Evidence of meeting #38 for Environment and Sustainable Development in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was cepa.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Parisa A. Ariya  James McGill Professor, Departments of Chemistry and Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, McGill University, As an Individual
Bill Erasmus  Regional Chief, Northwest Territories, Assembly of First Nations
Jason McLinton  Senior Director, Retail Council of Canada
Channa Perera  Director, Generation and Environment, Canadian Electricity Association
Ahmed Idriss  Senior Advisor, Environmental Policy, Capital Power Corporation, Canadian Electricity Association

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Darren Fisher Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

I had really wanted to pass the last minute to Vance.

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

There may be a little bit of time at the end.

Let's talk about this. Some of our guests have travelled a very long way and have more to tell us. We have less than 15 minutes left. I do need a little bit of time, perhaps five minutes, at the end of the meeting. An issue has come up that we have to discuss.

With that five minutes at the end of the meeting, we have, let's say, 10 minutes left. Maybe we'll go three, three, and three for questions. Is that okay?

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Darren Fisher Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

That's at the end.

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

It's five minutes at the end.

Ms. Benson, I will add three minutes to your time. That gives you now five minutes....

Make that six minutes. My apologies. I can't do math today.

5:10 p.m.

NDP

Sheri Benson NDP Saskatoon West, SK

That's okay.

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

Please go ahead.

5:10 p.m.

NDP

Sheri Benson NDP Saskatoon West, SK

Thank you very much, Madam Chair. It's a pleasure to be here today.

I have a couple of questions coming out of my colleague's question to the folks from the energy association.

You talked about the carbon capture project in Saskatchewan. What is your role in helping that industry move to much more environmentally...obviously to less impact on humans than it has now?

To her comment about helping the industry transition, I mean, it was the Saskatchewan people, up to the tune of $4 billion, who helped that particular type of coal-fired energy transition to something more sustainable. How doable is that in markets and anywhere else that...? Why wouldn't you have taken that $4 billion and moved it into something that would be cheaper and would probably be able to provide energy for a lot more folks in Saskatchewan than it currently does?

What's your take on that project? It sounds to me like it's not doable in the private sector and you'll need huge government investment in order for that type of transition of coal-fired energy to even be realized.

5:15 p.m.

Director, Generation and Environment, Canadian Electricity Association

Channa Perera

As you can appreciate, innovation is costly, and somebody must do it. The private sector, I would say, wouldn't invest in such a project if they didn't see the business case. They do have a business case. That's why SaskPower invested in that.

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Sheri Benson NDP Saskatoon West, SK

But it's not the private sector. That's public money.

5:15 p.m.

Director, Generation and Environment, Canadian Electricity Association

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Sheri Benson NDP Saskatoon West, SK

I just want you to clarify that.

5:15 p.m.

Director, Generation and Environment, Canadian Electricity Association

Channa Perera

They're crown-held—

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Sheri Benson NDP Saskatoon West, SK

Yes; that's my money.

5:15 p.m.

Director, Generation and Environment, Canadian Electricity Association

Channa Perera

—but at the same time, it is a business, at the end of the day, whether it's publicly held or privately held. Unless there is a business case to go ahead with it, the president, and the ministry, wouldn't approve that. So they did all the feasibility studies—

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Sheri Benson NDP Saskatoon West, SK

But is that something you're looking at in the industry as feasible, that kind of investment? Is that the number one thing you're talking about with folks as a way to go? Or are you actually looking at a way to transition out of coal?

5:15 p.m.

Director, Generation and Environment, Canadian Electricity Association

Channa Perera

That is obviously one option. As I said earlier, 93% of the existing coal capacity will come to an end before 2030. With the recently announced accelerated coal phase-out, we will see more of that being shut down over the longer term.

Carbon caption and storage did make sense for Saskatchewan. I would argue that it makes sense for Alberta and some other provinces as well. But that decision was made before the regulations came into place. It's been going on for a long time. I know I started working on the climate change issue almost 16 years ago. At the time, that was the primary option, but now we're looking at renewable energy from wind to solar. Energy storage is big.

Are we doing anything as an association to promote innovation? We are. At the board of directors level to a working group level, we are talking about innovative solutions to the problems we have. I did mention in my opening remarks about the sector mandating companies to implement ISO 14001 environmental management systems.

5:15 p.m.

NDP

Sheri Benson NDP Saskatoon West, SK

As part of your innovation, you made reference to engagement with aboriginal peoples, and we've had Chief Erasmus here today talking about what that means. I'm wondering if one of the innovations your association is looking at is what the new reality is for your industry, given some of the agreements that the chief has talked about, and some of the treaties.

Respectfully, I think it's more than engagement, if we're talking about having legal agreements and treaties. In your industry in particular, because you are talking about using resources that are all people's resources, I wonder if you might want to comment on where you're at as far as the industry goes.

5:15 p.m.

Director, Generation and Environment, Canadian Electricity Association

Channa Perera

I have the lead on that file for the association as well. One of the first things I did when I took over the file early this year was to work with the members to develop a set of principles to engage aboriginal people.

We do a lot at the local level. If you look at Ontario Power Generation, Manitoba Hydro, and companies like that, or even Nova Scotia Power, they're engaged at the local levels, developing mutually beneficial partnerships and joint ventures and so forth. We take that issue really seriously.

Do we have areas to improve—?

5:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

I hate to do this, but I'm going to have to cut it off because we're really tight now and we have just enough time to get three and three.

November 24th, 2016 / 5:15 p.m.

Director, Generation and Environment, Canadian Electricity Association

Channa Perera

We will share the principles with you.

5:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Deb Schulte

Thank you.

Mr. Fast.

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Both the Electricity Association as well as the retailers council have suggested that the risk-based approach assessment is the one that is proven and you continue to support it as being foundational within CEPA.

Is that correct?

5:20 p.m.

Senior Director, Retail Council of Canada

Jason McLinton

I'm not really in a position to comment on risk versus hazard, but what I can tell you is that Canada, from my experience, is recognized as a world leader in this area. CEPA is recognized as a world leader, and other countries are basing their models on what we're doing. I think we're doing something really well under CEPA.

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Thank you for that.

At the last meeting, we had Professor Krewski, from the University of Ottawa here. We asked him the same question, and he wasn't prepared to necessarily support a hazard-based approach. He was saying that there has to be a happy medium there. He did suggest, as well, that the recent developments in computational methodology are going to dramatically improve the ability to analyze those huge datasets that have been problematic in the past, and could improve any kind of assessment system that gets established.

I'd be interested to hear from either one of your two organizations. What is it about the risk-based approach that you feel has served Canada well and should be retained?

5:20 p.m.

Senior Advisor, Environmental Policy, Capital Power Corporation, Canadian Electricity Association

Ahmed Idriss

Risk is basically the product of hazard and exposure. Basically, the risk-based model gives you two leverages to control the issue. Either you can control the hazard or you can control the exposure. That is the beauty of that kind of a model. You can control either one of them.

If you go for the hazard-based model, you control only the hazard and that's it. Hazard is an intrinsic characteristic of a material, so really it's the only one lever you have. From a regulatory perspective, definitely we'd like to get the flexibility.