More than 60 Canadian cement and concrete industry delegates gathered at Parliament Hill in Ottawa last week to meet with ministers, members of Parliament, senators and senior civil servants to convey the importance of the industry.
"The cement and concrete industry is uniquely positioned to help all levels of government in Canada achieve their climate change priorities, while also ensuring best value for money invested," said Michael McSweeney, president and CEO of the Cement Association of Canada. "The materials we produce – concrete and concrete products – are essential to all public infrastructure projects due to their renowned strength, durability, resilience and versatility. Far less well known is that our sector is also leading the clean economy transition, improving our environmental profile through constant innovation, and rapidly emerging as a massive cleantech opportunity for Canada to leverage."
In their meetings with elected officials and senior civil servants, the delegates highlighted the enormous economic benefits provided by the cement and concrete industry to local communities. The delegates also discussed how using a "three-screen" lifecycle criteria for federally funded infrastructure investments before the funds are transferred to provincial and municipal governments will help ensure the taxpayers' investment in infrastructure is spent most appropriately.
These three screens are:
- Lifecycle Cost Assessment: Using building materials that last the longest.
- Lifecycle Assessment: Choosing building materials that deliver the lowest carbon footprint.
- Best Available Solution: Using the best available approaches, technologies or designs.
"As the federal government embarks on an unprecedented level of investment in public infrastructure, it is incumbent upon us to ensure that our country's leaders are fully aware of the vital role our industry can play in the transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy," added McSweeney.
The concrete industry is a major, indispensable participant in Canada's economy, contributing more than 151,000 direct and indirect jobs across the country, and $73 billion in direct, indirect and induced economic impact.