas capture and destruction, ozone depleting substances capture and destruction, and mine methane capture and destruction. In addition, the Reserve will be adapting GHG offset protocols for N2O reductions from fertilizer management in agriculture, livestock, organic waste digestion, organic waste management, forest, afforestation, urban forestry, grasslands, conservation cropping, and refrigeration systems.

As the premier carbon offset registry for the North American carbon market, the Reserve looks forward to applying our knowledge and expertise in emissions accounting and offset program development to support Ontario and Québec’s carbon market.

Stakeholder Involvement

If you are interested in joining one of the protocol adaptation teams, please fill out the form below and email it to [email protected]. The Reserve will then add you to the Stakeholder Team for the protocol(s) in which you express interest, and you will start receiving meeting invitations and other communications for that protocol. Stakeholders will be able to participate in several meetings during protocol adaptation and review and comment on the draft protocol prior to its release for public comment. Stakeholder input is an integral part of the process for adapting the protocols for use in Ontario and Québec.


For purposes of applicability in a potential joint Cap-and-Trade Program with California and Québec, only those offset protocols that address greenhouse gas sources that no other linked jurisdiction regulates will be eligible for consideration in the linked compliance market. For instance, Québec’s landfill protocol addresses smaller sized landfills that are not regulated in Québec, Ontario, or California. This requirement stems from the jointly developed Western Climate Initiative (WCI) Design Documents, and ensures that the additionality of any issued offset protocol is assessed against legislative and regulatory requirements in all linked jurisdictions (sometimes referred to as “regional additionality”). Any potential protocol developed for Cap-and-Trade purposes will need to be adapted and modified to ensure that it complies with WCI compliance market additionality requirements.

Efforts of the Climate Action Reserve may also assist Ontario in considering various offset protocol types, including review, assessment, and adaptation of protocols, that could serve other purposes than Cap-and-Trade (offsetting emissions from governmental operation, etc.) but that would not be adopted into the linked compliance market under a regional additionality review.

For information relating to a specific protocol, please click on the link below:


January 11, 2017
Adapting Offset Protocols for Ontario, Québec, and Other Jurisdictions
(second presentation of the webinar originally held December 21, 2016)
Speaker: Craig Ebert, President of the Climate Action Reserve
Presentation Slides – English
Presentation Slides – French

December 21, 2016
Adapting Offset Protocols for Ontario, Québec, and Other Jurisdictions
Speaker: Craig Ebert, President of the Climate Action Reserve
Presentation Slides