In the news for today: Carbon price increase today and Biz boost from solar eclipse

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Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today…

What to know about today’s carbon price increase

The national price on pollution is going up another $15 per tonne today.

The price change means filling a 50 litre tank with gas will cost another $1.65.

A natural gas heating bill will rise about $5.40 a month, while filling a propane tank for your barbecue this summer will cost an extra 55 cents.

The federal government is also adjusting the Canada Carbon Rebate to reflect the higher carbon costs starting with the next payment on April 15.

For a family of four in Alberta, the quarterly payment will increase by $64, while it will increase by about $36 in Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.

B.C. and Northwest Territories both have very similar carbon charges for consumers. Quebec has a cap-and-trade system that is quite different but is considered equivalent by Ottawa to what the federal price both costs and cuts in terms of emissions.

Trains aren’t the only place Canada lags on high-speed rail, as the effort to bring in a faster payment system, known as the Real-Time Rail, is years behind schedule.

As an example, if you paid a bill online on the Thursday evening before the Easter long weekend, the payment might not be processed until Monday.

A modernized system would mean payments go through near-instantly, 24 hours a day, bringing along billions of dollars of benefits, according to an estimate from the C.D. Howe Institute.

Getting the new system up and running will be the highest-profile task of the next CEO of Payments Canada as Tracey Black, who has run the organization since 2018, officially stepped down at the end of her term Monday.

Payments Canada CFO Kristina Logue and chief delivery officer Jude Pinto have been named co-CEOs on an interim basis until a successor is named.

Municipalities across Central and Eastern Canada have spent months preparing for an event that will last just three-and-a-half minutes: a total solar eclipse that will cast parts of the country into complete darkness.

Many cities and towns in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are gearing up to host thousands of visitors from across Canada and beyond hoping to catch a rare alignment of the sun, Earth and moon on April 8.

And municipalities are not missing this chance to welcome tourists in large numbers.

Visitors may feel like the busy travel season has come early, with hotels at capacity and seasonal attractions such as live music performances and food trucks available before their typical summer hours begin.

The tides are expected to be more promising this week in the northern Vancouver Island lagoon where an orphaned orca so far can’t be convinced to leave.

Work to coax the two-year-old Bigg’s killer whale over a sandbar and into the open ocean started after its mother died more than a week ago when she beached at the lagoon and could not be saved.

Low tide in the remote location off the northwest tip of Vancouver Island forced rescuers to pause their efforts over the weekend.

Methods that have been tried so far include recorded whale calls, specialized directional guide lines, the pounding of Indigenous drum beats, and metal pipes in the water struck to create a “sound wall,” but the young animal has not left.

The B.C.-based whale research group Bay Cetology is hoping tour operators, naturalists, and photographers in the area will submit photos of Bigg’s killer whales to its AI data hub to track the calf’s relatives and help with the eventual reunification.

A small forest fire has been extinguished in a provincial park west of Montreal, signalling an early start to the 2024 wildfire season.

A spokesman for Quebec’s forest fire prevention society, known as SOPFEU, said the fire that broke out Saturday in Oka Park was likely caused by a discarded cigarette.

Stéphane Caron said the 2.1-hectare blaze was put out by local fire departments, with firefighters from SOPFEU arriving Sunday morning to extinguish the remaining smoky spots.

Caron said the forest fire season normally gets underway in mid-April but is starting a little earlier than usual due to a less-snowy winter.

He said the spring forest floor is covered with dead leaves and branches that can easily be ignited by a spark from a cigarette or a burn pile that isn’t properly put out.

The early spring means a longer fire season, he said, but it’s too soon to know whether it will be more severe than usual.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 1, 2024…Read more by Canadian Press

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