April 2013

Message from the Executive Director


As we continue to move forward on our work this year, there have been a number of important initiatives and activities also underway, particularly with respect to provincial government policy as it relates to environmental matters. These include the following:

Most recently, the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development announced earlier this month a plan for reducing emissions that would markedly increase levies on carbon production. The proposed target would be a 40 per cent reduction in per barrel greenhouse gas emissions coupled with a $40/tonne levy for those who do not reach that target by 2020. This announcement came as a surprise to both the federal government and Alberta industries as it appeared to veer from the government’s standard practice and approach of involving stakeholder engagement and consultation to inform policy decision-making.

One of the things that sets Alberta apart from many other jurisdictions in Canada is the process in which major policy decisions are determined—a process that has typically been underpinned by meaningful stakeholder engagement. At NCIA we believe, and have come to understand through our own work, that a positive, cooperative and collaborative relationship with key industry sectors is created through engagement to build a common understanding and shared outcome position. With this, it is important for us to continue working with the province on the development of sensible, efficient and effective outcomes based approaches to environmental concerns. At the same time, it is also equally important to recognize that sustainable businesses must be competitive globally and function in a well understood and stable regulatory climate.

We are committed to working with all stakeholders, including all levels of government, industry and community members in reaching solutions that are beneficial to all. And we look forward to opportunities for further engagement with all parties on initiatives and policy decisions that impact industry and our communities so that mutually beneficial outcomes may be achieved.

As further developments unfold on the aforementioned initiatives as well as this latest announcement from the Government of Alberta, we will provide further updates as new information emerges. 




Upcoming Event: Fort Air Partnership AGM


Fort Air Partnership’s 2013 Keynote Speaker Event & AGM

What:  Alberta’s Industrial Heartland – What does the future hold? (keynote address)

When: Monday, May 27, 2013

AGM & Open House @ 6:30 p.m.

Keynote Address @ 7:30 p.m.

Where: Pioneer House, 10102 - 100 Avenue, Fort Saskatchewan

RSVP: Tuesday, May 21, 2012 by email: info@fortairmail.org

Neil Shelly, Executive Director of Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association, will be discussing the shifts in energy and economic dynamics that have changed development opportunities within the Heartland, and the resurgence of interest in the region with recent announcements totaling $21 billion of potential future capital investment.

As a Fort Air Partnership board member, Neil will also touch on the importance of air quality data and how it is used with incoming industry projects. Fort Air Partnership is responsible for collecting outdoor air quality data in the Heartland region and surrounding areas.


Upcoming Event: Community & Industry Information Evening

Heartland Community & Industry Information Evening - presented by Life in the Heartland

Join fellow businesses and industry-related organizations in the Industrial Heartland region to learn about current projects, activities and future plans.


When:     Monday, May 6, 2013
                 5:00 – 7:00 PM  (Presentations will begin at 5:30 pm)

Where:    Moyer Recreation Centre

                 54569 Range Road 215, Josephburg

Please RSVP to info@lifeintheheartland.com or 780.231.9802.

For more information, please click here.

New Information Available Now - The Five Years of Implementation

The Five Years of Implementation document and supporting fact sheets are now available on the InfoCentre website. These have also been sent for posting on the "Our Region Our Future" website. We have printed copies of the Five Years of Implementation and the fact sheets. Please let Terri Travers 780.638.3836 know how many copies you require.


These documents may be found online as follows:

 We also anticipate that there will be an updated ESRD website by the end of this month. We will notify you when it's ready.

Turnaround Season is Upon the Heartland

Alberta’s Industrial Heartland is home to many large and complex industrial facilities. Regular maintenance is a necessary part of operations to ensure the facilities are safe and efficient.

In many facilities, maintenance tasks cannot be performed while the plant is operational. Therefore, a turnaround is planned in which production is suspended or decreased for a specific time period to perform maintenance. This involves equipment inspections and, if necessary, repairs, replacements and technology upgrades. The duration and magnitude of a turnaround varies with the size of each facility and extent of maintenance required. Some last only a few days while others may last a month or longer.

Spring marks the beginning of turnaround season in the Heartland. Many companies take advantage of warmer weather to schedule a maintenance turnaround. For local communities, turnaround season brings economic benefits through additional spending on goods and services, as well as the benefit of increased efficiency and environmental performance of nearby facilities.


Planning for a turnaround ensures the appropriate personnel, equipment and processes are in place. It also involves community awareness, including utilizing the UPDATEline, to keep the community informed about turnaround activities. If you are curious about anything you see, hear or smell, call the UPDATEline at 1.866.653.9959 to access pre-recorded messages about industry activity 24 hours a day.


Several companies have turnarounds planned for 2013:




  • Dow Chemical Canada
  • Evonik Canada
  • Keyera Corp


  • MEGlobal
  • Praxair
  • Shell Scotford Upgrader



  • Agrium Redwater site (Phosphate and Nitric Acid Operations)
  • Air Liquide Canada
  • Shell Scotford Chemicals


  • Sherritt International Corporation
  • Sulzer Metco (Canada)
  • Umicore Canada



  • Agrium Redwater site (Ammonia II and Urea Operations)
  • Aux Sable Canada
  • Shell Scotford Refinery



The impact of the above turnarounds on the local community differs with each type of facility. Impacts in some cases may include increased flaring, additional noise and increased traffic to the site. In other cases, there will be no noticeable impact. Questions about turnaround activities should be directed to each particular company.


Brought to you by Life in the Heartland, a partnership aimed at improving access to information, resources and contacts for residents in and around Alberta’s Industrial Heartland. For more information, visit www.lifeintheheartland.com, email info@lifeintheheartland.com or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LifeintheHeartland.


People Profile: Meet Michelle Renaud

Michelle Renaud’s relationship with Alberta’s Industrial Heartland stretches over a decade, with her having grown up in the neighbouring County of Leduc.  She not only has lived near the Heartland, but also now works in the region, serving as an Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) Advisor for Plains Midstream Canada. Michelle has worked for Plains Midstream since April 2012, when they took over from BP Canada. However, she has worked at the facility for over three years. Michelle cites the dynamic and diverse nature of environmental work as one of the things that attracted her most to her profession as an agrologist. “There are so many facets to the environment and how we interact with it,” said Michelle. “I value the idea of being able to impact the environment in a positive way for future generations.”

Working in the Heartland was also a natural fit for Michelle given the many years she has spent living in and around the area. What she most appreciates about the region is the collaborative and interactive approach industry takes on regional environmental issues.  “For instance, we manage our environmental noise, regional groundwater and air quality monitoring through a combined regional approach,” noted Michelle. “This design aligns with the province’s cumulative environmental management frameworks, which are trying to achieve a high level of protection while balancing the needs of industry, municipalities and other non-governmental organizations.”

This collaborative approach, Michelle believes, contributes to a real sense of community among companies that are members of the Northeast Capital Industrial Association (NCIA). For over three years, Michelle has been a member of NCIA’s Environment Committee, and has been Co-Chair of the Environment Committee for a year and a half. From her perspective, NCIA provides an opportunity for industry to work together and offer meaningful input regarding environmental concerns that the province is facing today.

Through her work, Michelle also sees many ways in which industry has been making strides in demonstrating innovation and ingenuity in applying new technologies and operational changes to manage environmental impacts.  “A good number of industrial companies are highly engaged in technological advancements that would reduce environmental effects,” commented Michelle. “For example, there are many companies employing technologies in the reduction of greenhouse gases, such as utilizing low emission heater burners, capturing stack emissions and using more accurate metering equipment.”  Michelle also observed that many companies are implementing robust Environmental Management Systems (EMS) to improve environmental performance through the continuous improvement cycle. “The facility I work at uses an ISO 14001 registered system to identify and mitigate environmental impacts,” said Michelle. “The certified system helps us drive continuous improvement in an accountable way.” 

On a more personal level, Michelle is proud of the work that her company has done in helping to give back to both the community and contribute positively to the environment. One example that particularly stands out in her mind involved her facility working together with the Fort Saskatchewan Emergency Response departments (e.g., Fire and the RCMP) to plant donated trees in honour of the newly constructed Fort Saskatchewan hospital.

Michelle’s aspirations for the Industrial Heartland region include it being able to support and sustain growth of both industry and municipalities in an environmentally responsible manner. She also hopes that all stakeholders can work collaboratively on setting and achieving realistic environmental, economic and social outcomes that Albertans expect from resource development, while maintaining Alberta’s social responsibility on the world stage.