Cement Industry Extremely Disappointed by B.C. Government's Lack of Action to Address Carbon Tax Issues, Putting Cement Jobs at Risk

VICTORIA, Feb. 19, 2014 /CNW/ - The Cement Association of Canada (CAC) is expressing its extreme disappointment with the decision of the B.C. 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 jeopardizing the sustainability of B.C.'s cement industry," says CAC President and CEO Michael McSweeney. "On behalf of our cement manufacturing members in B.C., 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; imported cement coming from the US and Asia is exempt, creating an unfair advantage for foreign producers.

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

The B.C. cement industry, which consists of Lafarge Canada and Lehigh Hanson, has traditionally provided more than 2,000 family supporting jobs across B.C. Local producers have lost nearly a third of the market share to imports since the inception of the carbon tax in 2008. B.C. cement facilities are now running at only 65% 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," concludes McSweeney.

About the Cement Association of Canada
The Cement Association of Canada (CAC) is the voice of Canada's cement manufacturers. The industry provides a reliable, domestic supply of cement required to build Canada's communities and critical infrastructure. The CAC and its members are committed to the environmentally responsible manufacturing of cement and concrete products. CAC's members are: Ciment Québec, ESSROC Italcementi Group, Federal White Cement Ltd., Holcim Canada, Lafarge Canada, Lehigh Hanson Canada and St Mary's Cement Group. The cement and concrete industry contributes more than $8 billion in annual sales and over 27,000 direct and indirect jobs to the Canadian economy.

SOURCE Cement Association of Canada

For further information:

Lyse Teasdale
Director, Communications
Cement Association of Canada
lteasdale@cement.ca
T: 613-236-9471; ext. 211