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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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).
- 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.