Competitiveness and Trade related articles

Working with the new Ontario government to promote its ‘open for business’ mandate

CIAC welcomes the new Ontario government and has provided recommendations consistent with the government’s expressed mandate to make Ontario again open for business. CIAC strongly asserts that it is imperative to eliminate or reform legislation, regulations and programs which add costs to government and business and provide little or no benefit to society, the economy or the environment. Among the areas CIAC is advocating for reform include:

Ontario Toxics Reduction Act:

  • Repeal the act. Reporting requirements duplicate existing federal and provincial programs. Toxic substances are assessed and managed aggressively through the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and the associated Chemicals Management Plan.

Local Air Quality Standards:

  • Base regulations on science and risk-based approach that are technically sound, consistent with, but not in advance of, other leading jurisdictions, and informed by rigorous cost-benefit analysis.

Municipal Industrial Strategy for Abatement regulation:

  • Repeal the act and transfer all relevant water discharge requirements into each facilities’ Environmental Certificate of Approval to enable greater adaptability and Ministry engagement.

Excess Soils Management policy:

  • Only soil that is assessed and confirmed to be unacceptable be classified as waste and grant an exclusion for industrial facilities with existing Environmental Compliance Approvals that already manage soils and wastes from the proposed regulation.

Measures to support investment in Ontario industries:

  • Advocate for and match federal measures to:
    • Make the existing, temporary ACCA permanent as is the case in US;
    • Expand its coverage significantly to match similar depreciation treatments in US; and
    • Introduce a 100 per cent year in write down for a minimum of one full business cycle of seven years as has been introduced in the US.
  • Investment Attraction:
    • With announced elimination of the Jobs and Prosperity Fund, replace the program with a targeted tax credit approach similar to other jurisdictions, including Alberta.

Buffer zones:

  • Enact regulation for buffer zones around existing industrial facilities to better support the Provincial Policy Statement which has an objective, but no mechanisms, to ensure local land use planning processes protect public health and maintain the viability of Ontario’s manufacturing heritage.

Control municipal overreach:

  • Prohibit Ontario municipalities from issuing local bans on products of commerce (e.g. straws, plastic bags etc.) and from enacting standards and regulations that impact aspects of companies and their operations which are already well-regulated under provincial authorities (e.g. Oakville Air Quality Bylaw and Toronto Sewer Use Bylaw).

Waste management:

  • Revise the Waste Free Ontario Act to include significantly increased opportunities for energy and material recovery and reuse from waste and automate existing paper-based waste manifests.

Workplace exposure limits:

  • Ensure exposure limits remain based in a sound science and risk-based approach that effectively protect worker safety and that are also informed by rigorous cost-benefit analysis.

CIAC congratulates Elysis for new carbon-free aluminum production process

Congratulations to Canadian aluminum sector leaders Alcoa, Alcana and Apple who, with the support of the Federal and Quebec Governments, have developed a new carbon-free aluminum production process that will eventually result in annual greenhouse gas reductions of more than six million tons in Canada alone.

“The process relies upon decades of research in totally new chemical reactions from those associated with carbon-based production methods,” said Vincent Christ, CEO of Elysis, the new joint venture.

This success illustrates that by working together, the resource, manufacturing and chemistry sectors can point the way to a more sustainable future while growing the economy, here in Canada, while at the same time reducing emissions. The new venture will be in Quebec and export the technology throughout the rest of the world.

Alcoa and Rio Tinto announce world’s first carbon-free aluminum Smelting Process

$558 million investment project will create and maintain thousands of jobs in Canada

Reinforcing competitiveness and cluster strengths to Ontario Progressive Conservative MPPs

On May 2, CIAC and Canadian Fuels Association met with local Ontario Progressive Conservative MPPs Bob Bailey (Sarnia-Lambton) and Monte McNaughton (Lambton—Kent—Middlesex and Critic for Economic Development and Growth) to reinforce competitiveness and the strength of the integrated refining and chemistry sector in Sarnia-Lambton, Ontario.

In the lead up to the June 7, provincial election, CIAC has been active with elected and government officials to provide input to assist in the development of public policy that improves Ontario’s competitiveness and supports more investment while maintaining robust environmental, health and safety requirements and other public interest protections.

CIAC appears before Senate Committee studying Bill C-74 to discuss carbon-pricing legislation

Isabelle Des Chênes, CIAC Executive Vice-President, and Shannon Watt, Director of Environment and Health Policy, appeared before the Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources on May 3, 2018. Senators are conducting a pre-study of the provisions of Bill C-74, the budget implementation bill, that deal with the government’s plan to price greenhouse gas emissions.

CIAC and its members support efforts to reduce global carbon emissions and have worked collaboratively with both provincial and federal officials to ensure that carbon policies and pricing mechanisms improve environmental performance, avoid double-regulation and maintain Canada’s competitiveness.

Ms. Des Chênes noted that “Canada should support a carbon policy that recognizes emission-intensive, trade-exposed sectors and encourages investments in the Canadian chemistry sector. Additionally, given the incredible investments in innovations and technologies to improve performance around air emissions and climate change, Canada’s proposed output-based allocation process should focus on benchmarking Canadian chemistry operations and performance against global competitors.”

Additionally, Ms. Watt reinforced the point that government needs to provide a comprehensive analysis of the cumulative impacts of the suite of climate change policies including the proposed Clean Fuel Standard.

Watch the CPAC recording: Fuel Suppliers Discuss the Carbon Tax

Panelists discuss Canada’s low carbon future at the Industrial Gas Users Association’s Spring Seminar

CIAC President and CEO Bob Masterson gave a brief overview of chemistry’s role in Canada’s transition to the low-carbon energy future at a panel for the Industrial Gas Users Association Spring Seminar in Montebello, Quebec on Tuesday, May 15.

The topic of the seminar panel was Heavy Industry is Necessary in Canada’s Low Carbon Future. Speakers touched on topics such as the Paris Accord, the Pan-Canadian Framework, as well as near-term and long-term targets.

“Demand for chemistry products are forecast to triple in the next 20 years. And it isn’t hard to see why: the products our members make enable our modern, more sustainable way of life,” Mr. Masterson told the crowd.

“We all need sound policies from our government that encourage growth while meeting the needs of our global commitments to sustainability. The world truly needs more good chemistry – made-in-Canada chemistry – to meet our low-carbon goals.”

The invitation only, two-day event included key natural gas stakeholders including users, pipelines and utilities, marketers, regulators and policy makers. Other participants in the panel discussion included the Mining Association of Canada, the Forest Products Association of Canada and the Canadian Steel Producers Association.

CIAC comments on draft regulations related to the Environment Quality Act (French only)

Au cours de l’année 2016, le Gouvernement du Québec a publié le Livre Vert ayant pour objectif de moderniser le régime d’autorisation environnementale.  À ce moment, l’ACIC avait présenté un premier mémoire.  De là est né la nouvelle Loi sur la Qualité de l’environnement (LQE), adopté le 23 mars 2017 et mise en vigueur le 23 mars 2018.

Dès l’automne 2017, le Ministère du développement durable, de l’environnement et de la lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCC) a mis à jour vingt-deux (22) projets de règlements pour assurer la cohérence avec la nouvelle loi.  Des journées de consultation ont été organisées auprès des différents groupes d’intérêts, des associations sectorielles et des entreprises pour obtenir leurs commentaires.  En collaboration avec le Conseil Patronal de l’environnement du Québec, l’ACIC, avec la précieuse collaboration de ses compagnies membres, a amorcé la rédaction de mémoires pour ces projets de règlements.  En priorité, l’ACIC a présenté un mémoire en collaboration avec le CPEQ quant aux mesures transitoires à mettre en place dans le cadre de la nouvelle loi et a présenté trois mémoires afin de présenter des commentaires spécifiques à ses opérations.  Les trois (3) mémoires présentés visaient les projets de règlements suivants :

  • Projet de règlement relatif à l’évaluation et à l’examen des impacts sur l’environnement de certains projets ;
  • Projet de règlement relatif à l’autorisation ministérielle et à la déclaration de conformité en matière environnementale ;
  • Règlement modifiant le Règlement sur les attestations d’assainissement en milieu industriel.

D’autres projets de règlements on fait l’objet d’analyse mais n’ont pas fait l’objet de mémoires considérant leur absence d’impact sur les opérations de notre industrie.

Tout au long de la rédaction de ces mémoires les objectifs de l’ACIC étaient :

  • Assurer la compétitivité de notre industrie chimique au Québec ;
  • Favoriser la simplification du régime environnemental ;
  • Assurer l’utilisation efficiente des ressources en environnement de nos entreprises et du gouvernement ;
  • Assurer la valeur ajoutée des demandes du ministère de l’environnement aux activités d’amélioration du développement durable.

Un travail de collégialité ayant permis de servir les intérêts de nos compagnies membres.

Moving to zero waste will require industry, government and society collaboration, says CIAC

On April 24, the G7 Plastics Industry Coalition, including CIAC and representatives from our membership, met with government officials and other stakeholders in the plastics value chain to discuss Canada’s objectives for the G7 Plastics Charter, which the government plans to promote at the G7 in Quebec this June.

The event was organized by the Coalition, which was founded by CIAC, Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) and the American Chemistry Council Plastics Division (ACC PD), to represent industry perspectives in the global and domestic plastics dialogue. CIAC President and CEO Bob Masterson gave opening remarks for the workshop, setting the stage for collaborative discussion.

“It is undisputable that plastics do not belong in the ocean, nor in any other water way – period. It is indeed a significant waste of precious resources for plastics to be used once and then discarded as waste,” he told attendees. “However, plastics are not a scourge. They are, in fact, a fundamental contributor and key enabler to modern more sustainable living.”

Industry has a role to play in designing materials and applications for greater recovery, reuse and recyclability, Mr. Masterson told the audience, but addressing the issue of marine litter and plastic waste will require actions from society as a whole, not just industry.

“Our efforts will fail if the highly responsible and highly innovative plastics industry is set up as a villain for a marine litter issue that needs to be owned by every citizen and every government on the planet,” he said.

Also in attendance were: Carol Hochu of CPIA, Keith Christman of ACC PD, representatives from the Retail Council of Canada, the Canadian Beverage Association, Canada Fibres, Pembina Pipeline Corporation/ CKPC, InterPipeline, Emterra Group, Ice River Springs, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, Natural Resources Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada.

The day-long workshop was very well received by all attendees. CIAC and its partners in the G7 Plastics Industry Coalition will continue to regularly collaborate with the federal government and other stakeholders on the Plastics Charter in the lead up to the June G7 meeting.

Learn about chemistry’s role in clean tech and the low-carbon economy at the Sixth Estate

Please join Shannon Watt, CIAC Director of Environment and Health Policy, on May 1 for what promises to be a lively discussion on the growing business of clean tech in Canada.

From building insulation and lighter plastics for vehicles, to solar panels and wind turbines, the products that will help move society to a more sustainable future need chemistry. Canada must fully develop the potential of its chemistry industry so it can deliver solutions to reduce emissions both within the industry, throughout Canada and around the world.

Read Shannon’s op-ed on the topic here.

 The Sixth Estate Before the Bell panel discussion

National Arts Centre, 1 Elgin Street, Ottawa Ontario

May 1, 2018. 7:30 to 9a.m. ET

Speakers include:

  • Shannon Watt, CIAC Director of Environment and Health Policy
  • Industry experts from Export Development Canada, Business Development Bank of Canada, Ecotech Quebec and the Globe and Mail.

If you are not able to attend in person, watch live online here.

Senate report looks at how chemistry sector can reduce carbon emissions

CIAC President and CEO Bob Masterson underscored the chemistry sector’s crucial role to achieving Canada’s emission reduction challenge when he appeared before the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources in February 2017.

The resulting recommendations were published earlier this month in a report called Decarbonizing Heavy Industry: The Low-Carbon Transition of Canada’s Emission-Intensive and Trade-Exposed Industries.

“We have among the highest and richest reserves of natural gas and natural gas liquids that allow for chemical production from methane, ethane and propane, which have the lowest greenhouse gas potential of all the remaining chemical feedstocks,” Mr. Masterson told the Committee.

However, he raised concerns that the uncertainty over carbon pricing after 2020 created a poor environment to attract investment.

“When we can’t tell people what the regulatory and pricing environment looks like after three years from today, in 2020, they’re going to be very hesitant to put their money into Canada,” he said.

Read the full report here.

CIAC tells Transportation Minister to not pick winners and losers

Chemistry sector impacted by rail service issues, Globe and Mail

In an article published March 22, Bob Masterson, President and CEO of the CIAC, expressed concern on how inadequate rail service in Canada has recently disrupted production at 13 plants.

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, a backlog at two major railways, Canadian Pacific Railway and Canadian National Railway Co., has led to chemical, forestry, and energy shippers losing significant business this winter due to the inability to move their products in a timely and efficient way.

In the article, Mr. Masterson noted that the chemistry and other sectors have advised the federal transportation minister to rebuff requests for mandatory requirements for railways to provide preferential treatment for grain shipper. He told the Globe and Mail that it is not helpful to pit shippers against each other and that the focus needs to be on addressing systemic issues that have led to the situation at hand.

CIAC has been a strong advocate for the prompt passage of Bill C-49, the Transportation Modernization Act, as a key means of beginning to address the systemic issues of rail service and congestion.

CIAC does however, see opportunities to further strengthen the Bill, which is currently before the Senate Committee, by giving the Canadian Transportation Agency the power to initiate investigations on its own and providing more transparent data in one of the few possible remedies available to shippers.

Read the full Globe and Mail article (subscription required) Chemical, mining industries say backlog causing plant shutdowns, lost sales 

For more on the CIAC’s position: Rail shipping crunch prompts ministerial intervention but doesn’t go far enough to rectify the underlying challenges for chemistry producers