The federal government recently announced it had made available $1.6 billion to support Canada’s struggling oil and gas sector. While the Federal Government’s recognition of the crisis faced by Canada’s energy sector was welcome, the funds are a “band-aid” solution to what is a much larger structural issue.
Our regulatory system continues to put Canadian jobs and Canadian prosperity in jeopardy. We cannot get our energy products to global markets because not even the Federal Government seems able to get major infrastructure projects approved, let alone businesses.
A recent report by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce—A Competitive Transition: How Smarter Climate Policy can help Canada lead the transition to a low carbon economy—made it clear our energy resources are of strategic importance. Canadian oil and gas producers must be given the opportunity to lead Canada’s strategy to reduce emissions, because only they know how to make investments and drive innovation.
Getting support right for this sector is not about offering the sector loans; it is about creating a regulatory system that will get projects like the Trans Mountain Expansion completed. This is the “support” Alberta is asking for, and it is the action from the Federal Government that Canada needs.
A consistent, fair and non-burdensome regulatory system is the backbone of a strong economy. Without a regulatory system that can get major projects approved to move our energy to tidewater, we will continue to lose approximately $80 million a day.
This endangers the competitiveness of our economy and means fewer resources for essential public services or the commercialization of clean technologies. Without a regulatory system free from layered, duplicative standards and regulations, the cumulative costs will make climate policies too expensive for Canadian businesses. A regulatory system that is predictable, transparent, and free of needless cumulative costs, comes first. Doing it in the reverse is putting the cart before the horse.
The Canadian Chamber will continue advocacy work on Bill C-69 to make sure major projects and foreign investment in this country are supported by a regulatory system that is predictable, clear and objective in its assessments.
This also means making it clear to decision-makers that they must take action to reduce the cumulative costs businesses face so that carbon pricing does not become layered with other additional costs and regulatory standards.
Keep an eye out for our latest report, The Cumulative Cost of Climate Policy, which will make key recommendations on how to achieve meaningful climate action at the lowest possible cost to Canadian businesses.
The above commentary comes from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is a member.