In December 2016, the federal government and all but two province and territories adopted the Pan-Canadian Framework for Clean Growth and Climate Change, a national plan to meet Canada’s emission reduction target. It is an ambitious effort that rightly focuses resources and attention on one of the most pressing ecological and economic issues of our day. But a crucial piece of the plan is missing.
The Pan-Canadian Framework mentions in passing the need to minimize the competitiveness impacts of climate policies. If offers, however, no concrete details on what the federal role will be to ensure businesses and jobs stay within Canada. Instead, First Ministers will review a report in 2020 to consider approaches and best practices to address the competitiveness of only one part of the economy, emissions-intensive businesses that are highly exposed to trade.
2020 is too late for governments to adopt a plan to address Canadian competitiveness in a new era of climate policies. We need a frank discussion of the possible competitiveness impacts today. On March 16, we are launching a project to develop recommendations for how governments can move forward with climate policies while protecting the competitiveness of Canadian businesses. In our first roundtable in Calgary, we will start the discussion by exploring five major themes.