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Accounting industry trade group the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) is calling on the federal government to pursue sustainable finance, overhaul the tax system and beef up its anti-money laundering efforts as part of its recommendations for the next federal budget.

In a submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, CPA Canada called on the government to accelerate the transition to a “low-carbon, climate-resilient and globally competitive” economy.

CPA Canada said it views climate change as a “key business issue” and suggested that “Canadians are looking to leaders in the public and private sector to confront climate change and the other drivers of change with solutions that protect their economic prosperity and quality of life.”

The trade group said, “Failure to adequately transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy — by either political or business leaders — will further erode public trust in the institutions that underpin our society. That is why climate change must be addressed by both government and business, in partnership.”

In particular, the group said that the government should implement the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance that are under federal jurisdiction — chiefly its call for a plan setting out Canada’s long-term path to a low-emission economy.

“Not only is this long-term path necessary to ensure Canada remain committed to its climate objectives, but it is needed to instill business confidence,” CPA Canada said.

“As proposed by the expert panel, Canada needs to map — and commit to — a long-term path in order to maintain forward momentum in addressing climate policy objectives and to entrench the policy certainty that business and investors require.”

CPA Canada said that the government should also spearhead the collection of reliable climate data, and provide businesses and investors with analytics to help decipher the implications of that data.

“By facilitating more informed business decisions, a Canadian centre for climate information and analytics would accelerate private sector transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy,” it said.

The group also recommended that the government initiate a comprehensive review of the tax system, led by an independent expert panel, with a view to supporting the transition to a more sustainable economy.

“We have allowed our tax system to grow untended to the point that it is inefficient for today’s economy, much less tomorrow’s,” it said in calling for an overarching review.

“The process should be led by an independent expert panel and guided by the principles of fairness, simplicity, efficiency and competitiveness to ensure that Canada’s tax system meets the needs of the future economy,” it said.

Among other things, CPA Canada’s submission also calls on the government to work with the provinces to combat money laundering and facilitate whistleblowing.

“More action to strengthen Canada’s anti-money laundering regime is required to counter this criminal conduct and to ensure our economy and society is protected for the benefit of all Canadians,” it said.

“We believe our recommendations will help the next government set a course for a sustainable future,” Gordon Beal, vice-president, research, guidance and support at CPA Canada, said in a statement.