(OTTAWA) – March 14, 2019 – Climate change is a defining issue of our times and Canadian businesses are prepared to play a role in combatting it. According to a report released today by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, that willingness is eroding, due to the prohibitive costs Canada’s climate polices have imposed on businesses across the country.
Titled A High Cost Climate Strategy Canadian Businesses Find Hard to Swallow, the Chamber’s report shines a light on the “pancaking” of climate-related costs and regulations, which are almost exclusively put on the shoulders of business owners, particularly the country’s small and medium-size businesses. As they begin to feel the financial impact of cumulative federal and provincial regulations impact, they are becoming less supportive of climate change policies.
“Climate change is real and we all have a role to play in addressing it, but Canada’s response to the challenge cannot drive away the investors, job creators and innovators that contribute to Canada’s prosperity, and the resources that will fuel the innovation required to combat climate change,” said the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “Unfortunately, as our report shows, Canada’s approach is to add layer upon layer of costs and regulatory burden that is crushing the ability of Canadian businesses to grow and compete in an increasingly competitive world.”
The Chamber’s report argues that it is possible for Canada to achieve its greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction objectives without unnecessarily harming the economy or raising the cost of energy to unaffordable levels.
“We can achieve Canada’s greenhouse gas reduction objectives without eroding the competitiveness of Canadian businesses. Moving in this direction means that policymakers need to adhere to the principle of regulating a greenhouse gas molecule once and only once. At present, we are on a collision course with a climate policy system of layered pricing mechanisms that businesses will find inflexible, overly prescriptive, and needlessly expensive. This approach looks increasingly inefficient and runs the risk of driving the cost of energy to unaffordable levels,” said Dr. Aaron Henry, Director, Resources and Environmental Policy, and author of the report.
The report outlines four key issues resulting from the high cost and layered emission reduction strategies currently proposed:
· Pathways to compliance that are overly prescriptive make compliance more costly for companies. Policy makers should work to ensure that compliance for the Output Based Pricing system is as flexible as possible.
· When pricing mechanisms to drive down emissions are stacked on top of each other they can increase the cost of reducing emissions without necessarily creating more emission reductions. The federal government must adhere to a principle of regulating a greenhouse gas molecule once, not multiple times.
· Climate policy can be politically polarizing and costly reduction strategies may not survive when a new government forms. Adhering to a principle of making GhG reductions at the lowest possible cost will ensure that Canada’s climate policy remains predictable from one government to the next.
· There will be increased costs through the value chain to small and medium businesses that could exceed the current rebate assigned to these companies through the assigned carbon fuel surcharge revenue. Government must create the support mechanisms to shield small and medium businesses, especially those that are heavily dependent on the transportation of goods, from higher costs.
To download the entire report, visit http://www.chamber.ca/publications/reports/
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 200,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions. News and information are available at Chamber.ca or follow us on Twitter @CdnChamberofCom.
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Senior Director, Strategic Communications and Public Affairs
Canadian Chamber of Commerce