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The Carbon Market

Auctions

Québec and California will hold a rescheduled joint cap-and-trade emission units auction on May 22, 2024 - Press Release (May 17, 2024)

2024 Annual Auction Reserve Price Notice (PDF, 212 KB)

Previous Auction Notices and Results

Auction Proceeds

Current Auction Price History (PDF, 569 KB)

Guides

Example Letter of Credit(PDF, 139 KB) - Updated June, 2022

Documentation

Frequently asked questions

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Under the Cap-and-Trade System for greenhouse gas emission allowances, the government holds a maximum of four auctions of GHG emission units annually. 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 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 requested at this price (1 lot = 1,000 GHG emission units). 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 of emission units they have been awarded and total amount they have to pay. 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

In 2012, the minimum price for a GHG emission unit at auction was $10. The minimum price has since been 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.

For the auction minimum prices and settlement prices, see the Current Auction Price History (PDF, 569 KB).

As an example, the following table provides a potential scenario of the annual minimum price, in Canadian Dollars, from the current vintage to 2030. For 2024, since California's annual minimum price is higher than Quebec's, the minimum price is the 2024 annual minimum price (PDF, 137 KB) published by California multiplied by the hypothetical exchange rate of 1.2500. The estimated minimum prices in the table also assume (1) that the highest minimum price remains California’s until 2030, (2) an annual inflation rate of 2%, and (3) an exchange rate of 1.2500 from 2024 through 2030.

2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030
$30.05 $32.15 $34.40 $36.81 $39.39 $42.15 $45.10

The settlement price may be higher than the minimum annual price. This example is provided for illustrative purposes only. Estimates depend on the underlying assumptions and should not be considered as market price forecast.

Registering for auctions

To participate in an 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 when registration is open for an upcoming event and enables the emitter’s or participant’s representative to submit a new registration application for an event or to confirm its intention to participate in the event by resubmitting the registration information.

For additional information about registering for auctions, see the CITSS User Manual – Volume 7: Registration for Governmental Sales (PDF, 1.2 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 (PDF, 164 KB), some support services for the implementation of the cap-and-trade system, including the administration of auctions, have been delegated to the Western Climate Initiative, Inc., a non-profit organization.

The Financial Services Administrator

Western Climate Initiative, Inc. has signed a contract with Deutsche Bank, which provides the financial 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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