Climate regulation crushing Canadian businesses

Aaron Henry

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 by the Ottawa-based Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCoC), 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 CCoC 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. The 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,” states Aaron Henry, CCoC director, Resources and Environmental Policy, and author of the report.

“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.”

The report identifies four key issues resulting from the high cost and layered emission reduction strategies currently proposed.