Survey indicates carbon levy hurting Central Alberta businesses

Red Deer Chamber of Commerce polled its members

A Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce survey of its members seems to indicate the new provincial carbon levy has been more effective at reducing profits and employment than reducing emissions.

The survey shows that most of those who responded are facing higher costs and reduced profits because of the carbon levy that came into effect on Jan. 1.

Reg Warkentin, Chamber policy and advocacy manager, said Wednesday that about 120 business, representing a cross-section of their membership, responded to the survey. The Chamber has over 800 members.

The survey showed that businesses polled have been unable to change their operations to mitigate the added cost incurred from the carbon levy, which came into effect on Jan. 1. The implementation has occurred at a fragile economic time of low growth and high unemployment, the Chamber said.

Seventy-five per cent of polled businesses are facing higher costs from vendors and suppliers because of the levy, but only 32 per cent passed on cost increases to their customers.

Forty-four per cent of businesses report they expect to reduce spending, 22 per cent expect their sales to decline, and 60 per cent expect their profits to decline.

The survey also showed that 27 per cent of businesses made changes to their operations to reduce or mitigate costs incurred from the carbon levy. While some methods included cutting the frequency of transportation activity, heating buildings less, and installing LED lights, other businesses had to resort to reducing hours, wages, and even cutting staff.

Warkentin said he was surprised by the result showing costs have gone up to the extent they have and more surprised that there weren’t more measures businesses could take to mitigate carbon levy costs.

It seems like those measures aren’t economically viable right now, he said. “Rather than really incenting the behaviour change, which the carbon levy was designed to, it just seems like it’s just added a cost.”

He also thought more businesses would pass on the costs of the levy but it may be because they find it too difficult to raise prices to their customers because of fragile economic conditions.

“We’re really going to be looking for ways that businesses can mitigate these costs and remain competitive with other provinces, with our neighbours to the south, with businesses internationally.”

“Nobody is going to say we shouldn’t be trying to do something to reduce emissions and make our planet a healthier place to live, it’s just keeping business competitive while we do it,” Warkentin said.

Just Posted

Sunnybrook pies in demand

Just in time for Easter

Rocky RCMP officer who fired a weapon at fleeing vehicle is under investigation

Driver “appeared unhurt” in incident on O’Chiese First Nation

Emotional impact of hurtful words explored in art exhibit

Self-worth is closely tied to physical image, says artist

WATCH: Red Deerians can have a say about crime fighting

Municipality will poll citizens about policing priorities

21-year-old charged with drug trafficking in Rocky Mountain House

RCMP seized drugs after conducting a traffic stop and charged a 21-year-old… Continue reading

Liberal bill would tighten controls on sale, licensing of firearms

OTTAWA — Gun retailers would be required to keep records of firearms… Continue reading

Alberta factoring in Trans Mountain pipeline in budget forecasts

EDMONTON — Finance Minister Joe Ceci says Alberta will rely on anticipated… Continue reading

Pooches and pickup truck stolen in Edmonton found in Rimbey

Two old English bulldogs named Rocky and Jersey who were in a… Continue reading

Statistics Canada reports wholesale sales up 0.1 per cent in January

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says wholesale sales rose 0.1 per cent to… Continue reading

Right whale deaths cost Gulf snow crab fishery its designation as sustainable

HALIFAX — An international organization has suspended a sustainability certificate for the… Continue reading

Financial watchdog says controls to mitigate sales risk at banks ‘insufficient’

TORONTO — Canada’s financial consumer watchdog says there are “insufficient” controls in… Continue reading

Sheriff official: 3 injured in Maryland high school shooting

GREAT MILLS, Md. — A shooting at a Maryland high school Tuesday… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month