Competitiveness and Trade related articles

CIAC holds press conference on the proposed Clean Fuel Standard

On April 9, CIAC held a press conference and met with numerous government official to sound the alarm on the Government of Canada’s proposed Clean Fuel Standard (CFS).

To start out the day, CIAC Chair and President of BASF Canada, Marcelo Lu and CIAC President and CEO Bob Masterson held a press conference to the Parliamentary Press gallery explaining the industry’s position and concerns regarding the CFS.

The CFS as currently designed will be the first standard in the world to include industrial natural gas and propane. The Government of Canada has proposed a phased-in approach targeting liquid fuel in 2022. If implemented as proposed, the CFS will push the total carbon price in excess of $200 a tonne, effectively doubling the cost of natural gas for the industry.

Natural gas costs to double for chemistry industry under the proposed Clean Fuel Standard

Ontario Bill 66 receives Royal Assent

April 4, 2019

The Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) was pleased to see the Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018, or Bill 66, receive Royal Assent on April 3 and congratulates the Ontario government and the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.

“CIAC is pleased to see the Ontario government streamline duplicate regulations for the chemical manufacturing while maintaining protections for Canadians’ health and the environment,” said Don Fusco, CIAC Director, Government and Stakeholder Relations, Ontario. “These measures will eliminate unnecessary cost, complexity and time for chemistry sector, and bring us in line with other provinces.”

Among the initiatives contained in the Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018, CIAC is very pleased to see the province:

  • Repeal the Toxics Reduction Act by 2021 and rely on the robust and science-based Federal Chemicals Management Plan, as other provinces do.
  • Amend Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) regulation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to allow updated labels to be placed on existing chemical containers.

We are also pleased to see the Ontario government revoke nine regulations related to the Municipal Industrial Strategy for Abatement (MISA) and insert these requirements into Environmental Compliance Approvals (ECAs).

CIAC is pleased to continue to work with the government on the many priorities to modernize business regulations to be outcome-focused and evidence-based while continuing to protect the public interest.

Sixth Estate panel discusses the case of the missing $30B in Canadian chemistry

On the Sixth Estate’s Before the Bell panel discussion Thursday, March 21 CIAC President and CEO, Bob Masterson presented the case of the missing $30 billion in Canada’s economy due to missing out on chemistry sector investment opportunities – even though Canada has a lot of the fundamentals in place.

“The Canadian chemical sector has not seen the same level of global investment that the Americans have, even though Canada has a lot of the fundamentals in place. We have all the ingredients to succeed,” Mr. Masterson told host Catherine Clark. “They will benchmark Canada as their next investment, and then they sell that against other jurisdictions, and we always lose.”

Mr. Masterson noted that about $15 billion had been found through recently announced major investments in Alberta and Ontario, with the provinces doing the heavy lifting to attract new investment in the sector. Major investments of note were by Canada Kuwait Petrochemical Corporation, Inter Pipeline, NOVA Chemical and Nauticol Energy.

Mr. Masterson was joined by Ihor Korbabicz, executive director of Abacus Data, Goldy Hyder, president and CEO of the Business Council of Canada, Aniket Bhushan, adjunct professor at Carleton University, Ian McKay, CEO of Invest in Canada.

Pre-Budget Consultations: Ontario must act to ensure industry investment

There is a wave of chemistry facility investment taking place globally and Ontario could see an infusion of investment, jobs and tax revenue, but it must improve its competitiveness, Don Fusco, Director, Government and Stakeholder Relations – Ontario told the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs as part of its Pre-Budget Consultations for the Ontario 2019-20 Budget on February 7, 2019.

Mr. Fusco pointed out that there is a wave of new chemistry investments being made in the North America driven by the low carbon shale gas phenomenon. The U.S. has seen over 320 new global-scale chemistry investments completed, under construction or announced with a cumulative total of more than $250 billion – of which 60 per cent is foreign direct investment.

“But what about Ontario? NOVA Chemicals’ is making a $2 billion investment to expand its operations in Sarnia. This project is the second biggest manufacturing investment made in Ontario in a century,” Mr. Fusco told the committee. “However, had we kept our historical share of new investments, we could have realized another eight global scale investments worth more than $10 billion.”

Mr. Fusco urged the government to maintain their focus on competitiveness and investment attraction through tax credit measures (as has recently been done in Alberta and other jurisdictions), continue their Open for Business Action Plan of modernizing and streamlining regulations, improving electricity costs, and capitalizing on potential innovation surrounding plastic waste and the circular economy.

Regulation in serious need of modernization, CIAC tells INDU

Canada’s regulatory system often results in inefficiency, delays, administrative burdens and unnecessary costs to both government and business, CIAC President and CEO, Bob Masterson, told the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (INDU) February 7.

The comments were provided as part of a study on regulatory modernization in response to the Federal Fall Economic Statement in November.

Mr. Masterson targeted regulatory overlap and duplication, rushed regulation that does not take industry’s perspectives for achieving goals, uncertainty and timeliness in his speech to the Committee.

“Obtaining an approval in Canada takes an average of 249 days, about double the OECD average and triple the time required in the United States. Make no mistake, this reality is well-known globally and is a strong influencer on Canada’s foreign direct investment gap,” he said. “The study being undertaken by this committee is welcome and urgently overdue.”

He pointed to the implementation of the Chemicals Management Plan and Transport Canada’s multi-faceted approach to better managing risks associated with the transportation of dangerous goods as great examples of regulatory initiatives working well in Canada. He also noted that the Ontario government had started important efforts in this area with its comprehensive Red Tape Challenge recommendations beginning to be implemented by the current government.

AIHA sets record attendance with annual Stakeholder Event

Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association (AIHA) hosted its annual Stakeholder Event on Thursday, January 17 in Edmonton. CIAC was in attendance and was one of many event sponsors. Attendees heard industry updates from several companies building and operating in the region including CIAC’s newest member – Inter Pipeline and their Heartland Petrochemical Complex currently under construction. The event was attended by the Premier, Members of her Cabinet and Caucus, as well as members of the Official Opposition. The Premier reaffirmed the Alberta government’s focus on diversifying province’s economy through resource value add manufacturing and upgrading.

Mark Eramo, Vice President of Global Business Development for Oil, Midstream, Downstream & Chemical at IHS Markit was the feature speaker and focused his remarks on the state of the global chemical industry. Points of interest to the chemistry industry in Canada include:

  • High crude prices and low-cost natural gas attracting North American chemical investments;
  • China and US investment continues at rapid pace, with modest growth in other regions;
  • Chemical Industry in a prolonged peak earnings cycle with potential risks for the mid-2020s as current strong margins in gas-based chemistry drive new investment with the potential for global economic slowdown and reduced demand;
  • Decline in demand for refined products will see a shift in crude to chemicals with new refinery configurations and technology producing larger quantities of chemicals in greater scale;
  • Sustainability issues for sector remain focused on carbon, however water and plastic will continue to be priority issues for the industry.

This year’s Stakeholder Event was the largest yet for AIHA with over 1,000 people in attendance. CIAC congratulates AIHA on once again raising the bar on stakeholder engagement.