The Northeast Capital Industrial Association (NCIA) has been the voice of industry in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland region for the past 17 years. In that time, NCIA has formed deep connections with our community, neighbouring businesses and stakeholders from outside our region. And it’s not just connections with people. Our connection to the environment guides the work we do to ensure industry follows a science-based approach in protecting the air, land and water in the region.
NCIA has always been fortunate to have a deep pool of expertise, specialties, opinions and diverse voices at our disposal. These remarkable assets have contributed to our region’s resilience while under pressure and helped spur growth and progress when the timing is favourable.
While it’s no secret that these past few years have proved challenging for Alberta and its signature industries, NCIA has remained steadfast in our commitment to actively engage with regional stakeholders at all levels.
Recognizing that the value for Albertans is far more significant when issues are explored from a variety of vantage points, we’ve focused our time and efforts on connecting with local agencies, cultivating beneficial partnerships, collaborating on effective policy, and advancing shared agendas and opportunities.
In this report you will see some of the milestones achieved in 2018 as well as some of the ongoing investments that are continuing to keep us busy. As always, it is NCIAs great pleasure to work with our partners, surrounding communities and dedicated members.
NCIA Board Chair
Similar to many industrial communities, Canada’s largest hydrocarbon processing region has continued to weather the storm of volatile oil prices and market uncertainty.
While the challenges have tested industry, the community and Albertans, there is a silver lining in that these hurdles have provided the impetus for stakeholders to pause, carefully examine their core business and determine the best path forward.
Over the last twelve months as our members have made strategic adjustments and explored unconventional approaches, they have also circled back to the roots of NCIA. Now, more than ever, there is a shared recognition that the issues facing our region transcend individual company boundaries and that by working together we are far more effective.
As such, it is quite fitting that the theme of our report to the community this year is enduring connections. The relationships we have fostered and the synergies we have identified between member companies are indeed our strength.
Similar to years gone by, in 2018 we actively fed into emerging environmental policy development and other key engagement opportunities. NCIA also continued to progress Regional Effects Management, Ambient Air Quality, Groundwater Management and Odour Protocol portfolios.
This report highlights some of our collaborative achievements to date as well as the innovative connections that are being strengthened every day. Despite ongoing challenges, we have continued to gain traction as we explore emerging opportunities and strive for new milestones. This is something that we should all celebrate.
Dr. Laurie Danielson
NCIA Executive Director
Formed in 2001 as the successor to the Fort Saskatchewan Regional Industrial Association which took shape 20 years earlier, NCIA has continued to pull experts together to continually look for new and exciting ways to solve problems and create opportunities for the region.
For nearly four decades, people in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland have been coming together to fuel progress. Whether it is exploring untapped potential, mutual solutions or innovative opportunities for leadership, our 22 member companies understand the value and importance of working collaboratively both now and into the future.
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 22 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.
Every year, NCIA contributes approximately 10,000 person hours towards shared work with the Government of Alberta on environmental policy matters relating to the Edmonton Metropolitan area. While this work generates over $1,000,000 worth of knowledge and advocacy value to member companies each year, there are many other positive benefits that simply can’t be measured.
By coming together we are able to improve coordination, create efficiencies, and broaden perspective on crucial issues. These joint efforts not only help to reveal new opportunities for success, they ensure enhanced results for everyone in the longer-term.
Over the years, NCIA members have made a concerted effort to:
Our members, through contributions of both time and donations, are having a profound impact in the community.
In 2018, North West Redwater Partnership (NWR) hosted an innovative community challenge. The NCIA member started producing diesel from Canada’s newest refinery in late 2017. Throughout construction of the Sturgeon Refinery, a massive onsite recycling effort generated significant refunds – over half a million dollars to be exact. Those funds went directly to community investment projects in the region like playgrounds, library upgrades, seniors transportation, 4-H programming, fire safety gear, outdoor education equipment, and much more.
“It’s incredible to think that ten-cent beverage container and scrap metal refunds can add up to over half a million dollars of investment in the region we call home,” shares Vanessa Goodman, Manager of External Relations for NWR. “In an effort to celebrate this, we invited local organizations to join us in reducing waste in our communities.”
Through the Waste into Worth Challenge, community groups were able to submit their ideas for turning waste into something of value. NWR selected ten winners based on creativity, impact to the community, and the value generated from waste. A total of $10,000 in funding was split between the ten award recipients, with the grand prize of $3,000 awarded to the top ranked project.
This project uses wasted outdoor space for a self-sustaining chicken coop. Scrap food from student lunches will feed the laying hens, who in turn provide eggs for the Morinville Public School’s food and nutrition program.
Redwater School plans to compost lunch scraps and other organic materials to enrich the soil in their school’s vegetable garden.
Two local schools – Landing Trail and Lilian Schick – plan to gather electronic waste and use it for valuable hands on learning in their science, technology, and engineering education.
“We’re proud of all the community projects that will do their part in turning waste into valuable worth and we are looking forward to creating worth ourselves on a pretty grand scale once the Sturgeon Refinery is fully operational,” explains Goodman. “While bitumen can’t be used for much as is, it can be transformed into much higher-value diesel that helps get our kids to school, our food to grocery stores, our roads plowed and our fire trucks on scene.”
In 2018, Dow employees volunteered more than 5,000 hours in local communities where the company operates in Alberta.
“Engaging our employees for community impact has always been important to Dow,” said Jess MacDonald, Site Public Affairs Manager for Dow Canada.
“We’re fortunate to operate in a place as community-minded as Fort Saskatchewan and we want to help create a sustainable community.”
This year, Dow is partnering with Families First to hire Alana Seymour as a Corporate Volunteer Manager. Seymour will spend time working at the Dow site in Fort Saskatchewan and working at Families First. In this position, Seymour’s main focus will be to ensure that Dow employees are out in the community helping to support its partnerships such as Habitat for Humanity and FIRST Robotics.
“It was really important that our volunteer manager have a strong presence in the community, so that’s why we thought it was a good idea to partner with Families First, since they are such an important partner to us,” said MacDonald. “As a global company, one of our 2025 sustainability goals is to engage for impact, so that our Dow people can apply their passion and expertise to advance the well-being of people and the planet. Our volunteer manager will help enable this global goal.”
Some of the organizations where Dow employees volunteered in 2018 were at the Fort Saskatchewan Food Gatherers Society, at Habitat for Humanity builds, at a shoreline cleanup along the North Saskatchewan River and in local schools helping students learn robotics and programming. In total, Dow employees volunteered with more than 40 local organizations.
Pembina believes a healthy community is everyone’s responsibility and wants the community to be better because Pembina is a part of it. This is at the heart of Pembina’s drive to make a positive contribution to our community and find ways to make a long-term difference.
A leading transportation and midstream company, Pembina understands its success depends on the success of the community and strives to make a difference wherever it does business. By participating in local initiatives that support and enhance the community and making local community investments, Pembina supports the community, and its businesses as well. It’s a win-win for us all.
Participating locally gives Pembina the opportunity to build strong relationships and by partnering with community leaders, Pembina identified these ways to make a difference.
Every December, the Sherritt Fort Saskatchewan Metals Division (Sherritt) supports the local Fort Saskatchewan Food Gatherers Society and their employees assist in collecting food, toys and monetary donations for those in need. One tradition includes their annual ugly holiday sweater challenge where for every “ugly” holiday sweater worn to work, the senior leadership team personally donates money to support this charity. In 2018, Sherritt and their employees proudly donated over $3,000 and a few truckloads of food and toys.
Sherritt also supports other charities throughout the year. For example, in 2018 Sherritt became the official sponsor of the Young Scientist Conference which is held annually in May. The Young Scientist conference promotes and encourages local students from the Elk Island Public School district to be further engaged in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) related subjects. The Elk Island Public School district includes students from Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Vegreville, Strathcona and Lamont counties, and the western portion of the County of Minburn.
Some of the other local charities Sherritt supported in 2018 include (but is not limited to): Fort Saskatchewan Furniture Bank, the Fort Saskatchewan Music Festival, and the annual United Way campaign.
Since our inception, we’ve done our best to build partnerships, establish new ties, and be actively involved in networks.
NCIA is proud to have strong positive partnerships with:
NCIA and our members are honoured to be represented on the following important initiatives:
In business, location is still everything; and Alberta’s industrial Heartland is packed with opportunity. Home to small, medium and large industrial leaders, the 584 square kilometre area is much more than Canada’s largest hydrocarbon processing region; it’s an incubator for success.
“This truly is an region like no other,” explains NCIA Executive Director Dr. Laurie Danielson. “Not only does it nurture collaborative partnerships, it sparks innovative ideas and pushes companies to explore creative operational solutions.”
While NCIA member companies share a commitment to environmental, socio-economic, and public safety programs, the relationships have continually evolved to reveal natural business synergy. “Increasingly we are seeing opportunities for shared success,” says Danielson. “In some cases it is waste streams from day-to-day operations that are finding a new, more productive path, and in others it’s about making clever infrastructure choices so multiple parties can benefit.”
Recognizing the region’s potential, Sherritt’s Metals Refinery was the first facility to break ground in Fort Saskatchewan six decades ago. Stretching over approximately 200 hectares, the site of that original facility is now occupied by Sherritt’s integrated metals-chemicals-fertilizer production facilities; Nutrien’s 1300 t/d ammonia plant and 1200 t/d urea plant; Oerlikon Metco’s advanced materials production facility; and Umicore’s fine cobalt powder production facility.
“Although now owned by four separate public companies based in Ontario, Alberta, Switzerland, and Belgium, these facilities have a shared heritage that has led to collaborative site management,” explains Danielson.
The neighbouring companies share a common water intake and wastewater treatment system, and three of the facilities share other utilities and site management systems, including joint security and emergency response. “The ability to understand each other’s needs and collaborate on many issues has been key,” he says. “And this isn’t a unique situation. There are plenty of examples among our 22 member companies where productive partnerships are making a huge difference.”
The Heartland bus tour has officially become a spring tradition. On June 11, Alberta Environment and Parks and Alberta Energy Regulator members joined the NCIA crew on a day trip to the Pembina/Inter Pipeline site and Sherritt International’s facilities.
The event drew more participants than ever, requiring organizers to arrange for a larger bus to accommodate everyone. As always, it was an informative excursion that helped provide people with a good understanding of how industry manages day-to-day activities and environmental matters. Maybe next year we will need a convoy!
It’s been a little more than five years since NCIA completed its Regional Noise Management Plan. This impressive feat really put the Heartland on the map as it was a first-of-its-kind initiative in North America and set the bar for industry best practices in Canada and beyond. This plan sets out expectations for NCIA members to follow with respect to noise generating equipment on their sites. The Regional Noise Model, developed under the plan, is a tool used by the Alberta Energy Regulator and the Alberta Utilities Commission when evaluating new projects in the region from a noise perspective.
NCIA has continued to take this leadership responsibility quite seriously. This past year, much time and effort was spent updating the Regional Noise Model. This is an important task to ensure that the model evolves to reflect changing industrial practices, any changes to member sites that could affect noise off of the sites, and to incorporate any new facilities in the region into the model.
With more than 40 industry-leading companies calling the region home, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland offers unmatched industrial synergy, partnership opportunities and potential.
NCIA and its 22 member companies recognize 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.
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.