B.C.'s Jobs Plan should support B.C. cement industry: we need a made-in-B.C. solution to keep plants open and keep British Columbians working

VANCOUVER, May 9, 2014 /CNW/ - The Cement Association of Canada (CAC) is calling on the B.C. government to once and for all change how the carbon tax is applied to the cement sector to address the unintended consequences of the tax and to ensure a sustainable industry that provides family-supporting jobs.

"The cement industry wants to be part of the solution to climate change through equitable application of the carbon tax," says CAC President and CEO Michael McSweeney. "We continue to push the government to live up to its own Budget 2013 and B.C. Standing Committee on Finance recommendations to examine the carbon tax and address the devastating impact on the cement industry."

After six years of inaction by this government, local producers have lost nearly a third of the market share to imports since the inception of the carbon tax in 2008. Imported cement coming from the U.S. and Asia is exempt from carbon tax. This creates an unfair advantage for foreign producers, having a negative impact on climate, the Jobs Plan and investment in B.C.

"The cement industry is vital to develop the required infrastructure for an LNG industry, mines, the Site C clean energy project, and the roads and bridges that keep our economy moving," says McSweeney. "B.C. is the only jurisdiction in the world that does not recognize Energy Intensive/Trade Exposed industries like cement and concrete".

The B.C. cement industry, which consists of Lafarge Canada and Lehigh Hanson, has traditionally provided more than 2,000 jobs across B.C. B.C. 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. The domestic cement industry remains open to working with Government to find a solution and is not wedded to one option. Hundreds of family supporting jobs have been put at risk. These are real jobs, here and now, that have been impacted. "We have been working with government officials for six years, and will continue to do so, but our industry is running at a disadvantage while we wait for the government to take action. The B.C. Carbon Tax was designed to protect our environment, not to displace business and employment to jurisdictions that do not share B.C.'s commitment to fighting climate change." concludes McSweeney.

About the Cement Association of Canada

The Cement Association of Canada (CAC) is the voice of Canada's cement manufacturers which, in British Columbia, consist of Lafarge Canada and Lehigh Hanson Canada. The industry provides a reliable, domestic supply of cement required to build Canada's communities and critical infrastructure and, together with its concrete partners, is committed to the environmentally responsible manufacturing of cement and concrete products. The cement and concrete industry generates more than $8 billion in annual sales, contributes $2.9 billion to the Canadian GDP and employs over 27,000 Canadians in the production and distribution of cement, concrete and concrete construction materials.

 

SOURCE Cement Association of Canada

For further information: Media contact: Jennifer Davies, 778-887-5367; For more information please contact: Lyse Teasdale, Director, Communications, Cement Association of Canada, lteasdale@cement.ca, T: 613-236-9471; ext 211