Ontario’s chemical sector trails competing jurisdictions: report
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The economic performance of Ontario's chemical sector has slipped during the past year, and trails key competing Ca...
The economic performance of Ontario’s chemical sector has slipped during the past year, and trails key competing Canadian and U.S. jurisdictions, according to a report from the Canadian Chemical Producers’ Association (CCPA).
The annual report, to be released on May 14, measures Ontario’s competitiveness in the chemical industry against other North American jurisdictions, and makes recommendations for improving the province’s ability to attract the attention of international investors and manufacturers.
At present, Ontario’s chemical sector is the largest in Canada, with $22 billion ofCanada’s $48 billion industry.
“Ontario’s economic performance within the sector has continued to slip this year and it is trailing key competing Canadian and U.S. jurisdictions,” said Richard Paton, president and CEO at CCPA. “To attract new investment, we must establish a clear and significant corporate tax advantage particularly for capital investment as well as develop an appropriate mix of competitively-priced, reliable electricity options. We need to remain a choice place for manufacturing investment in spite of rising energy costs, taxes and regulatory policies.”
The report identifies three major issues facing the sector. The first is the proposed Ontario toxic chemical legislation announced in November that threatens to duplicate the Federal Chemical Management Plan (CMP). “The CMP is a world leading Canadian initiative developed to build confidence in chemicals used in commerce,” the report said. “CMP has looked at the 23,000 chemicals used in Canada, determined what ones need to be further assessed and set rigorous timetables for these assessments and regulation where needed. The CMP already meets most of Ontario’s concerns. The CCPA has recommended steps for Ontario to compliment the CMP and help manufactures in the province meet its requirements.”
Second, the report identifies the need for regulated buffer zones around manufacturing facilities and chemical plants that separate them from other residential and business properties. “Currently buffer zones are contained in guidelines that are not enforceable and, therefore, not adequate in ensuring public safely,” the CCPA said.
Third, the report criticizes the lengthy 12-18 months wait time for manufacturers to receive aCertificate of Approval to make any structural changes to their facilities. “This delay, which is significantly longer than in other jurisdictions, decreases a company’s inclination to do business in Ontario and delays environmental improvements which would result in improved air quality and reduced greenhouse gases,” the report said.