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Competition Act amendments silence Canadian businesses taking climate action

June 20, 2024

As the largest oil sands companies in Canada, and members of the Pathways Alliance, we are steadfast in our commitment to environmental performance and operational emissions reduction. To support our commitment, we have strived to be transparent about our actions and plans, which we believe is critical to building trust and driving improvement.

However, our ability to remain transparent has been significantly compromised as a result of Bill C-59, which was recently passed and includes amendments to the Competition Act related to environmental and climate disclosure. With these changes, it is possible that certain public representations by a business about the benefits of the work it is doing to protect or restore the environment or address climate change will violate the Competition Act and subject it to significant financial penalties unless the business can adequately and properly substantiate their claims according to “internationally recognized methodology,” which may or may not exist. 

Creating a public disclosure standard that is so vague as to lack meaning and that relies on undefined "internationally recognized methodology” opens the door for frivolous litigation, particularly by private entities who will now be empowered to directly enforce this new provision of the Competition Act. This represents a serious threat to freedom of communication.

These amendments create significant uncertainty and risk for all Canadian companies regardless of sector, that communicate publicly about environmental performance, including actions to address climate change. As a result, we have been forced to remove information on environmental and climate performance, progress, and plans from our websites, social media platforms and other communications channels at this time. These actions are a direct consequence of this legislation and are not related to our commitments or belief in the accuracy of our environmental communications. 

The result of this legislation, which has been quickly put in place with little or no consultation, is to silence Canadian businesses taking climate action. We will continue to impress on the federal government the need for clarity regarding these new amendments so that we and all other industries can share the important work we are doing to preserve and restore the environment and address climate change.

After more than a century, Imperial continues to be an industry leader in applying technology and innovation to responsibly develop Canada’s energy resources. As Canada’s largest petroleum refiner, a major producer of crude oil, a key petrochemical producer and a leading fuels marketer from coast to coast, our company remains committed to high standards across all areas of our business.


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