MHCA invites members to meet with provincial carbon tax adviser
March 3, 2017 – The Manitoba Heavy Construction Association (MHCA) has presented to the Pallister government a brief on the implications of a carbon tax for the heavy construction industry, highlighting the fact that there is a dearth of information about the province’s plan, including when and what level such a tax will be imposed.
“A new tax will compound the impact of what is a really tough financial landscape for the heavy construction industry,” MHCA President Chris Lorenc said. Lorenc met with the government’s senior adviser on climate change, David McLaughlin, for 90 minutes February 24, 2017.
To date, the province has said there will be a carbon tax, in a “made-in-Manitoba” climate change strategy. The Trudeau government has told the provinces that if they don’t themselves adopt carbon pricing, initially equivalent to $10/tonne of greenhouse gas emission, by 2018 then Ottawa will impose such a tax.
The province is consulting with a variety of industry and business groups and associations. McLaughlin’s contract on the file ends March 31, 2017.
The MHCA’s brief — which stressed that the industry has few energy alternatives, especially for heavy duty diesel vehicles — urged the government to include in its plan a way to help businesses transition and adapt to any tax changes. The revenues of any new tax should be “recycled,” in part, to help contractors and suppliers to weather the storm, and to adopt new energy efficient technologies as they are developed.
Alberta levied a carbon tax of $20/tonne in 2016, raising the price of gasoline at the pump by 4.5 cents/litre and for diesel, by 5.35 cents/litre.
One of the prime concerns of MHCA is that of how a new tax on diesel and gasoline would affect the industry’s competitiveness, especially as it relates to bidding against firms from Saskatchewan for infrastructure contracts.
Saskatchewan, which has lower taxes already, is fighting the imposition of a carbon tax. The carbon tax and climate change strategy was on the table at the MHCA’s Executive Committee meeting Wednesday. The committee is urging members to attend a breakfast meeting with McLaughlin, who has agreed to meet with all members who have questions and want a better idea of what the provincial government is considering in its plan. That MHCA-hosted breakfast is to be held March 10, at 7:30 a.m. at the Holiday Inn Winnipeg Airport. Members wanting to register can call or email MHCA Operations Manager Christine Miller at 204.947.1379 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Highlights of some of the topics the executive committee discussed are:
• SAFE Work Manitoba’s Jamie Hall gave a presentation on its strategic priorities. Hall, SAFE Work’s chief operating office, told the committee that MHCA’s COR Certification Program is recognized as meeting SAFE Work Certified standards and that the 15% rebate to those who gain SAFE Work certification will also flow to companies that are COR Certified through the MHCA;
• Hall presented SAFE Work Manitoba/WCB’s proposed new funding model for industry-based safety programs, for consideration;
• MHCA President Chris Lorenc reported that he and Aggregate Committee member Andre Gamby were at a meeting February 24 of the RM of Springfield Task Force. Matters considered included: terms of reference water quality; development of a new by-law; and the task force’s next steps. The next meeting will discuss rehabilitation of spent quarries under the provincial Rehab Program; the proposal to establish a Community Enhancement Levy; and identify areas of operational concerns to the community;
• MHCA managers presented reports on their program activities. Operations Manager Christine Miller reported that the City of Winnipeg’s Public Works and the Water and Waste departments have been asked to send to MHCA their tender schedules so they can be distributed to members electronically at the beginning of April