The Ministry of Energy over the past several months undertook a formal review of Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan and consulted with the public, energy stakeholders, and partners across the province. The Ministry’s discussion guide, Making Choices: Reviewing Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan provided information on the current status of the electricity system. It identified commitments made that are still shaping the sector, and characteristics of the different energy sources.

The Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce (GOCC) had the opportunity of participating in the LTEP roundtable held in Oshawa on September 12 and submitted recommendations to the Honourable Bob Chiarelli, MPP, Minister of Energy for Ontario. In preparing its submission, the GOCC participated in two roundtable discussions—Nuclear and Combined Heat and Power (CHP). The Chamber reviewed its policies on energy including Nuclear and new build refurbishment as well as what nuclear means to Ontario and Canada and our policy on the General Motors of Canada and Northland Proposed Cogen Facility—Natural Gas-Combined Heat and Power (CHP)—Oshawa. The Chamber’s recommendations were underpinned by background policies approved by its Board of Directors and adopted by the Ontario and Canadian Chambers of Commerce.

Ontario’s energy supply decisions are closely linked to the health of Ontario’s beleaguered manufacturing sector. The Government of Ontario must treat Nuclear Energy as a strategic asset and an economic development driver and not just as a piece of infrastructure. Investment in our nuclear reactor fleet creates high value jobs in Ontario by exploiting unique and well established capabilities in our existing nuclear industry and enables Ontario to market this technology world wide and retain and attract industry and manufacturing jobs to Ontario and increase household disposable income and spending in our economy.

If the government is serious about creating a business climate that attracts investment and growth, a team effort is necessary. Input from key Ministries such as Economic Development and Trade, Finance, Research and Innovation is vital in putting in place a strategic energy plan that would act as a key economic driver for Ontario.

Of concern to the business community is the appearance of provincial Ministries developing plans in isolation of other ministries and decisions on such files as energy appear to be based on political decisions made at the cabinet table and not on economic sense.

“The cancellation of the ‘Avro Arrow’ five decades ago, has been recognized in Canada as an example of the lack of political will to recognize and support Canada’s potential for greatness,“ the Chamber stated in its submission. “It will be so much more shameful if we lose another anchor industry simply because appropriate decisions could not be made in a timely manner.”

The Chamber outlined in its submission that it supports the General Motors of Canada and Northland Proposed Cogen Facility—Natural Gas-Combined Heat and Power (CHP)—and its concern with the OPA’s delays in approving this CHP project at GM’s Oshawa Car Assembly Plant.

This proposed project enables Oshawa to offer a competitive advantage and will act as a lever to attract other heat-based industries to the area which supports the economic development objectives of the both the City and the Region of Durham. The result of proceeding is a win-win for both jobs and the local environment.

The Chamber outlined that the proposed CHP facility has received broad community support and is also unique given its strategic location adjacent to a major Ontario manufacturer with the availability of ample vacant industrial lands suitable for other heat-based industries close by.

With respect to Nuclear, the GOCC noted in its submission that Durham Region has all the ingredients to be the centre of a very dynamic and export focused nuclear cluster. The key companies in this sector extend all the way to Niagara and Cambridge to the west and to Ottawa in the east, the centre of that cluster is Durham Region with 15 supply companies in Pickering, Ajax and Oshawa.

For Ontario and Canada to continue to play a leading role in the global nuclear industry, all levels of government in Canada have a responsibility to work with the key stakeholders in the nuclear manufacturing industry to create a more favourable climate for investment and that includes the OPA.

The benefits to Canada of a vibrant Nuclear Energy Industry are many and varied, including providing a safe, emissions free and economic supply of energy, the creation of tens of thousands of skilled, high paying jobs, a high value product that can be manufactured in Canada that is in demand throughout the world, and utilization in Canada of advanced technology and manufacturing processes that can provide an impetus to other research and manufacturing sectors in Canada.

Ontario has very few industries that offer the potential for ongoing long-term job and wealth creation. Since 2009 the Ontario and Canadian Chambers of Commerce network has supported the GOCC resolution urging the Government of Ontario and Canada to make as a priority, a Nuclear Energy Strategy that will continue to provide jobs, investment and economic strength for Ontario and Canada.