We recognize that the future belongs to the next generation. That is why the members of the Northeast Capital Industrial Association (NCIA) are doing their part to equip those who will lead the way, to spark innovative discoveries, and to inspire exceptional potential that will better serve Alberta’s Industrial Heartland now and for years to come.
We are in this Together
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 well-being in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland through environmental, socio-economic and public safety initiatives.
Message from the Chair
As we facilitate learning opportunities for budding scientists, curious engineers, and future leaders, we witness the hope, confidence and ambition of our youngest community members. These are just a few of the qualities necessary to propel us forward.
This year’s Report to the Community highlights how NCIA members are nurturing the next generation as we give back to the region that has provided us with so much.
We feel very fortunate to be a part of Alberta’s Industrial Heartland and know that the return on our investment into the communities where we work and live is substantial. NCIA members are helping to lay the foundation for pivotal economic opportunities while enhancing social and environmental conditions within the region. This is clearly of benefit to us all.
In 2017, we have seen remarkable potential and perseverance. By working together, we have improved access, reduced inequalities, and unleashed exceptional talent. We are extremely proud of the distance travelled and are looking forward to what’s in store ahead.
NCIA Board Chair
Message from the Executive Director
Since our inception, NCIA has been working on progressive and practical solutions for Alberta’s Industrial Heartland. Our products and investments are delivering value to our operational networks and beyond, in the communities we are proud to serve.
Over the last three decades, we have found innovative ways to not only optimize resources, but also to showcase the remarkable talent that has been drawn to our region or emerged from within.
Working together with industry stakeholders, government partners our great communities, NCIA has advanced opportunities that will have a profound impact for years to come. Be it investing in education, supporting charitable causes, or supporting blue sky thinking, our members are championing results for people, communities and businesses alike.
In this Annual Report, we have focused on the future and the projects that are launching us forward. While many collective and individual milestones were achieved in 2017, we are confident that the best is yet to come.
Dr. Laurie Danielson
NCIA Executive Director
Investing in the Future
As integrated global chemical and petro-chemical companies, fertilizer and metals manufacturing facilities or smaller industrial service operations, our 23 member companies are making a valuable contribution to the Heartland.
The current industrial investment in manufacturing plants and infrastructure in the region exceeds $36 billion, with another $3.6 billion recently announced and the potential for another $10 to $15 billion in the next 5 to 10 years.
Our members directly employ just over 6,100 people (including long-term contract staff) and create an additional 23,000 indirect jobs. This translates into a payroll of $610 million and provincial tax revenues from our employees of $61 million annually.
Goods and Services
NCIA member companies spend over $1.5 billion annually to purchase goods and services in the region, not including utilities and feedstock for their operations.
Municipal taxes paid by NCIA members in 2017 were over $97 million, which includes over $5.6 million in Education taxes:
|$24,208,250 to the City of Fort Saskatchewan (including $1,340,460 in Education Taxes)|
|$61,690,070 to Strathcona County (including $2,462,500 in Education Taxes)|
|$7,914,250 to Sturgeon County (including $1,179,770 in Education Taxes)|
|$2,559,500 to the County of Lamont (including $653,000 in Education Taxes)|
|$836,800 to the City of Edmonton (including $13,620 in Education Taxes)|
Empowering Emerging Leaders
We recognize that scholarships are one way NCIA members can help students achieve their learning goals. Every year, our members give generously to high school and post-secondary scholars with outstanding academic achievements.
Access Pipeline has a three-year commitment with Portage College for two $2500 bursaries along with a $1000 Math Scholarship for Redwater High School number crunchers.
Nutrien (formerly Agrium) RFO (Redwater Fertilizer Operations) and Nutrien FNO (Fort Saskatchewan Nitrogen Operations) sponsor multiple scholarships at Fort Saskatchewan High totaling $1500 as well as five other scholarships at St. Paul II Catholic High School also worth $1500.
Pembina offers Power and Chemical Engineering scholarship programs at NAIT as well as the following two University of Alberta bursaries: Engineering (Safety & Risk Management) and Engineering (Aboriginal designate).
The Shell Skilled Trades Centre is a $200,000 investment from Shell Scotford for the creation and development of a skilled trades training centre within the Elk Island Public School system at Fort Saskatchewan High School. This community development initiative will support youth with training and skills needed to prepare for careers in the trades – careers that can be spent working within the heartland region. The school has existing space that will be extensively renovated to create the centre. In 2017, Shell Scotford and its employees invested over $750,000 in local communities
Before: In late 2013, Nutrien emptied and filled a former holding on their property pond with a layer of gypsum and covered it with a layer of top soil. In 2014, grass was planted. In 2015, half of the grass was replaced with poplar trees and willows.
After: Taken in September, 2017. Dr. Connie Nichol, Nutrien Specialist, Research Science, standing in front of the still flourishing willow.
Ensuring Next Level Success
Be it through financial contributions, shared research agendas, or mentoring programs, NCIA members are helping Alberta’s best and brightest reach their goals.
Nutrien (formerly Agrium) has been conducting reclamation research with the University of Alberta since 2005. This shared work is examining the most environmentally beneficial method of closing phosphogypsum stacks. Phosphogypsum is a byproduct from producing fertilizer out of phosphate rock.
In the last 11 years, six students have earned Master of Science (M.Sc.) degrees while working on different aspects of this project. Nutrien has provided technical and financial support to the university students as well as serving on their advisory committees. The students have enjoyed the opportunity to work on an industrial plant site while helping create innovative solutions to a real world project.
In 2015, the Canadian Forest Service joined the collaboration and planted 1,000 trees on one of the reclaimed stacks. The results were remarkable as the trees grew just as well in the gypsum/topsoil mix as they do on regular agricultural land. The added benefit of planting the trees is they increase carbon sequestration in the area. Nutrien is currently supporting a seventh University of Alberta M.Sc. student working on aspects of the afforestation research and plans to continue investigating innovative solutions to fertilizer plant reclamation and closure.
In 2017, Sherritt International Corporation donated key industrial equipment to the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) Boilermaker program. Sherritt has been a long-time supporter of NAIT and has partnered with them on various (both local and global) education and training initiatives including the Sherritt Wing of the NAIT Centre for Millwright Technology in Edmonton.
Pembina is a sponsor of Skills Canada, an organization that seeks to improve public perception of the importance of trade and technology based careers. The company continues to support “Skills Days” in Fort Saskatchewan, Namao and Redwater schools.
Skills Days inspire students to identify inherent abilities and interests, and to connect this enthusiasm to trade and technology careers through interactive, hands-on experiences. The program is helping to spread the message that trade and technology careers are a valuable and rewarding career choice.
Facilitating Lifelong Learning
Throughout life, opportunities to further knowledge and develop new skills will present. NCIA members are helping people of all ages to seize these moments.
North West Redwater Partnership is supporting new and experienced supervisors to develop valuable business acumen and leadership skills through the Better SuperVision program.
In addition to planning, quality and productivity skills, participants learn about communication, team building, conflict resolution, workplace motivation, onsite coaching and safety essentials during the Leadership for Safety Excellence and Industrial Construction Crew Supervisor modules.
In 2017, Cenovus contributed over $200,000 to 22 libraries and 19 Aboriginal communities across its operating areas. These investments in local libraries align with Cenovus’s commitment to learning and literacy. In 2017, cheques were presented to the Metro Kalyn Library in Bruderheim and the Lamont Public Library.
Cenovus recognizes and appreciates the diversity of our country, and is honoured to be a part of joint efforts to celebrate and strengthen Aboriginal culture.
Developing Scientific Bonds
As we work together, and support the next generation of critical thinking, ideas and solutions, we design a vibrant and prosperous future. In 2017, NCIA members experimented with various meaningful learning initiatives.
Sherritt International Corporation was proud to connect with the Lets Talk Science organization this past year through financial contributions and donations of employee time. Let’s Talk Science supports youth development by engaging them in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), building essential competencies such as critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and leadership.
Eight employees from across Sherritt participated in the local Let’s Talk Science Challenge this past May. Organized by Let’s Talk Science volunteers in 24 post-secondary institutions across Canada, this team-based event aims to inspire Grades 6, 7 and 8 students to acquire science knowledge beyond their curriculum.
The Challenge consists of the following:
- An exciting question and answer competition called the “Quiz Show”. Questions are based on the Challenge Handbook that students must study before the event
- A hands-on design challenge where students are asked to construct something with limited time and materials.
Recognizing that many of the professional opportunities in Canada’s mining industry require science, technology, engineering and math skills, this program is invaluable to Sherritt’s business and many other NCIA partners.
Giving Back to the Future
Our members are grateful to be a part of the landscape and are committed to establishing deep roots in the communities where we operate.
Within the Heartland region, Pembina donates 150 acres of land to Share the Harvest, which is a collective of retired farmers who volunteer their time to seeding and harvesting crops and donating the proceeds to Canadian Foodgrains Bank. The Canadian Foodgrains Bank provides emergency food assistance and farm training programs to 40 countries, and is matched by the Canadian government at a rate of up to 4:1.
This past year, Nutrien (formerly Agrium) donated $5K to the Redwater Arboretum Society. This is a small, but growing group of Redwater and area residents, who are developing the area north of the CN tracks between 49 and 51 Street, also known as Devonian Park.
Over the next three years, the group will be creating a lush green space by planting trees, shrubs and flowers to establish a focal point in the downtown core where people can go to relax and enjoy the outdoors.
NCIA members are continuing to prove that together we can achieve remarkable outcomes.
In 2017, Access Pipeline, North West Redwater Partnership, and Pembina partnered with Best Buy and Superior Glove to deliver Alberta’s first public school Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) learning Lab at Gibbons Landing Trail School.
The Lab provides a space for students to create and learn about STEAM-related initiatives through hands-on projects. These future innovators are hard at work in open area of the school’s library which is now filled with $40,000 worth of computers, VR goggles, robots, and educational toys.
NCIA members recognize the vital role of first responders in our region. We are appreciative of the efforts of so many to keep our communities safe.
In 2017, as part of Pembina’s annual Fire Safety Program, Pembina provided $146,000 in grants to volunteer fire departments across our operations in support of training, new equipment, and community education. Thirty-three fire departments benefited including Sturgeon County Emergency Services, Gibbons Fire Department, and Fort Saskatchewan Fire Department.
Healthy food and nutrition are building blocks for success. By supporting a solid start to the school day, and nutritious offerings for those in need, NCIA members are feeding vital opportunities.
In 2017, local food banks in the Heartland region including Lamont County, Bon Accord/Gibbons, Fort Saskatchewan, Redwater and others continued to benefit from support from Cenovus, Sherritt International Corporation, North West Redwater Partnership and Pembina. Be it food and toy donations, sorting and packing hampers, or simply providing a financial boost, our members enjoy working together to share resources with those who need it most.
Next Great Thing
In his first two seasons as a Dow mentor for the FIRST Robotics program at Fort Saskatchewan Senior High School, Jerome Wong has seen tremendous growth among the Grade 11 and 12 students he has been working alongside.
“It has been incredible to see these kids problem solve and explore their ideas. The FIRST program is so much more in depth than many other school programs. It fosters problem solving, it exposes the students to design engineering and gives them valuable experience that will help them in many types of careers,” said Wong.
FIRST Robotics programs challenge high school students to build a robot completely from scratch to compete at a tournament where the machine will have to perform various tasks. Students are responsible for designing, building and operating their creation with help from their mentors and teachers. Dow has been a strong supporter of the program, both sponsoring the Fort High team and providing volunteer mentors for it, as well as doing the same for teams in Red Deer, Lacombe, Bentley and Clive.
Wong, a Dow employee with a strong mechanical background, says his role with the team isn’t to give them the answers, but rather give them guidance to develop what they think is right.
“For these unique projects, there are a lot of answers that aren’t either right or wrong – a lot of different solutions can work. You have to nurture their ideas, rather than giving them the answer. You can see their growth when you allow them to explore their ideas,” he said.
Where Wong says his training experience has come in handy is when students are building or assembling parts for the robot.
“When they need to machine things or assemble parts, the order matters and there are many little details that can’t be overlooked,” he said. “Bringing my knowledge of manufacturing to the team gives it a quality check.”
Wong says he is very proud of the students he has mentored and how they have grown.
“There’s a lot of value in the FIRST program for our community because it helps get students to think outside the box. These are the kids who are going to be graduating and going into the trades and hopefully giving back to the community afterwards,” he said.
Dow employee and FIRST Robotics mentor Jerome Wong, right, and fellow mentor Jesse Hately helped Fort High students build two robots for last year’s competitions.
Supporting our Region
NCIA members are working to improve the lives of those who are facing hardship. While the donations to charitable organizations are too lengthy to list, here are a few examples of the gifts of money and time to worthy organizations that are having a profound local impact.
Nutrien and Sherritt International Corporation assisted The Fort Saskatchewan Furniture Bank by each company providing a $2,000 donation to cover one year of Storage Space. This charitable organization provides gently used furniture and household items to families at or below the poverty level struggling with fire, flood, job loss, or domestic violence relocation or any life changing event that requires their assistance. The Furniture Bank is completely volunteer based and relies on furniture donations from the community to help furnish the homes of families and individuals in need.
Each year, many of our NCIA member companies give generously to United Way Campaigns. We all recognize that together, we can help Capital Region families and individuals who may be struggling with poverty or at risk.
While the campaigns vary from site to site, the amount raised by employees is typically matched dollar for dollar by the company. This past year, NCIA members collectively raised well over $500K for United Way’s Alberta Capital Region. These funds remain in the local community and are channelled towards initiatives that help provide a safety net, break the cycle of poverty, and empower new beginnings.
Women Building Futures
Every day, thousands of hard working and skilled Albertans dedicate their time and energy to moving our signature industries forward.
Since 1998, Women Building Futures (WBF) has also been helping to grow the workforce in the Capital Region. The not for profit organization has been preparing women in the skilled trades for economically prosperous careers in industries where historically they have been underrepresented.
With a focus on workforce training, skill development, coaching, and employment support, WBF has not only been an important catalyst for positive changes at work sites; it has enabled economic freedom, personal confidence and transformational growth for women, families and communities.
Many NCIA members are proud to support WBF. Be it providing site tours, hosting students for on-site training programs and apprenticeship, or welcoming new grads with employment opportunities, NCIA members are actively involved with this remarkable program.
“We have a long standing and successful partnership based on shared values,” explains Kathy Kimpton, WBF President and CEO. “We know NCIA and WBF will continue to build on that success and continue working together to develop positive workforce development solutions that support economic growth and provide a high quality of life in the region.”
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.