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.

barr@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Weinstein conviction sends right message, says advocate

“Don’t stay in silence because we can make this end one day”

One actor tackles 33 zany characters in CAT’s social satire, Fully Committed

Ash Mercia is taking on an actor’s biggest challenge

Sylvan Lakers asked for playground input

Town has set aside $250,000 to replace Centennial Park playground

Alberta legislature resumes: Focus on jobs and bill to punish protesters

EDMONTON — A new legislature sitting has begun with the Alberta government… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Feb. 19 A Liberation of Holland event is being held at the… Continue reading

Bucks defeat Raptors in battle of Eastern Conference heavyweights

Bucks 108 Raptors 97 TORONTO — Khris Middleton scored 22 points as… Continue reading

Monahan, Backlund score 2G each, Flames beat Bruins 5-2

Flames 5 Bruins 2 BOSTON — Sean Monahan scored a pair of… Continue reading

Canadian Pacific obtains injunction to end Mohawk rail blockade in Kahnawake

MONTREAL — Canadian Pacific Railway obtained an injunction Tuesday aimed at ending… Continue reading

Alberta legislature resumes: Focus on jobs and bill to punish protesters

EDMONTON — A new session of the Alberta legislature began Tuesday with… Continue reading

Red Deer realtor is Century 21’s best seller worldwide

Nobody sold more units than Gavin Heintz among company’s 139,000 realtors

Red Deer District Community Foundation looking for volunteer board members

The Red Deer & District Community Foundation is looking for new board… Continue reading

Feds seek 21 months for Hot Pockets heiress in college scam

BOSTON — Prosecutors are seeking nearly two years in prison for an… Continue reading

Most Read