WTO Declares Ontario’s Green Energy Act Illegal

In December 2012, the World Trade Organization ruled part of the Ontario Green Energy and Green Economy Act (GEA) illegal. According to the Council of Canadians, one of seven environmental, labor and student groups that defended the Green Energy Act, the WTO panel decided that “Buy Local” conditions on wind and solar power projects, designed to ensure local development and jobs benefits to Ontarians, violate international free-trade rules. This decision exposes the very real barrier that these rules put in front of economic and environmental policy options, and to the idea of sustainable development more generally.