Ontario chambers of commerce are calling for a “deferral” of the provincial government’s cap and trade programs, scheduled to be implemented on Jan. 1.
A news release from a group of 20 chambers said the program will cause jobs and investment to leave Ontario and warn electricity rises will surge.
The chambers point out electricity prices have risen 383 per cent, from a flat rate of 4.7 cents a kilowatt hour to 18 cents a kilowatt hour at peak times.
The cap-and-trade system, they said, will add further charges on natural gas, gasoline and diesel fuel that will be felt by Ontario taxpayers and business.
North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Timmins, Thunder Bay and the Northwestern Ontario Association Chambers of Commerce are signatories to news release.
“Businesses are already struggling under the weight of ever increasing costs and we are extremely concerned about the impacts of these additional charges on jobs and the economy,” said Patti Carr, executive director of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce, in a Dec. 20 news release.
“We have already lost hundreds of millions of investment, in Ontario, to other jurisdictions like the United States and Quebec due to high electricity prices, layering on cap and trade will no doubt make it much worse,” said Carr, adding that “the unintended impact of Ontario’s cap and trade will lead to the removal of jobs and investment from clean grids like Ontario to much dirtier grids in the U.S. and elsewhere.”
The chambers add the incoming Trump administration appears unlikely to participate in cap-and-trade, as will a vast majority of state governments.
The chambers refer to the recent provincial auditor general’s report that the cap-and-trade system will result in only a small portion of the required greenhouse-gas reductions needed to meet Ontario’s 2020 target, and will bring on even higher power prices, which may force people to switch to natural gas.