A group of Canada’s leading economists and business leaders have joined together to form Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission in an effort to convince governments to reform fiscal policies with a goal of improving both the economy and environmental protection.
According to commission chair Chris Raga of McGill University, the commission is an effort to move the conversation about fiscal policy reform that relates to the environment from the academic realm into the realm of practical policy application.
The group released its first report Tuesday, which highlights how fiscal policy reform — both in Canada and globally — has benefited the economy and the environment, and also presents an overview of issues the commission will be exploring in the future.
The report also notes the following as the five “pillars” supporting the need for ecofiscal reform:
- Canada’s natural wealth is fundamental to its economy; damaging it is costly.
- Canadians deserve a better fiscal system.
- Ecofiscal policies can be designed to ensure fairness in multiple ways.
- Improving innovation is critical for Canada’s future.
- Canadians can seize an opportunity for long-term, clean prosperity.
The commission consists of economists from across Canada’s regions as well as 14 advisors, including former political leaders Preston Manning, Jean Charest, Mike Harcourt and Bob Rae. Community and business leaders include Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Steve Williams of Suncor Energy, Dominic Barton of McKinsey & Co., and Jack Mintz, one of Canada’s leading business tax experts.
Over the next five years the Commission will publish and promote discussion of research and recommendations focusing on issues most relevant to Canadian provinces and cities including those affecting fresh water, air quality, environmental disasters, greenhouse gas emissions, transportation and road congestion.
In January, Canada’s two largest west coast ports began offering financial incentives to the most efficient vessels that enter its ports.
According to a ranking released in May by the US Green Building Council, Canada currently tops the list of the top 10 countries for LEED outside of the US with 17.74 million gross square meters of LEED space.
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