Statement by Minister Morneau on the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development's Audit

May 16, 2017 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Finance Canada

Minister of Finance Bill Morneau issued the following statement today on the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development's audit to determine whether the Government has supported Canada's G20 commitment to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies:

"The Government of Canada acknowledges the audit findings and thanks the Office of the Auditor General of Canada (OAG) for its work and recommendations.

"With respect to the Auditor General's findings regarding fossil fuel subsidies, the Government has taken significant action to address its promise to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies—more than most other G20 countries. Our Government is committed to meeting its remaining obligations, and is on track to do so.  

"Most recently, in Budget 2017, the Government committed to modify the tax treatment of exploration expenses for oil and gas producers, and to phase out the tax preference that allows them to reclassify certain development expenses as more favourably treated exploration expenses. 

"As a result of these actions, eight fossil fuel subsidies have changed and we will continue to look for more that are potentially relevant to the G20 commitment. 

"Our Government knows that the economy and the environment go together. The Department of Finance Canada will continue to provide analysis and support to the Government to meet the G20 commitment, and will continue to work with Environment and Climate Change Canada in implementing their plan to identify and phase out non-tax subsidies.

"We also recognize that until now, certain confidences, including budget briefing notes, were excluded from the scope of what could be provided within the limits of the disclosure rules that existed at the time of the audit. We believe that greater openness and transparency in government helps strengthen Canadians' trust in our public institutions.

"To ensure the OAG has access to all relevant documents and information, as well as to uphold our Government's commitment to openness and transparency, an Order in Council has been issued to provide the Auditor General, when requested, with access to confidential information that is included in budget preparation documents that have been developed since the beginning of the Government's mandate, specifically November 4, 2015.

"This is an unprecedented release of information to the OAG and will assist him undertake his work to find areas where the Government can improve its delivery of services and programs for Canadians."

Media may contact:

Annie Donolo
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance
annie.donolo@canada.ca
613-769-7187

Media Relations
Department of Finance Canada
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613-369-4000

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