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In the past few days, there have been a number of news stories surrounding the Canadian Chamber’s recent report A Competitive Transition: How smarter climate policy can help Canada lead the way to a low carbon economy (December 2018).  

While some of the coverage notes the Chamber’s support for carbon pricing, it neglects to include that the support is contingent upon significant caveats. The report calls for government to take concrete steps to reduce the overall regulatory burden on businesses in Canada, and to return the revenues from the carbon tax to business to help them lower their carbon emissions and their energy costs.

The Chamber’s view is that this is the only cost-effective way to reduce carbon emissions in Canada, and when done right, carbon pricing can equip businesses for the transition to a lower-carbon economy, and reduce the overall regulatory burden. A notable example where this has not been done right is in Alberta, where the Carbon Levy was implemented and added additional cost burdens on business while monies collected through the levy will flow to general revenues beginning in 2021. This type of policy does not reflect the recommendations made in this report.

The Chamber’s report also makes clear the strategic importance of Canada’s natural resources sectors, and the economic necessity of getting Canada’s oil and gas resources to tidewater so they can reach global markets. Without addressing the short-comings of the current energy regulatory framework and interprovincial barriers to trade, we cannot effectively move forward with a comprehensive climate policy.

 QUICK FACTS - Canadian Chamber of Commerce on Carbon Pricing

 -        The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has supported putting a price on carbon since 2011. However, we believe that it must be part of coherent strategy to deal with climate change, and not simply added to a hodge-podge of other measures. In representing the concerns of their members, individual chambers may advocate differing views.

-        The Canadian Chamber recognizes that climate policy must be part of a broader national conversation about Canada’s competitiveness. This discussion must include concrete action to address the decline in foreign direct investment in Canada, and our inability to move forward on major infrastructure projects.

-        The Chamber’s support for putting a price on carbon is not unconditional for other reasons. It also depends upon the carbon pricing mechanism being revenue neutral, that the overall regulatory burden on business is reduced, and that the revenue generated is used to help businesses invest in innovation and technologies to reduce their carbon emissions and energy costs.  

-        The Chamber believes that a well-executed carbon pricing policy has the potential to reduce the overall costs to business through the reduction or elimination of other duplicative regulatory burdens.

-        The Chamber will continue to support Canada’s energy sector, including advocating for the pipelines necessary to get our oil to tidewater and to international markets. We are also pressing the government to amend Bill C-69, which is unacceptable in its present form.