Chamber urges Ontario government to help with costs of cap and trade

Open letter says impact needs to take into account full cost facing business

The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, is calling on the provincial government to take action through its 2017 budget to contain the costs of a cap and trade system intended to combat climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

CEO Shirley de Silva said the local Chamber worked with the Ontario Chamber, which sent the open letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne on Wednesday. In the letter, the Premier and the government were cautioned that the impact of cap and trade needs to take into account the full impact facing businesses, especially in a time of uncertainty.

“Although businesses generally agree that reducing harmful emissions is the right thing to do, they need help navigating the cap and trade system and its impacts,” said de Silva. “Along with the OCC, we are calling on the Premier to take action.”

The OCC and the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce have identified several priority actions that would help businesses to better navigate the cap and trade system.
These include:

  • Prioritizing the allocation of cap and trade revenue for businesses, in addition to other efforts to offset the cost of cap and trade;
  • Prioritizing innovation funding to help with the implementation of new technologies;
  • Creating greater certainty for the program’s design after 2020; and
  • Monitoring and responding to regional impacts.
“Ontario risks losing out on jobs and investment and risks and economically and environmentally damaging shift in production to jurisdictions that re not taking action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions,” said Graham Henderson, chair of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “The provincial government must consider how we can prevent exporting jobs while importing pollution.”

Wednesday’s letter builds on meetings held with senior government officials, including those attended by members and staff at the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce. Those meetings have emphasized the need to ensure Ontario’s businesses remain competitive and confident in the face of a changing economy. 

It also follows earlier communications to the Ontario government that call on the Ontario Energy Board to fully disclose cap and trade costs to taxpayers on their natural gas bills.

Last year, the government was urged by the Ontario Chamber and the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce to delay implementation of the cap and trade system until 2018.

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