Partnering for Prosperity

Our region’s sustainability and continued success is dependent on the collective efforts of many.

For more than three decades, people in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland have been combining resources, ideas and energy with the goal of having a positive impact.

Established in 2001, and building on the earlier work of the Fort Saskatchewan Regional Industrial Association, the Northeast Capital Industrial Association (NCIA) recognizes that there is much to be gained through partnership and collaboration.

Our member companies are industry experts who appreciate the value of working together and understand that by harnessing our energy we are better able to provide leadership, expertise and consistency in Canada’s largest hydrocarbon processing region.

Message from the Chair

Although global waves in the marketplace were a standout feature of 2015, NCIA managed to navigate through the year with its sights set on continued growth and prosperity in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland.

Over the last twelve months, we have invested substantial time and effort in engaging our stakeholders, workshopping evolving policies, and adjusting our course to facilitate continued success. This essential work has helped to ensure that our strategies directly affecting the Heartland are not only forward thinking but that they are also catalysts for progress.

In this report, you will read about some of the investments we have made to strengthen the region as a whole as well as our industry’s collective positioning. As always, NCIA sees much value in meaningful engagement opportunities and actively exploring collaborative strategies for our and our stakeholders’ future. We understand that by combining our efforts and resources, we are better able to efficiently and effectively address emerging issues.

NCIA recognizes the need to use our position as the voice of industry in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland – to advocate on behalf of our association and our member companies. The current economic climate provides a clear impetus to engage the Government of Alberta on issues that are impacting our province’s long-term sustainability. Now, more than ever, we have a responsibility to work together on solutions across the board that not only address immediate needs, but strengthen our distinct Albertan advantage.

Joe Deutscher
NCIA Board Chair

Message from the Executive Director

This past year is one that will not soon be forgotten. In 2015, communities and industries were challenged on a number of fronts as a result of prolonged market volatility.

Albertans know too well the cyclical nature of our signature resources. We have experienced downturns before and each time, we have emerged stronger and wiser. While the timing of the market’s eventual rebound is uncertain, by working together we can better position ourselves for what lies ahead.

NCIA represents a broad and changing spectrum of backgrounds, interests, and approaches. Ultimately, our collective strength lies in our ability to address challenges with diverse viewpoints and expertise.

In 2015, we continued to work together in pursuit of exceptional outcomes related to Regional Effects Management: Ambient Air Quality, Surface Water Quality and Groundwater Management. We also actively fed into emerging environmental policy development and other key engagement opportunities.

Our work this year focused on the Municipal Government Act Review, Regional Noise Management and contribution to the Fine Particulate Matter Response. Thousands of hours were dedicated by many to ensure a bright and sustainable future for the Capital Region and Alberta’s Industrial Heartland.

NCIA’s collaborative achievements to date are indeed quite impressive. I am looking forward to continuing this momentum as we explore emerging opportunities and reach new milestones. Although many of the challenges of this past year will likely carry through well into 2016, I’m confident that NCIA and our members are well positioned to meet them head on.

Dr. Laurie Danielson
NCIA Executive Director

Working Together for Results                                         

The Northeast Capital Industrial Association (NCIA) is a not-for-profit cooperative representing industry in the City of Fort Saskatchewan and Strathcona, Sturgeon and Lamont counties.  We work with our member companies, government and local residents to promote sustainable industrial growth and community wellbeing in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland through environmental, socio-economic and public safety initiatives.

You Heard it Here – Regional Noise Management

In 2015, we further demonstrated our commitment to transparency and proactive noise management by adopting an online noise model output tool. The new Google Earth feature can be found under the Our Environment tab at

This great initiative represents a $300,000 investment by NCIA and builds on our 2012 Noise Management Plan, which is one of two large scale industrial noise approved regulatory tools in the world. Be it an industrial facility, regional highway or rail line, you can now get the full noise picture in the Heartland as well as the decibel outputs of individual manufacturing plants and facilities.

Sharing our Collective Expertise – Municipal Government Act (MGA) Review

As one of the largest pieces of legislation in Alberta, the MGA impacts individuals, businesses and communities alike.

NCIA recognized the importance of clearly articulating industry’s unique position during the MGA review.

The multi-stakeholder review process was led by the Alberta Government and examined:

  1. Planning and development
  2. Governance and administration
  3. Assessment and taxation.

NCIA did our best to convey relevant information as well as concerns regarding potential legislation changes. Our priority is and has always been to support a sustainable and vibrant region. To that end, we were eager to share our views and will continue to advocate for fairness and equity in taxation for our members and the communities where we operate.

Providing Collaborative Input – Fine Particulate Matter

As industry leaders, responsible neighbours and residents in the communities where we operate, air quality remains a significant priority.

Measuring less than 2.5 micrometres, fine particulate matter can vary according to location, season and weather changes and is a product of both environmental and human factors.

Understanding particulate matter pollution is complex. Although at times public misconceptions may position industry as air quality foes, every-day activity like the way we heat our homes and transportation choices actually account for a significant portion of air emissions. Nevertheless, we all have an important role to play in protecting the air we breathe, and as local industry we will do our part

NCIA continues to work with key stakeholders on proactive strategies to monitor and manage fine particulate matter in the region. We have taken the lead for industry, working with the Government of Alberta on the Capital Region Fine Particulate Matter Response and moving forward we will be involved with the various action strategies as part of the implementation phase. More recently, we also partnered with Alberta Environment and Parks, providing input on the revised Air Monitoring Directive. 

Shell Scotford                                       

Shell Scotford announced in 2015 that it approved a final investment decision to proceed with its Hydrocracker Debottlenecking project. The project will see the expansion of the Scotford Refinery hydrocracker unit, which will create a 20 per cent increase in that unit’s capacity (approximately about 14,000k bbls/d). The project, with capital expenditures in the hundreds of millions of dollars, is currently under construction with completion expected by October 2016. At peak, construction of the project will employee approximately 450 people. The completed project will bring much needed additional refined products such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel to the local market.

Identifying Opportunities for Improvement – Conscious Design

While all NCIA member facilities have been built to Best Available Technology Economically Achievable (BATEA) standards, continuous improvement remains a priority.

Last February, Keyera was granted approval by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) to expand its current Liquid Petroleum Gas processing capacity by 6,672 m3/day.

The facility expansion is currently underway, with project completion expected in mid 2016. Existing infrastructure is being used where possible to minimize the project footprint and remain within the current developed area.

The following engineered designs have also been incorporated to improve facility optimization and operating efficiencies:

  • Use of heat exchangers to reduce energy consumption
  • Combined flare stacks minimize required pilot and purge gas
  • Low NOx burner for the Hot Oil Heater
  • Variable frequency drive (VFD) systems to optimize energy usage
  • Combustion of waste gas streams in the Hot Oil Heater to generate useful energy

Supporting Sustainability – Regional Groundwater Management Framework

Be it up in the air or deep underground, NCIA recognizes the importance of minimizing impact on the environment.

In 2015, we expanded our work with Alberta Environment and Parks to begin discussing a Regional Groundwater Management Framework for the Capital Region. This important framework is just one piece of the broader cumulative effects management puzzle and is integral in providing up to date strategies and targets for managing regional growth.

NCIA’s investment in groundwater monitoring dates back nearly a decade. Using data from more than 13 wells located in the Beverly Channel we are able to monitor trends and identify appropriate response plans.  The information gathered forms the basis of our annual Regional Groundwater Monitoring report.

Beverly Channel – Did you know?

  • The Beverly Channel aquifer is a major preglacial valley aquifer that serves as a source of useable water for rural Albertans along its path.
  • Depth to the groundwater surface in the Beverly Channel ranges from 15 to 35 meters below ground surface and the channel is approximately 7 to 8 km wide.
  • Industry does not draw water from the Beverly Channel aquifer.
  • Groundwater flow in the Beverly Channel ranges from 16 to 160 m/year.
  • The North Saskatchewan River follows the north boundary of the Beverly Channel.

Want to learn more about groundwater aquifers? Click here.

Identifying Clear Solutions

North West Redwater Partnership (NWR) is committed to results. As a member of the Capital Region Water Management Framework (WMF) working group since its inception, the company has incorporated environmental sustainability and stewardship principles into all aspects of its Sturgeon Refinery development.

Designed to ensure superior environmental performance, the future facility plans to minimize the use of fresh water through optimal use of air-cooling and to maximize process water recycling with the help of leading-edge water treatment technology. And in keeping with the WMF, NWR is making a concerted effort to reduce its footprint at the river’s edge.

Instead of constructing a new intake facility on the bank, the company plans to draw process water from an existing third party intake. NWR also intends to follow suit with responsible water release practices.

Although the refinery’s operating permit allows discharge of treated process water into the North Saskatchewan River, NWR has invested in an alternative solution. Once operational, the facility will send treated process water to the Alberta Capital Region Wastewater Commission (ACRWC) water treatment plant in Strathcona County.

NWR will treat the effluent in-house before it makes the journey through approximately 3 km of newly constructed wastewater line, which connects the two facilities. Upon arrival, the ACRWC treatment plant will further treat the effluent to municipal standards prior to release into the North Saskatchewan River.

There are many benefits to this collaborative initiative. In addition to maximizing use of existing infrastructure, two distinct treatment processes will better prepare effluent for release; and wastewater treatment fees paid by NWR will help strengthen the regional utility.  By working together, NWR and ACRWC will have a profound impact in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland.

Strengthening Communities – Families First Funds Make a Difference

Through generous donations and the gift of time, NCIA members are helping to build safe, healthy and nurturing environments that support Heartland residents.   

This past year, several NCIA members contributed to the Fort Saskatchewan Families First Society’s (FSFFS) Building our Village initiative.

Offering a variety of early childhood development and parenting programs as well as family support, the charitable organization helps more than 950 families each year.

In 2015, Fort Saskatchewan Families First Society staff undertook the ambitious task of transforming an old RCMP building into a new home base to better meet client and community needs. In addition to donating $130K towards a contemporary kitchen, soothing nursery space and children’s discovery zones, NCIA members were happy to get their hands dirty, helping with demolition and painting projects around the building. The renovated facility welcomed clients in early 2016.

We were so fortunate to have a committed, amazing group of people willing to offer their support. Whether the contribution was volunteering time, financial assistance, materials in kind, or simply telling us we were doing a great job, the positive energy was so important. It truly made a huge difference in keeping us moving forward!

Heather Boonstra
Executive Director Fort Saskatchewan Families First Society

This story is just one example of ways NCIA members are giving back to the community. As friends, neighbours and residents of the Heartland, we are making concerted efforts to:

  • invest in local libraries, educational institutions and learning programs;
  • facilitate research projects;
  • assist with the purchase of school and leisure equipment;
  • sponsor high school and post-secondary scholarships;
  • contribute to great community events and enhance regional assets; and
  • much, much more!

We’re in This Together

With so many industry-leading companies calling the region home, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland offers unmatched industrial synergy, partnership opportunities and potential.

NCIA recognizes that we are most effective when we harness our energy to achieve the shared impact we all desire. Working together, we are ensuring sustainable development, environmental stewardship and the ongoing health, safety and prosperity of our community.