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Published On: Tuesday, 01 August 2017

Canadian Chambers: Protect Competitiveness While Fighting Climate Change

Canadian Chambers: Protect Competitiveness While Fighting Climate Change

- The Canadian Chamber of Commerce 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.

CANADA - Ensuring Canadian business competitiveness while addressing the threat posed by climate change will require closer collaboration between governments and the private sector, or we risk losing on both fronts, say the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) and provincial and territorial chambers in a letter sent to the Prime Minister and the provincial and territorial Premiers today.

“There’s no denying the cost of doing business in Canada is rising, whether through tax rates, pension fees or rising costs of electricity," says the Hon. Perrin Beatty, the Chamber's President and CEO.

"Although businesses want to play a role in the fight against climate change, piling on additional costs without cutting elsewhere is seriously undermining our businesses’ capacity for growth. We’re losing competitive ground to the U.S., as their administration proposes slashing regulation and taxes. If we don’t give Canadian businesses breathing room, many will suffocate.”

The Canadian Chamber and its members understand the need to act on climate change. They support measures to move Canada towards a low carbon economy. Businesses even accept that this transition may mean an increase in the cost of their activities.

However, higher costs in one area can be balanced by improvements in another, for instance when high labour costs are offset by improvements in workforce productivity. The letter sent to Prime Minister Trudeau and the premiers suggests several areas where governments could maintain or increase business’s capacity to compete, while achieving our climate change targets.

“Climate change is everyone’s responsibility, and business accepts its obligations. However, all levels of government need to understand that business can only take so much," says Mr. Beatty.

"The measures that will have the most impact must be put in place in a way that supports the Canadian economy. For instance, revenues from carbon pricing mechanisms must be directed to areas like research and development of climate-friendly technologies and to lower other taxes. They must not simply go into general government revenues.

“Since 2011 the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has supported pricing carbon as the most efficient way to reduce emissions. For this measure to work, however, it has to be market-driven, not burdened by layer upon layer of regulations that trap and smother business. And governments at all levels need to understand that adding new costs and regulations without reducing existing ones will drive investment from Canada and kill jobs.”

Read a copy of the letter sent to Prime Minister Trudeau and all of the provincial and territorial premiers at the following link.