Cement Association of Canada welcomes BC government action on Carbon Tax

Cement Association of Canada welcomes BC government action on Carbon Tax
Published: 19 February 2015


The Cement Association of Canada (CAC) welcomes the British Columbia (BC) government's efforts to improve the province's carbon tax. The BC Carbon Tax is applied only to domestically produced cement while imported cement from the US and Asia is exempt, resulting in net losses to both the BC economy and the broader fight to reduce GHGs, the CAC notes. With local manufacturers facing higher costs under the carbon tax, cement imports from jurisdictions without a carbon policy have risen significantly, as have the GHGs associated with transporting that cement from foreign markets, it adds.

The proposed "transitional incentives, $22m paid over a three year period, to encourage the BC Cement industry to adopt cleaner fuels and further lower emission intensities" will assist the current inequity the industry faces as a result of imports coming from the US and Asia into BC with no carbon tax applied to those imported cements.

The cement industry has been working with the BC government and other stakeholders for many years to find a win-win solution to protecting jobs, economic development, and the environment.

Speaking on behalf of its cement manufacturing members in British Columbia, CAC President and CEO Michael McSweeney says "BC produces some of the highest quality and lowest GHG cement in the world so the change makes sense both for the environment and for the Province's continued economic prosperity. BC.cement is a strategic commodity - and a key component of concrete, which is essential to the implementation of the Government's ambitious plan for infrastructure and LNG development.

"This incentive will help level the playing field for domestic producers of cement. It assists our Company to ensure good jobs stay in and continue to be created in British Columbia," says Bob Cooper, Vice President, Lafarge Western Canada. "Our competitiveness has been threatened by imports for the past five years and the move by the BC government will also ensure BC has a long-term and secure local supply of made-in-BC cement.

"Our industry is committed to reducing our carbon footprint, and this change will allow it to remain competitive while we move towards lower carbon fuels and other sustainable technologies," commented Pat Heale, Vice President, Lehigh Hanson. "Beyond having the positive effect of supporting innovation in our domestic cement industry, the change will contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in two ways: by decreasing emissions from the transportation of cement from distant offshore locations and by creating a more level playing field for domestically produced low carbon cement, which lowers GHGs by up to 10% per centcompared to cement commonly manufactured abroad.

"As the Minister of Finance stated this afternoon, this incentive program is being instituted because we recognize the cement industry is facing competitiveness issues. We look forward to working with the government on implementation, and on continuing to do our part to grow a strong and sustainable economy," McSweeney concludes.