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Feds mull competitiveness changes this fall, after easing carbon tax thresholds

Minister of Finance Bill Morneau holds a press conference at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on July 18, 2017. Photo by Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

OTTAWA, O.N. – The federal Finance Department says changes could be on the way this fall to address Corporate Canada’s competitiveness fears in a week that has already seen Ottawa take steps to help some businesses avoid losing an edge due to the Liberals’ controversial carbon pricing plan.

A spokeswoman for Bill Morneau says the finance minister been spending the summer listening to a wide range of perspectives on Canada’s competitiveness challenges and, if he is to make any adjustments, they would be announced in his fall economic statement.

For months, the business community has fired off numerous warnings to Ottawa that recent changes _ such as major corporate tax reforms in the United States – have put the country at a deep disadvantage.

Morneau’s office has been studying a number of different options – but it has yet to promise that it will make any changes at all.

Last week, following months of consultations, Ottawa scaled down its carbon pricing plan for heavy industrial emitters with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas production without driving firms from Canada altogether.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says companies told Ottawa the initial plan announced last winter was too onerous.

Business associations have called on Ottawa to cut corporate taxes in Canada. They’ve argued the U.S. tax changes could end up inflicting more damage on the Canadian economy than would the possible termination of North American Free Trade Agreement.