BURNABY – New rules and bureaucracy proposed by the federal government will adversely impact Canada’s energy industry, says the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) in a submission to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.

ICBA opposes Bill C-69, introduced by the Trudeau government aimed at dramatically changing how major resource development projects are vetted in Canada.

ICBA is concerned that over the past several years, it has been excruciatingly difficult – often impossible – for major infrastructure projects to ‘get to yes’ in Canada. Energy East, Pacific Northwest LNG, and Keystone XL have all been cancelled. In addition, nearly every major international energy company has sold its assets in the oil sands and left Canada.

“Unfortunately, the exodus may continue given the recent announcement by Kinder Morgan that its $7.4 billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project may be the next major project to be shelved in Canada,” said Chris Gardner, ICBA president. “The message sent by Bill C-69 is not helpful.”

ICBA noted in its submission that the president of RBC, Dave McKay, recently raised concerns about investment capital leaving Canada and going elsewhere – mainly the United States – as a result of lower taxes, more effective regulations and an investment-friendly environment.

In recent years, investors in Canada have had to digest significant federal and provincial tax increases which – taken together with recent substantial tax reductions in the United States and general uncertainty over NAFTA negotiation outcomes – underscore that Canada’s (and British Columbia’s) small, open trade-exposed economy is no longer competitive.

“We need to make it easier to attract investment and do business in Canada not harder,” said Gardner. “By adding gender-based analysis, climate change objectives, and other socio-economic concerns to the existing list of items a proponent must examine as part of their review, the government has made the process more – not less – complex.”

Canada’s energy sector directly employs more than 425,000 men and women and is the single largest source of private sector investment in the country. “We have to stop vilifying Canada’s energy industry,” said Gardner. “No jurisdiction in the world harnesses its natural resources more sustainably than Canada – we have a lot to proud of, yet we seem content to lose investment, jobs, opportunity and talent as companies decide to invest billions of dollars, not in Canada, but in other countries.”

“This legislation seems designed to make it more difficult to invest in Canada and aimed at relegating bold, visionary and nation-building construction and infrastructure projects to something found only in Canadian history textbooks,” said Gardner.

See ICBA’s full submission HERE.