Ontario relies on refineries

Jul 25, 2019   | Categories: Canadian Fuels Association, Economy, Fuels
At a Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce event in February, Canadian Fuels Vice-President for Ontario Lisa Stilborn explained: “Our products fuel the economy, whether it’s moving goods on Highway 401 or Highway 402, getting passengers from point A to point B in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area, or fuelling Pearson International Airport.”

Four refineries, part of the southwestern Ontario Industrial Cluster, are key economic contributors to Canada’s largest provincial economy– and their closure would have permanent negative consequences. These are the findings of a recent report commissioned for Canadian Fuels Association by Aviseo Consulting.

The Economic Impact Study on Southwest Ontario Refineries analyzes the direct, indirect and induced contributions to the province’s economy. It uses sophisticated computer modelling to simulate the effects of a purely theoretical closure of the facilities and how Canada’s critical infrastructure would be affected.  The study goes on to caution about the competitive pressures from a growing regulatory burden posing risks to the viability of Ontario’s long-term energy security.

The report estimates the province’s refining capacity at 393,000 barrels per day, 21% of Canada’s total capacity, with refined petroleum product consumption projected to increase through 2024. While 1,401 people work directly at or for the facilities and operations, another 10,600 indirect and induced jobs are found in communities across Ontario.  For instance, refinery by-products are essential for companies downstream in the petrochemical value chain, including Sarnia’s six chemical producers. 

The report also notes the Ontario sector is a strong supporter of Alberta’s economy, since that is the source of much of its crude feedstock. Additionally, Ontario’s refining sector alone contributed more than $320 million in tax revenues to governments in 2017, the report notes.

These messages were further shared at Queen’s Park in March, at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s Advocacy Day. Canadian Fuels’ Marc Gagnon, Director of Ontario, shared his remarks with the many chambers of commerce on hand, the very communities that benefit from the long supply chain that the refining sector creates.

Going forward, the association is considering adding more refining regions to the study for an even more comprehensive look at the economic impact of refining in Canada. Stay tuned.

Canada’s refining sector.  It’s a vital part of our daily lives, our critical infrastructure, and our economy.

Executive Summary – Southwest Ontario Economic Impact Study (.pdf)
This executive summary outlines the key findings of the research.

Refinery Spotlight: Imperial, Sarnia, ON
One refinery boasts a successful history dating back to the late 1800’s, when most people got around by horse and buggy and predating the first motorcar.
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