Competitiveness and Trade related articles

Action needed to strengthen industry’s competitive edge, CIAC tells House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance

Isabelle Des Chênes, Executive Vice-President of the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC), testified before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance’s pre-budget consultation hearings in Edmonton Wednesday, October 17.

In her address, she stated that urgent action was needed to ensure that Canada can compete with other jurisdictions for the next wave of chemistry industry investment.

“You might have read the eye-catching headlines last month saying that left un-checked, tax reforms south of the border would put 635,000 Canadian jobs at risk and potentially reduce Canada’s GDP by $85 billion – or nearly five per cent of the economy,” she told the committee.

The Pricewaterhouse Coopers report commissioned by the Business Council of Canada specified that the petrochemical sector will be particularly hard hit by these reforms which pose a ‘serious risk’ to chemistry manufacturing in Canada. These are issues that have been on CIAC’s radar for quite some time and others are finally starting to notice.”

Action items included adopting a temporary 100 per cent Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance (ACCA) for the chemistry industry; investing in programs to allow Canada to become a leader in the commercialization of technologies to recycle, recover or transform all plastics by 2040; and renewing the National Trade Corridor Initiative including investments in rail and ports and re-funding the Rail Safety Improvement Program and expanding it to include education and resources around the transportation of dangerous goods.

Canada to lose 635,000 jobs, petrochemical industry at ‘serious risk’ due to U.S. tax reform, says PwC report

Last year’s U.S. tax reform poses a substantial risk to the long-term viability of a large portion of Canada’s petrochemical and other chemical industry, as well as the Canadian economy at large, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report commissioned by the Business Council of Canada and released on September 12.

The impacts of U.S. tax reform on Canada’s economy, looks at numerous sectors in the Canadian economy. Key findings indicate that the U.S. tax reforms would put 635,000 jobs (3.4 per cent of Canada’s employment) at risk and potentially reduce Canada’s GDP by $85 billion (4.9 per cent of the economy).

The petrochemical sector will be particularly hard hit. The report indicates that with the U.S. tax reform, Canada is falling even further behind the U.S. in terms of competitiveness posing a “serious risk” to petrochemical manufacturing in Canada.

“The relative attractiveness of the U.S. is reflected in the fact that, capital expenditure in chemical manufacturing has decreased by 0.3 per cent in Canada over the past five years, while increasing by 10 per cent in the U.S.,” The report states.

These findings echo the concerns raised in CIAC’s 2019 Federal Pre-Budget Submission. The submission notes that although Canada used to enjoy an advantage through its marginal effective tax rate to help overcome construction, utility, labour and logistics disadvantages, that advantage is now gone with the U.S. tax overhaul. CIAC is calling on the government to take urgent action to ensure the Canadian chemistry sector remains competitive to keep business – and jobs – within Canada.

Read more in CIAC’s 2019 Federal Pre-Budget Submission

Read the full Business Council of Canada report

CIAC hits ground running with new Ontario Government

Last week, CIAC began its first series of meeting with key ministries in the new Ontario Government.

The meetings provided the opportunity to reinforce the important contributions that the chemistry sector plays in Ontario’s economy and outline pressing issues the sector is facing.

President and CEO of CIAC, Bob Masterson, and Director of Government and Stakeholder Relations for Ontario, Don Fusco, met with the Ontario Minister of Finance, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development Job Creation and Trade, Jim Wilson, and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Steve Clark.

“We were able to engage in substantive dialogue on how to improve the operating and investment environment for the Ontario chemistry industry and we were pleased that we were met with very well-informed and receptive responses. This is due in part to our past relationships and briefings when the ministers were opposition critics, but also because officials have done a great job briefing up on our materials,” said Mr. Masterson.

“I was very pleased at the degree to which the new Ontario Government seems to be hitting the ground running with us. We look forward to working with the new Ontario Government to promote its ‘open for business’ mandate in our sector.”

CIAC will continue to work with the new government and provide recommendations in the spirit of continuous improvement aligned to our Responsible Care® principles. We will also work to support the Ontario Government’s effort to deliver a practical and pragmatic regulatory framework ensuring the citizens of Ontario can enjoy a sustainable future where both the environment is safeguarded and the economy prospers.

Join CIAC at Chemistry Canada’s Business Summit September 25

CIAC President and CEO Bob Masterson will be joining the Honorable Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, Minister of Energy for the Alberta Government, and other leaders in Canada’s chemistry sector at Chemistry Canada Business Summit, September 25 in Edmonton. Mr. Masterson will be speaking on “Changing Public Perceptions of the Chemistry Industry.” Register now to attend Canada’s leading business-focused chemical conference and exhibition at chemistry-canada.com.

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.