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The Carbon Market

Auctions

Watch for the results of the Québec-California Joint Auction #17 of GHG emission units, which will be announced November 21, starting at 3 pm!

Under the cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emission allowances (C&T system), a maximum of four auctions of GHG emission units are held annually. However, there is no pre-set date for the auctions. A notice is published at least 60 days prior the date of an auction, outlining the rules and conditions pertaining to the sale.

Auction procedure

At auction, a bidder may submit more than one bid insofar as each one and in full complies with the minimum price, the amount covered by the bidder’s financial guarantee, the bidder’s purchasing limit and holding limit. The bid price refers to the price offered for one emission unit and must be in USD or CAD in whole dollars and cents. The number of bids refers to the number of lots (1 lot = 1,000 GHG emission units) requested at this price. All offers remain confidential, and the selling price is determined by the offer that allows for selling the last GHG emission unit available. Winners are notified of the settlement price, the number and total cost of emission units they have been awarded. Winning bidders must complete financial settlement within the prescribed time period, failing which their financial guarantee will be used.

Minimum selling price for a GHG emission unit at auction

For 2012, the minimum price for a GHG emission unit at auction was $10. The minimum price is increased annually by 5% plus inflation. There is no maximum price.

Each year, for joint auctions, the partner governments announce their respective minimum selling price for the following year. The minimum joint selling price of GHG emission units is announced on the business day prior to a joint auction. This price corresponds to the highest of the minimum prices set by the partner governments. This joint minimum price is calculated based on the exchange rate in effect the day prior to the auction or, if that rate is not available, based on the most recently available rate published by the Bank of Canada.

Registering for auctions

To take part in the auctions, an emitter or participant must first open an account in the GHG emissions allowance Compliance Instrument Tracking System Service (CITSS). However, auction participation is not automatic. Once the account has been opened, one of the emitter’s or participant’s account representatives, must indicate, via their general account in the CITSS system, the emitter’s or participant’s intention to participate in a government sale (auction or sale by mutual agreement by the Minister) at least 31 days before the event. To do so, the representative must click on the “Initiate Event Participation” button under the “Auction” tab in the CITSS system. This button only appears if registration is open for an upcoming event and enables the emitter’s representative to submit a new registration application for an event or submit the registration information once again as confirmation of the emitter’s intention to participate in the event.

For additional information, consult the CITSS user guide, Volume 5: Registering entities for government sales in the CITSS system (French, PDF, 4 MB)

The Auction Administrator

Under the Regulation respecting the delegation of management of certain parts of a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emission allowances, some support services for the implementation of the C&T system, including the administration of auctions, have been delegated to the Western Climate Initiative, Inc., a non-profit organization. This organization has signed a contract with Markit, whose primary mandate is to administer and provide the auction platform as well as technical assistance to participating governments.

The Financial Services Administrator

Western Climate Initiative, Inc. has signed a contract with Deutsche Bank, which provides the financial and transactional services offered in conjunction with the auctions to the participating governments.

The Financial Services Administrator provides the following services:

  • Before the auction:
    • Process financial eligibility applications;
    • Opens and maintains bank accounts for depositing financial guarantees;
    • Administers financial guarantees;
  • After the auction:
    • Makes payments;
    • Returns unused financial guarantees;

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