Canada's chemical and plastics trade groups said Nov. 13 they're in talks aimed at making the Canadian Plastics Industry Association a division within the chemical industry's trade association, a step they said is needed to help the industry speak with a greater voice on circular economy issues.
The CPIA and the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada said in a joint statement that any deal is pending approval from both of their boards and members but said they hope to have it completed by July.
"Combining those strengths will increase our share of voice about urgent plastics issues with important stakeholders at a time when our sector needs the clearest and most unified national voice possible," said CPIA Chairman Joel Rudolph, who is also vice president of strategy and business development at Farnell Packaging Ltd. in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
"CIAC and CPIA have very complementary strengths and mandates," he said.
A merger would come as Canada's national and local governments have focused on plastics waste issues.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in June, for example, that the country would seek to ban "harmful" single-use plastics by 2021 and make companies responsible for handling the plastic waste from their packaging and products.
CIAC Chairman Ed Bechberger also said combining operations would help the chemical industry move to a circular economy.
"The chemistry and plastics sectors have a long history of innovation to solve society's most pressing needs by developing new processes, solutions and products," said Bechberger, who is also president of Erco Worldwide in Toronto. "Our Boards agree that the time is definitely right to come together and facilitate the shift to a circular economy."
CPIA President and CEO Carol Hochu said detailed staffing plans have not been worked out.
"The staffing plan for the new plastics division within CIAC is still in the early stages of development," Hochu said in an email. "There are no plans for staff reductions as part of the process."
She said the groups expect some cost savings from any combination but that's not prompting the discussions.
"Strengthening advocacy for the plastics value chain in Canada is the principle driver," Hochu said. "We do expect to find some efficiencies as part of the process, but cost-saving is definitely not the driver."
The groups said the two boards hope to finalize agreements and have the plan confirmed by membership in the first quarter of next year.
The statement said the two groups have collaborated on many issues and noted that last year CIAC and CPIA jointly announced waste reduction targets calling for 100 percent of plastic packaging being reused, recycled or recovered by 2040 and 100 percent being recyclable or recoverable by 2030.
They also agreed on broader commitments around Operation Clean Sweep, the industry's voluntary program to reduce pellet pollution from factories, the statement said.