An executive with the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada says a proposed ban on certain single-use plastics in Canada likely won’t affect billions of dollars in new petrochemical projects coming on stream in Alberta and Ontario.
But executive vice-president Isabelle Des Chenes says her organization wants to be involved in the process to ensure regulations are supported by scientific evidence and bans imposed only where there are “viable, cost-effective and environmentally sustainable alternatives.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government will determine specific items to be banned using a science-based review, but is considering items such as water bottles, plastic bags and straws.
Canada’s petrochemical industry is undergoing a five-year high in capital spending this year, thanks in part to incentive programs by federal and provincial governments.
In Alberta, Inter Pipeline Ltd. and Pembina Pipeline Ltd. are building polypropylene projects to turn propane into plastic at a cost of $3.5 billion and $4.5 billion, respectively. In Ontario, Nova Chemicals Corp. is in the midst of a $2-billion expansion of its Sarnia polyethylene plant.
Des Chenes says single-use plastics are a small part of the overall plastics industry in Canada and the bans aren’t expected to cause great disruption, but urged the use of transition periods to reduce harm to parts of the industry that will be adversely affected.
“We are pleased to see they want to take a science-based approach,” Des Chenes said.
“Certainly, our only caution is that we don’t predetermine the outcomes until the science is in.”