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Cap-and-trade could impact business

Ontario chambers caution province in transition to low-carbon economy
Kathleen Wynne
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has sent an open letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne calling on the government to contain the costs of the cap-and-trade system to better support Ontario’s business community.

With business confidence low and competition from the U.S., and rising costs to do business in Ontario, cap-and-trade could have negative repercussions on jobs and investment.

The chamber said Queen’s Park must ensure that the revenue and design of the system is allocated and developed in a way that supports business.

The chamber’s letter is aimed at impacting government policy in the provincial budget. According to the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce, cap and trade will remove approximately $30 million from the Sault’s economy, including upwards of $5 million from residential consumers; money that’s not spent on wages, expansion, new products, research and development, or by consumers on goods and services.

“We know that cap and trade is going to hurt Ontario business and we know that it’s going to hit both businesses and consumers in Sault Ste. Marie and the north especially hard,” said chamber president Rory Ring, in an April 5 news release.

The Ontario chamber has identified four priority actions that would assist the business community to better navigate the cap and trade system:

- Prioritize the allocation of cap and trade revenue for businesses, in addition to other efforts to offset the cost of cap and trade. Making the process to access resources as quickly as possible will be important, especially for smaller businesses who have little time or money to dedicate to program applications.

- Prioritize innovation funding. Many Ontario businesses have already taken steps to reduce their carbon footprint. Achieving further reductions could be difficult and will often require the implementation of new technologies.

- Create greater post-2020 design certainty. Post-2020 certainty is important for businesses looking to make long-term investments in Ontario.

- Monitor and respond to regional impacts. To ensure the strategic allocation of cap and trade revenues, government should conduct a regional analysis of the impacts.