Chemistry sector investors call on federal government to increase engagement

On May 3, CIAC invited chemistry sector participants representing over $12 billion in potential new investment to Ottawa to meet with federal officials. In addition to meeting with key officials in the departments of innovation, finance, natural resources and the Prime Minister’s Office, the group also met with elected officials including Hon. Francesco Sorbara, Member of the Finance Committee, Hon. David Lametti, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development; and Hon. Andrew Leslie, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to highlight how the chemistry industry can be a solutions provider to the government’s agenda.

The meetings were intended to draw attention to the significant new investments currently under consideration and supported by provincial governments in Alberta and Ontario. The meetings highlighted the significant benefits the Canadian chemistry industry has on the country’s economy. The industry continues to grow at a rapid pace and from 2009 to 2016, chemistry shipments have increased from $40 billion to $53 billion. Additionally, the chemistry industry employs a highly-skilled workforce, with 38 per cent of employees in the industry holding university degrees.

“Despite its proven track record on providing thousands of Canadians with high-paying jobs, adding billions to the Canadian economy, and reducing GHG emissions on its own, Canada has struggled to attract global investments in chemistry due to a lack of alignment between efforts at the provincial and federal levels.” said Bob Masterson, CIAC President and CEO.

The industry is ready for new large scale investments, with six proposed projects from chemistry manufacturing companies in Sarnia, Fort Saskatchewan, Medicine Hat, and Sturgeon County worth more than $12 billion. If Canada can be successful in attracting these investments, it is calculated that the sector has further opportunities to attract an additional $10 to $20 billion in future years.

“Without sustained federal engagement in the sector and these projects, they face steep odds to advances, despite the involvement of the provinces,” Masterson added. “The federal government’s interest and involvement is urgently needed if we are to have a reasonable chance for successful final investment decisions in 2017.”

Attendees from the chemistry industry included representatives from NOVA Chemicals, Mehanex Corporation, Pembina, and InterPipeline