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RELEASE: BC can maintain climate leadership position while enhancing our economic competitiveness

Vancouver, BC – August 19, 2016 - The Business Council of British Columbia today released the following statement from Greg D’Avignon, President and Chief Executive Officer and Jock Finlayson, Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer, in response to the provincial government’s new Climate Leadership Plan:

“The Business Council of British Columbia acknowledges the government’s efforts to use science- supported data and to consult a broad spectrum of interests in developing its updated climate plan, with the goal of ensuring that BC remains a climate policy leader in North America.

“We reviewed, in detail, the report the Climate Leadership Team (CLT) released last fall. There is much in the report our members support, including further action to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, increased electrification of the transport sector and the northeast of the province, and a revision of the 2020 greenhouse gas emissions targets.

“The government’s updated climate plan has incorporated many of the CLT’s recommendations, while acknowledging the significant private sector investments and actions to date to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Combined, these public and private sector efforts will continue to support BC’s climate leadership position in North America.  

“The Business Council remains concerned, however, about business competitiveness and the impact of government policies on the viability of the commercial operations of some of our members, particularly in export-based industries, as well as their ability to attract new capital investment to maintain and grow jobs.  As a small trading economy, BC is competing with jurisdictions that have not taken similar climate management steps, putting a number of our energy-intensive, trade-exposed industries at a disadvantage in the global market. Looking ahead, the government needs to monitor the implications of new and existing policies in developing policies to address climate change. 

“There are some businesses operating in British Columbia that pay upwards of $30 to $50 million in carbon tax each year.  These businesses must compete with companies based outside of the province that sell goods into BC and other global markets while paying a much lower price on carbon, or no carbon levy at all. This makes these businesses less competitive. 

“The Business Council believes the time has come for pan-Canadian climate strategies and common regulatory standards in areas such as carbon pricing, greenhouse gas reporting, energy efficiency targets for new vehicles, the use of offsets, and building codes. Collaboration with other provinces and with the national government is critical to ensure a more consistent approach across Canada in managing the complex challenge of climate change.

“Lastly, in the wider Canadian context the Business Council supports putting a price on carbon emissions to incent behavioural change and encourage increased investments in low-carbon technologies.  For British Columbia, this means coordinating carbon pricing with the national government to create a level playing field for business and industry across the country.”

About the Business Council of British Columbia

Celebrating its 50th year as the preeminent business organization in the province, the Council has a strong history of providing relevant public policy research and advice on issues to enhance BC’s competitiveness. Since its inception with founding Chair, JE Richardson, then CEO of BC Telephone Company, the Council has been fortunate to have as members major employers from across all sectors in BC’s economy who have played meaningful roles in building British Columbia.

Today, the Council is a source for insight on the BC and Canadian economies and how international trends and domestic policies are impacting our ability to compete in a global economy. Priority areas of focus include: environmental sustainability policies, economic reconciliation with First Nations, innovation, building a competitive tax and regulatory regime, supporting trade and market access, and the development and the attraction of a deep and diverse talent pool. 

Contact:

Cheryl Maitland Muir
Cheryl.Muir [at] bcbc.com
604-812-5965