Working Together: Developing Environmental Policy with Small Business in Mind

The environment is a top issue for many Canadians and a priority for many governments. Since CFIB’s last report on the environment, Green Growth: How SMEs are working toward a greener future, published in 2017, the Canadian government’s focus on the environment has remained a top priority. All levels of government (federal, provincial, municipal) have ramped up efforts to develop environmentally focused policies, including the federal government’s Climate Plan, B.C.’s Roadmap to 2030, and the City of Halifax’s HalifACT climate action movement. Policies like these are impacting small businesses across every province and industry.

A CFIB survey of over 4,000 small business owners reveals that they care about protecting the environment and that they are making efforts to reduce their environmental impact and implement environmentally friendly measures in their business. Small business owners have notably taken action on environmental initiatives that have a tangible impact on their business and can be easily implemented, like waste reduction and recycling. However, with small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, business owners are concerned about the potential impact new policies and regulations could have on the survival of their business and their ability to remain competitive, create jobs, and innovate.

This report presents 10 guiding principles for developing environmental policies while keeping small businesses in mind. Additionally, it concludes with several recommendations that will help the federal government ensure that its environmental policies work for small business.

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