CAW and CEP Urge Federal Government to Appeal WTO Ruling Against the Green Energy Act

November 19, 2012, 2:16 PM EST

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The CAW and CEP are voicing their opposition to the WTO ruling siding with the European Union and Japan's complaint against Ontario's Green Energy Act and is urging the federal government to appeal the decision.

The dispute centres on Ontario's feed-in tariff (FIT) program, which requires regional and national electric-grid utilities to purchase electricity from renewable sources like solar, wind and hydro-electric power. 

At issue is the fact that Ontario government requires the renewable energy projects to source local content - with a minimum amount of goods and services from Ontario.  The WTO deemed that the program violates the WTO General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

"This decision aims to destroy the kind of inventive, creative job creation policies that are absolutely necessary to put our economy on the right foot and to prepare for the future," said CAW President Ken Lewenza, in response to the ruling. "Governments in Canada at every level must have the capacity to encourage local production through procurement policies. These kinds of thoughtful policies should be replicated right across the country, not dismantled."

 "Although not perfect, the Green Energy Act at least has proposals to revitalize Ontario's hard-hit manufacturing sector and set Canada on a path of greater local, and sustainable energy development," said CEP National President Dave Coles. 

"It's blatantly undemocratic that an unelected body like the WTO can quash this initiative.  Governments should have the power to implement policies that promote the economy and the environment simultaneously, without big business interests looking over their shoulder."

The CAW and CEP is urging the federal government to appeal the WTO decision.

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