Dear Prime Minister:
The Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) is the voice of Canada’s $58 billion industrial chemical manufacturing sector. We are writing you to share our perspective on the treatment of critical infrastructure given current measures to support social distancing in Canada and the potential impact of additional measures that may be considered going forward in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We applaud the federal government’s efforts, and those of provincial and local governments, to limit the spread of the COVID-19 in Canada. The safety of CIAC member employees, contractors and the communities in which we do business continues to be our members’ top priority. Our member-companies have business continuity plans in place and are prepared to deal effectively with disruptions impacting their business operations. We are following the advice and direction of public health authorities to limit the impact of COVID-19 and help support the health and wellbeing of our employees and the safe operation of our facilities.
While each of our member-companies implement actions and strategies unique to their own individual organizations, actions taken to date fall under the following broad categories:
• Follow best practices laid out by government and health authorities.
• Restrict all non-essential domestic and international travel.
• Work from home strategies where appropriate and limiting non-essential visits to operating facilities.
• Self-isolation for anyone who has returned from an international trip.
• Avoid large gatherings of people and practise social distancing including internal meetings of staff.
As of today, we are not aware of any material impacts to member operations or supply chains.
The use of measures to limit social interaction are warranted given the risk of widespread infection. While the use of such measures is in the best interest of public health, it is essential that key industries and sectors representing critical infrastructure in Canada, including the chemical manufacturing sector, maintain the ability to operate throughout this crisis. While work from home strategies limit the number of employees traveling to work and interacting with co-workers, manufacturing facilities cannot be operated remotely and require the day-to-day presence of highly trained personnel. This also includes ensuring access to critical supplies and transportation systems so our industry can continue to produce and deliver essential products.
The chemistry sector in Canada produces chemicals that are vital to maintain community health and safety including those that support clean drinking water and sanitary products for Canadian communities and households. Plastics are in demand, worldwide, to maintain food sanitation and are essential to the delivery of routine and emergency health services. Our members have facilities across Canada with several significant clusters that produce goods needed globally and represent large employment centres. Where appropriate, member-companies are in discussion with authorities where opportunities may exist to redirect production of commercial goods to the production of safety-critical goods.
If the use of additional measures to shelter in place are considered, we would ask that critical infrastructure in Canada, including the chemical manufacturing sector, maintain the ability to operate and produce critical goods for Canadians. Given the current global economic outlook, it is vital to keep the chemical manufacturing sector operational.
We are facing unprecedented circumstances. Governments at all levels are being faced with unprecedented policy choices. Within that context, CIAC and its member-companies are applying effective measures to prevent the spread of infection at our sites, while also maintaining operations. Critical infrastructure in Canada needs to continue operating to support the health and wellbeing of Canadians and our economy.
A heartfelt thank you to you and your colleagues, to the public service, to healthcare professionals, and to first responders working tirelessly to protect Canada and Canadians.
President and CEO
Hon. Seamus O’Regan, Minister, Natural Resources Canada
Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister, Environment and Climate Change Canada
Hon. Marc Garneau, Minister, Transport Canada
Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos, President, Treasury Board
Hon. Bill Morneau, Minister, Finance Canada
Hon. Patty Hajdu, Minister, Health Canada
Hon. Navdeep Bains, Minister, Innovation, Science and Economic Development
Hon. Bill Blair, Minister, Public Safety
Hon. Mélanie Joly, Minister, Economic Development
Hon. Carla Qualtrough, Minister, Public Service and Procurement Hon. Dr. Kirsty Duncan, Deputy House Leader of the Government
Hon. Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta
Hon. François Legault, Premier of Québec
Hon. Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario
Hon. John Horgan, Premier of British Columbia
Hon. Scott Moe, Premier of Saskatchewan
Hon. Brian Pallister, Premier of Manitoba
Hon. Blaine Higgs, Premier of New Brunswick
Hon. Dennis King, Premier of Prince Edward Island
Hon. Stephen McNeil, Premier of Nova Scotia
Hon. Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland
Hon. Joe Savikataaq, Premier of Nunavut
Hon. Sandy Silver, Premier, Yukon
Hon. Caroline Cochrane, Premier, Northwest Territories