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June 3 2024

Competition Act amendments hamper investment, innovation & environmental sustainability across sectors

Calgary, AB, June 3, 2024 – In light of the recently proposed amendments to the Competition Act, the Calgary Chamber of Commerce expresses concern that these proposed changes will create continued uncertainty for industry as well as chill investment and environmental stewardship efforts in Canada, including decarbonization projects – especially at a time when our economy relies on businesses to drive innovation and decarbonization.

“For Canada to be a leader in decarbonization and environmental protection, companies need to be able to share their aspirations,” says Ruhee Ismail-Teja, Vice President, Policy and External Affairs with the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. “While progress to date must be verifiable, climate ambition – and accessing capital to fund decarbonization technologies that are not yet proven – hinges on being able to share long-term goals.”

Earlier this month, the Competition Bureau announced proposed amendments to the Competition Act, which would require any Canadian company, regardless of size or sector, to verify claims of environmental performance of their goods or services – including forward-looking and aspirational plans. Companies that wish to release, communicate or drive awareness of plans for decarbonization or environmental projects must comply with an international standard that is currently undefined and unclear. Should companies be unable to comply with these currently undefined standards, a three per cent tax on global profits will be imposed, which could serve as a major deterrent to investment in Canada.

If businesses do not know what standard they will be held to in data reporting, at risk of significant monetary and reputational hazard, they will cease to make any claims related to environmental benefit, which will significantly impact ESG reporting, investment attraction, and climate ambition more broadly. This is also punitive for small and medium-sized businesses, which often struggle to respond to these changes quickly.

Decarbonizing Canada’s economy is one of the greatest challenges – and opportunities – that our country currently faces. While it is critical to have policy and guidelines that ensure accurate reporting of environmental data and climate goals, that policy must be developed to support an ambitious and innovative economy. To that end, we recommend that the Government of Canada withdraw the amendment and engage with the business community to determine an appropriate path forward that achieves the goal of preventing false representations of environmental stewardship without the unintended negative effects of the currently proposed amendment.

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About the Calgary Chamber of Commerce

The Calgary Chamber of Commerce exists to help businesses reach their potential. As the convenor and catalyst for a vibrant, inclusive and prosperous business community, the Chamber works to build strength and resilience among its members and position Calgary as a magnet for talent, diversification and opportunity. As an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization founded in 1891, we build on our history to serve and advocate for businesses of all sizes, in all sectors across the city.

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