Twenty chambers of commerce across Ontario continue to push province to defer cap and trade program


Date:  12/20/2016
ArticleType:  Press Release

Following more than a year of repeated requests, 20 chambers of commerce across Ontario – including the Timmins Chamber – today issued yet another call for the provincial government to defer its cap and trade program, which is currently scheduled to be implemented January 1, 2017.

The joint coalition of business organizations, which also includes chambers from across northern Ontario, again pointed to the high costs of the program that will be layered onto skyrocketing electricity prices. As well, the lack of any provincial analysis of how cap and trade costs will affect individual business sectors prior to implementation leaves Ontario firms at great risk, according to Timmins Chamber President Chris Bender.

“We have consistently expressed our grave concerns of the potential economic impact that cap and trade will have on businesses big and small throughout our region, but we still are left with few answers and little clarity,” said Bender.

“With implementation of cap and trade less than two weeks away, we are still left with many of these concerns, and no real sense of what this will mean for our economy in the long term.”

In Ontario, since 2004, electricity prices have increased by 383%, from a flat rate of 4.7 cents a kilowatt hour to 18 cents a kilowatt hour at peak times.  The introduction of the cap and trade system will add further charges on natural gas, gasoline and diesel fuel that will be keenly felt by every individual and business in Ontario. For example, fuel costs will increase by 4.3 cents per litre, and initial estimates indicate that a typical business’ natural gas bills will likely rise $6,700 per year. Similarly, some large mining firms in northeastern Ontario are expecting cap and trade will add upwards of $10 million to their annual costs. These cumulative costs will apply across countless and as-yet-unknown Ontario businesses and sectors, and will have ripple effects across the entire economy, said Bender. 

This pressing call by the joint coalition of chambers is in keeping with the advocacy work they have undertaken throughout the year in pressing for a deferral of the cap and trade program, as well as more transparency around pricing. This includes working together to pass a resolution at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting in May 2016, where the Timmins Chamber was one of several to push for the program be deferred until 2018 as it was developed in too short a timeframe and with too little information regarding its impact on the provincial economy.

With an anticipated change in environmental policy direction in the United States under the incoming Trump administration, it remains uncertain as to how many individual states would opt into a cap and trade regime. Combined with the Canadian government’s looming plans to develop its own federal cap and trade initiative, it is important that Ontario take a step back and analyze how best to position itself so as to be appropriately competitive with its largest trading partner, and with its neighboring provinces, said Bender.

“Now is not the time to pass sweeping changes without being aware of what this will mean for our businesses, particularly given the equally significant changes set to happen both in the U.S. and across Canada. We must analyze the impact and do everything we can to ensure Ontario businesses are competitive."

The list of participating chambers in this initiative include:

  • Ajax Pickering Chamber of Commerce

  • Burlington Chamber of Commerce

  • Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce

  • Greater Kitchener Waterloo

  • Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce

  • Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce

  • Hamilton Chamber of Commerce

  • Ingersoll Chamber of Commerce

  • Kingston Chamber of Commerce

  • London Chamber of Commerce

  • North Bay Chamber of Commerce

  • Northwestern Ontario Associated Chambers of Commerce

  • Newmarket Chamber of Commerce

  • Sault Ste Marie Chamber of Commerce

  • Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce

  • St Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce

  • Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce

  • Tillsonburg District Chamber of Commerce

  • Timmins Chamber of Commerce

  • Windsor-Essex Chamber of Commerce

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About the Timmins Chamber of Commerce

With over 700 members, the Timmins Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest accredited chambers of commerce with distinction in northeastern Ontario. As the “Voice of Business in Timmins” since 1949, our advocacy and policy initiatives focus on ensuring a positive business climate in the City of Timmins.

Media contact:

Nick Stewart
Manager of Policy, Research and Communications
Timmins Chamber of Commerce
(705) 360-1900
policy@timminschamber.on.ca