CAC disappointed by BC government inaction

CAC disappointed by BC government inaction
Published: 20 February 2014

The Cement Association of Canada (CAC) has expressed its extreme disappointment with the decision by the British Columbia (BC) government not to change how the carbon tax is applied to the cement sector in its 2014 budget.

"The way the tax is currently structured is jeopardising the sustainability of BC's cement industry," said CAC President and CEO Michael McSweeney, said in a statement.

"On behalf of our cement manufacturing members in BC, we want to express our disappointment. The unintended consequence of this government inaction is that jobs and economic development are at serious risk."

Under the current structure, only domestically manufactured cement pays the carbon tax while imported cement coming from the US and Asia is exempt, creating an "unfair advantage for foreign producers," the CAC states.

"As it stands, the way the carbon tax is structured is costing BC jobs, and putting our domestic supply of cement, critical to the government's ambitious economic growth goals, at risk," said McSweeney.

The BC cement industry, which consists of Lafarge Canada and Lehigh Hanson, has traditionally provided more than 2,000 family supporting jobs across BC, the association adds. Local producers have lost nearly a third of the market share to imports since the inception of the carbon tax in 2008. BC cement facilities are now running at only 65 per cent of capacity, compared to five years ago when they were running at near full capacity.

"That the government of B.C. has chosen to not correct the critical deficiency of the carbon tax after having acknowledged that it is not working is very disappointing. We have been working with government officials to find a solution for six years, and we will continue to look for opportunities for further discussions,"  McSweeney concludes.