Recommendations on Canada’s economic future could bring positive change for pipelines

On October 30th, the Business Council of Canada’s Task Force on Canada’s Economic Future issued a report with six recommendations for government, and all political parties, to improve Canada’s economic future.

The report is called A Better Future for Canadians: Report and recommendations of the Task Force on Canada’s Economic Future.

It has in common some of the themes found in an April 2019 study by Ernst and Young (EY), Regulatory Competitiveness in Canada’s Pipeline Industry, which was commissioned by the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA).

In today’s blog post, we will focus on the three recommendations with the most significance for Canada’s energy pipeline industry.

 

1. Modernize the regulatory environment

 

The Task Force laid down a challenge for governments to drastically improve Canada’s regulatory environment. “Canada should commit to the goal of being the most efficiently regulated country on earth, as measured by the World Bank’s “Doing Business” index and the World Economic Forum’s annual Competitiveness rankings.”

The report paralleled CEPA’s EY study, which concluded that regulatory layers and complex overlaps resulting from both provincial/territorial and federal governments having separate pipeline regulations are among the biggest challenges to competitiveness.

The Task Force noted, “Every government pays lip service to red-tape reduction, and now and then there are moves in the right direction. Yet the regulatory environment continues to increase in both complexity and unpredictability, creating unnecessary barriers to innovation and growth.  It is time for a new approach.”

 

2. Prioritize nationally significant infrastructure projects

 

At a time when major pipeline development continues to be stalled, the report also recommended that the federal government identify and prioritize nationally significant infrastructure projects. As the Task Force pointed out, “All Canadians have paid the price for inadequate pipeline infrastructure, which seriously constrains energy exports.”

The EY report raised a similar concern, noting the delays in new pipeline construction have resulted in a continued lack of market access for Canada’s energy products, and billions of dollars in lost revenue and taxes impacting the Canadian economy.

 

3. Develop a national resource and climate strategy

 

Lastly, the Task Force called on the government to “to begin development of a national resource strategy, with the goal of strengthening Canada as a location of choice for leading-edge resource companies that demonstrate how to achieve superior economic and environmental performance.”

CEPA believes any national strategy involving current or future energy use should view all of Canada’s energy resources as a strategic asset. A national strategy would need to:

  • get the best possible value in the market for Canada’s resources for the benefit of all Canadians;
  • recognize Canada is a trading nation with unique regional interests and sensibilities; and
  • illustrate that trade generates the wealth that supports Canadians’ quality of life and social infrastructure.

To read the full Business Council of Canada and EY reports, click on the links below.

Read: A Better Future for Canadians: Report and recommendations of the Task Force on Canada’s Economic Future.

Read: EY Report on Regulatory Competitiveness in Canada’s pipeline industry