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.
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.
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.
The House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance’s report on the pre-budget consultations was released December 10, and includes a number of recommendations directly responsive to CIAC’s requests. Of note is Recommendation 9 (page 40) to, “Work with all other levels of government to align and coordinate efforts to create a competitive investment climate across Canada to attract world-class value-added petrochemical facilities.”
This success is a result of eight months of CIAC engagement with Finance Committee members, which included CIAC’s 2019 Federal Pre-budget Consultation submission and testifying at the pre-budget consultation hearings in October.
CIAC and CPIA sponsor a lively discussion on getting to zero plastic waste
In front of a packed house of approximately 70 people at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa CIAC and CPIA held a lively discussion with the Sixth Estate on Breaking the mold: getting to zero plastic waste on December 11.
CIAC’s Executive Vice President, Isabelle Des Chênes, opened the discussion up by framing the issue and giving a brief presentation on the broad issues at play including the benefits of plastic, Canadians’ perceptions on plastic waste and what industry can do to support solutions. “The public in Canada have been up in arms on this subject and rightly so. As manufacturers of plastic resin and plastics, we need to work with governments to educate the public about plastics’ benefits to society and the environment,” said Des Chênes.
Christopher Hilkene, CEO of Pollution Probe, then spoke about what his organization is doing to raise public awareness of the issue of plastic waste and bringing different stakeholders together to discuss solutions.
The Director of Government Relations at NOVA Chemicals, Ken Faulkner, then outlined the work that manufacturers are doing to tackle this issue, such as innovating to make plastic packaging fully recyclable and working with non-profit partners to improve infrastructure to reduce marine plastic debris in Southeast Asia.
Ryan L’Abbe, Vice President Operations, GreenMantra Technologies, brought the important element of innovation to create end markets for recycled products. He pointed out that due to a lack of supply in Canada, his company actually imports materials from the U.S. to have enough post-consumer plastic to recycle into products like asphalt and roof shingles.
Rounding out the discussion, Sean Fraser, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change then spoke on the Federal government’s recent efforts to create a framework for a national strategy of reducing plastic waste and what needs to happen in the near and long-term future to tackle the issue.
Watch a full recording of the panel discussion on the Sixth Estate Facebook Live page here.