Background: The time is right to discuss the costs of environmental regulations. Across Canada, fact and opinion swirl about which policies are best for both the economy and the environment. Environmental regulations remain deeply contested and cause concern for some that the costs will simply be too high.  At the same time, polling data show that Canadians overwhelmingly want both a protected environment and a vibrant economy.

This webinar presented the findings of an updated version of our 2016 policy brief on overestimating the cost of compliance with environmental regulations. Do environmental regulations cost as much as we think they do draws on an international literature review and a series of case studies from Canada and the U.S. to demonstrate that the net benefits of environmental regulations are often greater than initially anticipated.

In this recorded webinar, you’ll learn:

  • How retrospective analysis points to the persistent tendency to overestimate the costs of environmental regulations.
  • By looking back at case studies of real-world environmental regulations, we can learn about the actual costs of complying with those regulations, and understand why we often overestimate them. 
  • The role of stringent, flexible environmental regulations in inducing innovation.
  • The implications of these findings for designing environmental regulations – and strategies for facilitating the analysis of them retrospectively.

Presenter: Scott McFatridge is a research associate with the Smart Prosperity Institute. Scott has contributed to various green economy publications and initiatives at SPI, including Getting to a Circular Economy: A primer for Canadian policymakers, and Decent Work in the Green Economy (in collaboration with the Mowat Centre).