ENTERPRISE CAPE BRETON CORPORATION ANNUAL REPORT 2011-2012
Table of Contents
Message from the Chair
Message from the CEO
ECBC Board of Directors
DARR Board of Directors
ECBC Leadership Committee
Key Performance Indicators
Performance Against Objectives
Policy and Advocacy
Regional Service Delivery
Human Resource Obligations
In Our Community
Message from the Chair
Paul J. LeBlanc
The economy of Cape Breton Island and Mulgrave continues to transition from its dependence on the resource sector to a more diversified and value-added economy. ECBC has a major role to play in terms of facilitating that process. The Corporation is central to economic development in Cape Breton and the Mulgrave area and through its advocacy role; it continues to provide leadership on a number of key files impacting the growth and development of the local economy.
Cape Breton has a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) that is significantly lower than the provincial or national average. The area also faces demographic challenges as the population continues to decline. This past year, Cape Breton Island and Mulgrave were faced with additional economic uncertainty due to the closure and pending sale of the NewPage paper mill in Port Hawkesbury. Clearly there is a need for ECBC to exercise leadership in the pursuit of new economic opportunities.
In addition to its own programs, ECBC administers the economic development programs of ACOA in Cape Breton and has assumed responsibility for the environmental stewardship and human-resource obligations of the former CBDC. The diversity of its business lines supports the Corporation’s mandate, which is to broaden the economic base of Cape Breton and Mulgrave.
The Board of Directors is mindful of the Corporation’s important role and is to be commended for its insight and the guidance it continues to provide to the Corporation’s leadership. The ECBC Board consists of directors with diverse experience, but each brings skilled leadership and a commitment to the success of the corporate mission. In addition to its general oversight responsibilities, in 2011-2012 the Board of Directors focused its efforts on strategic planning, risk management, financial stewardship and annual reporting. A corporate governance review was conducted with a view to updating governance materials and practices.
I would also like to take this opportunity to recognize the commitment and dedication of the Corporation’s management and staff. Their hard work and perseverance reflect the true spirit of Cape Breton Island.
Whether it is through commercial development, community development, the control and management of mine water, the remediation of former mine sites or the development of real property, ECBC remains a champion for the long-term prosperity of Cape Breton Island and Mulgrave.
Message from the Chief Executive Officer
John K. Lynn
ECBC is a major force in the Cape Breton and Mulgrave economy. Through its economic development programs, environmental remediation and legacy human-resource obligations, the Corporation directly injected over $119 million into the economy in 2011-2012, leveraging an additional $48 million in investment.
The Corporation focuses on four key lines of business: commercial development, community development, environmental stewardship and property development. Working collaboratively, these priority areas provide a holistic, integrated and strategic approach to economic development on Cape Breton Island.
In 2011-2012, among other things, ECBC successfully contributed to the dredging of Sydney Harbour, supported the opening and implementation of the vision for the Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment (CSEE) at Cape Breton University (CBU), purchased strategic property along the Sydney waterfront and other lands for future development, remediated former mine sites and helped to bring stakeholders together from across the island to develop the first-ever Cape Breton Prosperity Framework that creates a common economic development vision for Cape Breton and Mulgrave.
As the principal federal government organization responsible for economic development on Cape Breton Island and in Mulgrave, ECBC helps communities develop a business environment that encourages investment and works with new and existing entrepreneurs to help them pursue their business ideas, expand or modernize their operations and enhance their competitiveness.
Last year, 229 projects were funded, contributing to the long-term economic development of communities and businesses across Cape Breton Island and in Mulgrave.
With regard to ECBC’s environmental stewardship mandate, seven former mine sites have been remediated. Several sites have been developed as community recreational areas and work continues on a $12.5 million mine-water treatment facility.
ECBC’s focus continues to be on sustainable economic development across Cape Breton and Mulgrave and it will continue to take a leadership role in the advancement of key files that facilitate investment and generate wealth for the community.
ECBC’s and Cape Breton’s challenges are significant given current economic and demographic conditions. However, its brand is strong and the Corporation enjoys the respect and confidence of the many communities it serves.
ECBC Board of Directors
PAUL J. LEBLANC
Paul J. LeBlanc assumed the responsibilities of President of ACOA in November 2010. With a Masters in Business Administration from the Université de Moncton, Mr. LeBlanc pursued a career in the public service of Canada and joined ACOA in 1987. He has held various senior positions within the Agency.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
JOHN K. LYNN
John K. Lynn was appointed Chief Executive Officer of ECBC in June 2008. He has an extensive private-sector background and has served on numerous private-sector, not-for-profit and Crown corporation boards and board committees.
Mr. Miller is a long-time resident of Cape Breton Island. He is a graduate of St. Mary’s University and is retired from a career in banking. He is currently employed with the Cape Breton District Health Authority and is an active community volunteer.
A native of North Sydney, Ms. Salter is a graduate of Mount Saint Vincent University, with knowledge of and experience in the hospitality industry gained through her work as an entrepreneur. She is also active with various community organizations.
Ms. Landry, a resident of St. Peter’s, was the first woman to hold the positions of inspector and superintendent of schools in Richmond County. She has also worked as a consultant in education. Now retired, Ms. Landry is an active volunteer in her community. In 2010, Ms. Landry was awarded the Order of Nova Scotia.
A native of Sydney, Mr. Munroe is a chartered accountant and an associate partner with MGM & Associates in Sydney. He has extensive experience in auditing, accounting, tax and other financial advisory services. Mr. Munroe is involved in various professional and community activities.
Mr. MacInnis, a resident of Creignish, Inverness County, is a graduate of St. Francis Xavier University. He is retired from a career in education. Mr. MacInnis serves on several boards and numerous organizing committees.
Human Resource Committee
Paul J. LeBlanc
John K. Lynn
*ECBC support staff
DARR (CAPE BRETON) LIMITED
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Terry Miller, Chair
John K. Lynn
DARR Environment Committee
John K. Lynn*
*Non-members, functional support
ECBC Leadership Committee
John K. Lynn
Chief Executive Officer
Executive Director General, Advocacy and Development
Executive Director General, Site Operations/Remediation
Director General, Corporate Services
Director General, Commercial Development
Director General, Community Economic Development
Director General, Property Development and Management
The economic environment provides the context for ECBC’s planning for economic development on Cape Breton Island and in Mulgrave. This section will review some of the main economic factors that create the economic environment in which the Corporation operates.
The global recovery from the recession of 2008-2009 has been fragile and faced several setbacks in 2011. The most significant destabilizing events have been debt-driven financial turmoil in Europe, slower-than-expected growth and a sovereign credit rating downgrade for the U.S., political unrest in the Middle East, and the tsunami and accompanying nuclear emergency in Japan. The backdrop for these events has been generally high global commodity prices, bringing increased inflationary pressures and below-trend growth in many of the major economies.
Canada is in a better situation than most of the world's major economies, having maintained higher levels of GDP growth over the past 36 months, with lower debt-GDP ratios and relatively smaller public deficits. Given the Canadian economy's export dependence, these global pressures will affect economic growth.
The federal government is following a deficit reduction plan and the second stage of stimulus spending through Canada's Economic Action Plan to provide over $5 billion in reduced spending by 2013-2014. While unemployment remains above pre-recession levels, it dropped from a peak of 8.7% to 7.3% in late 2011. This increase in employment was stronger in Canada than in its G7 counterparts.
Just as the 2008-2009 recession had a relatively reduced impact in Nova Scotia relative to the rest of Canada, the recovery of 2010-2011 was also less evident. Weak U.S. growth and a relatively high Canadian dollar have negatively impacted exports from Nova Scotia. The Province’s two largest forest product mills – NewPage and Bowater Mersey – have both faced tremendous difficulties in 2011, impacting provincial exports, overall GDP and employment levels. Nova Scotia has had no net employment growth since 2008, though this masks significant regional disparities, with Halifax gaining 11,200 jobs and the rest of the province losing 12,300 from 2008 through mid-2011.
Some of the negative impact is offset by the expected start-up of Deep Panuke natural gas and, more significantly, by the October 2011 announcement that Irving Shipyards in Halifax has been awarded a $25 billion federal shipbuilding contract. This is a long-term project, which at its peak in 2020 is expected to contribute nearly $900 million to the provincial economy, employing 11,500 workers.
Cape Breton Trends
Cape Breton continues to have a GDP per capita that is significantly lower than its peer group, the Province, and the national average. The most recent data available (2008) indicated that Cape Breton's GDP per capita grew faster from 2006 to 2008 than that of its comparables, but not sufficiently to close the gap.
The cumulative effect of this disparity between per capita GDP in Cape Breton and elsewhere in the country is that, were the Cape Breton economy performing at the national level, the island's economy would be $1.9 billion larger than it is currently. The largest components of Cape Breton's prosperity gap are the participation rate and productivity. These two factors reflect a relatively lower number of people of working age actively involved in employment or in looking for employment, and a larger proportion of relatively lower economic value and lower paid jobs.
Demographics continue to be an issue, with both an aging and declining population. This is a feature common to Atlantic Canada outside of the major urban centres and appears to be closely related to employment gains and losses and the availability of work. These demographic characteristics are expected to be particularly significant in employment terms as the baby-boomer cohort increasingly moves into retirement and skills shortages are predicted due to the dearth of younger workers in the local workforce. The Aboriginal population is both young and growing rapidly, but while it plays an increasing role in the island's economy, it is still small as a share of the total workforce.
The most significant local economic event in the past year has been the indefinite closure of the NewPage paper mill in Point Tupper, affecting up to 650 direct and 400 contract jobs at the mill and thousands of indirect jobs. The Province implemented a plan to keep a proportion of employees and contractors working in order to facilitate the sale of the mill. Similarly, there have been call-centre closures and public-sector job losses affecting both federal and provincial employees.
There are a number of encouraging developments in the local economy. Dredging of the Sydney Harbour channel was carried out in 2011, bringing the harbour into a very exclusive list of ports on the eastern seaboard able to accommodate large vessels. Commercialization of this opportunity is the next stage of the project. Early work on the transmission line between Newfoundland and Labrador and Cape Breton for the Muskrat Falls Hydro project is expected in 2012.
There are various other energy projects being developed on the island, including Petroworth Resources, which was granted approval by the Nova Scotia departments of Environment and Energy to drill an exploratory onshore oil well in Lake Ainslie. The Province’s 2011 introduction of feed-in tariffs for renewable electricity production has spurred the development of a number of wind power and biomass energy projects in Cape Breton, as well as a proposed tidal power project for the Barra Strait at Iona. The CSEE was officially opened in 2011. The Centre focuses on sustainable energy and environmental remediation and will conduct research and development that will drive further economic development opportunities.
The Cape Breton economy remains in a state of transition as it moves from a resource-based to a new, more diversified economy. While Cape Breton is facing serious economic challenges, it is also presented with significant opportunities. It is in this context that ECBC must develop its strategies.
Performance Against Objectives
Over the past several years, the Corporation has focused on the development of a management, resources and results structure (MRRS). Since
April 1, 2005, the Government of Canada’s MRRS policy has required federal organizations to develop an MRRS consisting of three components:
• strategic outcomes
• program activity architecture (PAA)
• governance structure
The PAA is the structure of program activities upon which federal organizations report expenditures and results to the Treasury Board of Canada and to Parliament. Each organization’s PAA consists of two main elements: clearly defined and appropriate strategic outcomes and a complete program inventory that links all departmental programs and program activities so that they roll up into these strategic outcomes.
In the course of developing an MRRS, the Corporation’s PAA and performance-measurement framework were revised. ECBC’s MRRS received Treasury Board approval in 2009.
For ECBC, the PAA consists of an overall strategic outcome: a competitive and sustainable Cape Breton economy that contributes to the achievement of the Corporation’s mandate.
ECBC’s 2011-2012 corporate plan outlined a number of program activities and objectives on which the Corporation focused during the year. They include:
• Commercial Development
• Community Economic Development
• Environmental Obligations (of the former CBDC)
• Property Development and Management
• Policy and Advocacy
• Regional Service Delivery
• Human-Resource Obligations (of the former CBDC)
• Internal Services
A discussion of each area of activity follows.
Cape Breton’s economy continues to be challenged by external economic factors that negatively impact sustained growth and productivity. Economies world-wide continue to be challenged by stagnant growth and recessionary trends. The recessionary forces have compounded existing challenges such as out-migration and an aging population, making businesses more vulnerable as they struggle to maintain current operations. A high Canadian dollar in comparison to the U.S. dollar makes exports more expensive and has a negative effect on tourism revenues in our region.
To assist with the performance of the Cape Breton economy, ECBC’s Commercial Development unit focused on three key areas during 2011-2012: access to capital, trade and investment, and sector development.
ECBC’s focus through its access to capital initiatives is to provide an environment that allows Cape Breton Island’s existing SMEs to remain competitive and productive in their respective sectors.
One measure of increased competitiveness and sustainability of SMEs is business survival rates. Business survival is influenced by a number of factors, including geographic location, type of industry, firm size and age. There are also market factors that can greatly impact a firm’s survival, such as the number of competitors and new entrants as well as general market and economic conditions. The five-year survival rate for ECBC-assisted firms is 91%. In 2010 this rate was 75%. According to an Industry Canada Report, survival rates for small and medium-sized businesses (with less than 250 employees) in Canada decline over time. About 85% of businesses that enter the marketplace survive for one full year, 70% survive for two years and 51% survive for five years.
Access to capital remains one of the most significant challenges for SMEs on Cape Breton Island. The ability to secure funding from traditional lenders, venture capitalists, and other levels of government can be limited. To help address this challenge, the Corporation assisted 16 companies in Cape Breton with $4.1 million in commercial development funding approved in 2011-2012.
Copol International Limited is one of the companies that benefitted from ECBC programming. From its modern 90,000-square-foot facility in the Northside Industrial Park, Copol ships film products to flexible packaging converters throughout North America, for applications ranging from textile packaging and food packaging to a variety of other industrial applications. The company is primarily focused on the export sales market, with the majority of revenues generated in the United States. ECBC partnered with Copol in 2011-2012 to undertake the most significant upgrade contemplated at the plant since it was first established in 1992. The total cost of this modernization was close to $5 million, with ECBC providing a repayable loan of $1 million. This project positions Copol as having the most advanced film extrusion capacity in North America. It will significantly improve productivity, sustainability, product quality and diversity while substantially reducing energy costs and raw material wastage.
During 2011-2012, ECBC provided a $600,000 repayable loan to TerraMac Contracting Limited to acquire its manufacturing facility and improve its overall cash flow. This project demonstrates ECBC’s flexible programs by investing in a promising metal recycling company that is a leader in the industry. TerraMac’s processing includes all of the metal for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality landfills, salvage contracts, and private and public contracts. The acquisition of the new building provides the company with additional space to reconfigure its operation, increase efficiencies and service additional contracts. This project and the benefits to be achieved demonstrate how ECBC is using its programs to meet the needs of SMEs.
As a result of the global economic downturn in the United States, Cape Breton companies are now seeking to diversify into other global markets for the sale of their products and services. While a relatively small percentage of Cape Breton companies export their products and services, the island’s long-term potential for economic growth depends on the creation of wealth from export sales. ECBC’s commitment to assisting Cape Breton companies develop and explore new markets continued in 2011-2012.
ECBC hosted two outgoing trade missions in 2011-2012. The first was to the Netherlands and focused on the promotion of Cape Breton’s quality seafood products and on learning more about Europe’s distribution network for the sale of seafood. ECBC worked with Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada representatives in the Netherlands, which resulted in the Netherlands’ Trade Commissioner responsible for seafood visiting Cape Breton for one-on-one business meetings and to deliver a workshop on doing business in that country.
The second trade mission focused on the transportation sector. The trade mission included port and business site tours and meetings with port authorities and economic development organizations involved with port development in Tacoma and Seattle, Washington, and Prince Rupert, British Columbia. The purpose of the trade mission was to provide Cape Breton’s port and economic development representatives with an understanding of best practices regarding governance and operations. Other transportation sector-related trade activities included ECBC’s participation at Breakbulk Europe in May 2011 and Breakbulk Americas in October 2011.
ECBC also provided financial assistance to Cape Breton Island companies and organizations to participate in other trade-related activities, including the annual European Seafood Show, the International Boston Seafood Show, the Celtic Colours Incoming Presenters and Media Program among other activities. In total, ECBC provided financial assistance to 12 companies and two organizations for the development and exploration of markets. Results of these activities for specific export sales will be measured in the coming years.
ECBC was also active in investment-related activities during 2011-2012. The Corporation worked in partnership with KPMG to study how Sydney ranked as an investment location alongside its counterparts across the country. The findings of the recently released Competitive Alternatives 2012, KPMG’s Guide to International Business Location Costs, indicated that Sydney scored well, placing a close second as the best place to locate a business in a survey of 31 Canadian cities. The KPMG study examined 26 key business cost elements, including labour, taxes, real estate and utilities. This represented a marked improvement over the 2010 study in which Sydney placed eighth among Canadian cities. In addition, ECBC undertook the updating of an investment portal website (www.investincapebreton.com) in partnership with the Cape Breton Partnership.
ECBC’s trade and investment activities have resulted in the creation of new partnerships with regional and provincial bodies as well as Canadian embassies, consulates and high commissions. As a result, the Corporation now has new avenues and contacts through which it can generate investment attraction and export leads for Cape Breton companies.
ECBC considers the development of key sectors to be of strategic importance in its approach to growing the Cape Breton economy. Energy, tourism, transportation and innovation were sectors of focus over the past year.
ECBC worked with various stakeholders on renewable energy projects throughout 2011-2012. Tocardo International BV is a Dutch company dedicated to the delivery of economical turbines to harvest energy from oceans and rivers. The free flow, bi-directional, in-stream turbines can be compared to underwater turbines. Tocardo representatives have identified a number of suitable locations for their technology in Cape Breton, including the Barra Strait near Iona and the Bras d’Or channel near Seal Island. Gwave Maritimes is in the early planning stages of considering the Cape Breton coastline to pilot test its innovative wave riding barge system, which generates electricity from ocean swells. Both organizations have been liaising with ECBC and Cape Breton University’s Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment on the development of these projects.
In addition to the potential of these emerging technologies, ECBC remains highly engaged with existing clients who have received funding to advance projects in the areas of wind energy development, geothermal applications, biomass, torrefaction and advanced materials for battery technology. ECBC had representation at the ALL-Energy Exhibition and Conference in Aberdeen, Scotland – the United Kingdom’s largest annual renewable energy event, showcasing renewable, sustainable and emerging technology.
The leadership at ECBC and the CSEE met on a number of occasions during the year to discuss an energy strategy for Cape Breton. Together, the two organizations have been working toward defining strategic energy development priorities for the Cape Breton region that will guide ECBC’s and the CSEE’s participation in the energy sector. Some of the high-potential priorities identified to date include coal, wind energy, marine energy, bioenergy, fuel cells, and geothermal exchange.
During the year, ECBC worked with partners at Tourism Atlantic, Destination Cape Breton Association and the Province of Nova Scotia to identify and address tourism issues. The Corporation previously developed an internal tourism strategy that serves to guide its investments.
The main objectives of the strategy are as follows:
• strengthen partnerships within the tourism industry (Destination Cape Breton Association, Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, Parks Canada, Tourism Atlantic) to enhance tourism development;
• support the implementation of the marketing levy for Cape Breton Island; and
• develop products and experiences to meet visitor expectations.
A significant tourism accommodations project is being developed on the west side of Cape Breton Island by The Keiser Group. ECBC is assisting with the development of this hotel through the provision of a $250,000 repayable loan. The project involves the construction of a hotel containing 48 high-end units immediately adjacent to the recently completed Cabot Links Golf Course.
ECBC continues to work with SMEs to stimulate the development of new or improved processes and products so that existing businesses and start-ups will become more competitive, expand and create economic benefit for Cape Breton.
ECBC’s investment in Mabou-based Halifax Biomedical Inc. enables this company to grow its leading medical instrumentation technology business. Halifax Biomedical’s patented measuring device and supporting analytical suite allow orthopedic surgeons to monitor the progress of a patient’s implant by using specialized stereo x-ray equipment. Hospitals using this new technology require both patented medical equipment and long-term service contracts supplied by Halifax Biomedical. This technology is being adopted by some of the leading orthopedic hospitals in the world.
ECBC provided a $1 million equity investment to Halifax Biomedical in 2011-2012 to enable further research and development and to grow both its domestic and international markets.
In an effort to gauge how ECBC funding is impacting SMEs and ultimately the economy of Cape Breton, an independent consultant carried out a number of case studies during the year. These studies provide a systematic way of looking at events, collecting data, analyzing information and reporting the results. They are a compilation of qualitative as well as quantitative evidence that demonstrates how ECBC’s collective activities impact its corporate mission, mandate and objectives. A study was carried out on Halifax Biomedical Inc. and is summarized later in this section.
The Corporation exceeded its commercial development target to leverage one dollar for every dollar invested. In 2011-2012, the Corporation approved assistance totalling $4.1 million, which in turn leveraged $17 million in other investments.
ECBC supports community economic development (CED) by engaging and empowering communities to take control of their destiny and to pursue sustainable economic development opportunities. To realize sustainable economic growth, investments are required to strengthen and enhance the social and economic foundations of communities so that they are attractive places to live and invest.
In order to achieve this, ECBC encourages community initiatives that support the attraction of leveraged investment, the creation of sustainable wealth, the development of a competitive advantage and the enhancement of quality of life. For this reason, the CED unit focused its critical business objectives on community infrastructure and community capacity building in 2011-2012.
During 2011-2012, ECBC commissioned two case studies on projects that were funded through its CED unit. One study, the Cape Breton Partnership, focused on community capacity building. This study is profiled later in this section. The other case study focused on community infrastructure. These independently prepared case studies assist in understanding how ECBC’s funding is impacting communities.
During 2011-2012, ECBC worked with communities, municipal and provincial governments, regional development associations and other economic development stakeholders to identify and prioritize the needs of various communities around the island. In total, ECBC partnered with 134 organizations on 151 projects. These partnerships helped to leverage over $7.1 million, achieving 90% of the target for leveraged investment.
The following are some examples of projects assisted during the year.
The agriculture sector in Cape Breton has long been a strong contributor to Cape Breton’s economy. Producers offer a wide variety of products and ECBC sees opportunities to expand specialized production, which in turn could encourage value-added processing.
The Inverness County Federation of Agriculture represents the interests of the agriculture industry in the counties of Inverness and Victoria. A second organization, the Cape Breton Federation of Agriculture, represents the interests of the industry in Richmond and Cape Breton counties. In 2011-2012, ECBC supported projects with both organizations. The projects were designed to provide specialized equipment that is available for rent to farm operators. ECBC provided a total of $133,383 in assistance for projects totaling $177,844.
These projects will assist the sector in several ways. First, it will generate revenue for both federations, which will allow them to sustain and grow their services. Second, it provides existing producers with the opportunity to share equipment that is not needed on a regular basis, thus improving viability for small to medium-sized operations. This equipment will also promote the development of new entrants in the sector by providing necessary equipment at a reasonable cost. ECBC continues to work with the sector to explore and develop new opportunities.
Coastal Business Opportunities
Community Business Development Corporations are non-profit organizations that serve rural areas in order to help develop local economies through small business development. Community Business Development Corporations offer loans to SMEs as well as business counselling and advice. Coastal Business Opportunities (Coastal) is a Cape Breton-based Community Business Development Corporation that conducts special projects above and beyond its typical mandate. Two noteworthy projects that received ECBC funding are the Youth Internship Program (YIP) and the Management Training Support for Women Program (MTSW).
In 2011-2012, Coastal acted as a project coordinator working with host organizations to provide relevant employment opportunities for recently graduated unemployed/underemployed youth between the ages of 18 and 35. All together, six youth found employment for an eight-month period, working in CED organizations. Each host organization is responsible for providing meaningful work for the youth intern, as well as appropriate mentoring and supervision. A number of youth interns were retained by the organizations they worked for, while others have gone on to find other employment with stronger skills. ECBC contributed $225,000 to this program in 2011-2012.
Coastal has administered the MTSW program since 2008. The MTSW is designed to support women entrepreneurs needing business management training and skills development or new technologies to strengthen their businesses. Through the MTSW, women entrepreneurs receive the training they need to fill gaps in their business management skills, as well as training relative to any new technologies purchased so that they can more successfully maintain and/or grow their businesses. From 2008 to 2012, 52 contracts were issued through MTSW, benefiting 49 women entrepreneurs. ECBC’s contribution amounted to $110,500.
Gaelic College Foundation
Students attending classes this summer at the Gaelic College will see a significant improvement to the college site. With $117,667 in ECBC funding, the Gaelic College is undertaking a number of capital improvements to meet the current and future needs of its students and visitors. These include renovations to residences, construction of new classrooms, improvements to an indoor stage and upgrades to the outdoor performance centre.
The Gaelic College has a significant impact on tourism in Cape Breton. With a mission to preserve and promote the Gaelic language, heritage and culture of Nova Scotia’s Gaels, it attracted approximately 10,700 students and visitors in 2011. The total cost of these enhancements at the Gaelic College was $309,987.
Community centres are the one fundamental piece of infrastructure that unites a community, and they play a vital role in the life of local communities on Cape Breton Island. In 2011-2012, ECBC provided funding to 24 community centres across the island. ECBC’s funding is provided to not-for-profit groups on a cost-shared basis to make capital improvements to their centres. Combined total costs of the 24 projects were approximately $784,000, with ECBC committing over $269,000 in funding. The objective of this initiative is to help improve the economic development capacity of communities.
ECBC recognizes that its mandated region must compete with other areas in terms of attracting and maintaining economic development opportunities for its communities. There are many factors that play a role in the decision on where to invest and/or where to live. Typical areas of consideration include business economics, business climate, technology, the availability of skilled labor, and transportation. In addition, an individual must be comfortable with the availability of good local education and recreational amenities. Cape Breton is endowed with many amenities such as beaches, hiking trails, skiing, golfing, sailing, as well as a number of multi-purpose recreational facilities. In order to assist communities in maintaining and/or improving existing recreational facilities, ECBC established the Recreation Assistance Pilot Program in 2011-2012.
ECBC participated in 12 projects, with total assistance of $245,330, which leveraged an additional $373,169 from other partners to complete project financing. The projects included a variety of recreational facilities, including curling rinks, arenas, playgrounds, sports fields, skateboard parks, outdoor courts and swimming pools. The pilot project has greatly assisted many communities and has proven to be well designed to partner with other funding organizations such as provincial, municipal and Aboriginal governments. Continuation of this program will depend on the availability of funds.
Destination Cape Breton Association
The Destination Cape Breton Association (DCBA) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion and enhancement of tourism on Cape Breton Island. It is the destination marketing organization for the island.
As per the 2011-2012 ECBC Corporate Plan, the CED unit worked with the tourism industry to implement a strategy to stimulate a renewed and more vigorous approach to attracting visitors to Cape Breton. ECBC worked closely with DCBA on tourism development and committed to matching the funds raised through the marketing levy. Given the competitive marketplace, it is important that stakeholders work together to promote the key strengths and opportunities the island has to offer. A more targeted focus will create a greater return on investment, avoid duplication of effort and maximize effectiveness.
ECBC is an active participant on DCBA’s Board of Directors, its Industry Committee, Product Development Committee and Marketing Committee. The DCBA’s mandate is to promote the island’s iconic quality and market-ready travel motivators to grow Cape Breton tourism by increasing the island's visitation numbers, accommodation occupancy, as well as the length of stay of visitors. During 2011-2012, ECBC contributed a total of $560,000 to the marketing and administration efforts of the DCBA.
Establishing regional, national and international events in Cape Breton, as well as hosting “homegrown” events, has been a priority for ECBC for several years. The direct and indirect economic spinoff from such events has had a significant impact on local business and the economy in general.
The 15th annual Celtic Colours International Festival was held from October 7 to 15, 2011. Celtic Colours partnered with 130 non-profit organizations and venues to offer 45 performances as well as 298 community cultural experiences. Performances took place in 35 different communities, while community
cultural experiences were held in 45 communities. The Festival attracted over 12,000 people. In addition, the Celtic Colours in the Schools program was presented to 4,300 students in 22 schools throughout Cape Breton. More than 2,000 volunteers contributed almost 27,000 hours toward making the event a success.
A total of 18,300 tickets were sold to 11,600 patrons representing an increase of almost 400 tickets over 2010. An estimated 6,600 viewers from around the world watched nine concerts streamed live on the Internet. Off-island visitors accounted for 55% (6,400) of the audience, while 45% came from Cape Breton. The audience came from 50 U.S. states, all provinces and territories, and 19 other countries. The audience expenditure increased from $6.2 million in 2010 to $8.1 million in 2011.
In 2011, the Celtic Colours International Festival won the National Cultural Tourism Award from the Tourism Industry Association of Canada and was designated by the Canadian Tourism Commission as a Signature Experience. ECBC assisted Celtic Colours with funding of $300,000.
Ring 73 Amateur Boxing Society hosted the Canadian National (Senior) Elite Boxing Championships at Membertou Trade & Convention Centre on January 8 to 14, 2012. This prestigious championship drew in excess of 400 participants, coaches, managers and support personnel. Over 50 media personnel were on site to cover the event and two documentary film companies were on hand for a full week. In addition, many family members and boxing fans travelled to Cape Breton for the event. The final match received national television coverage on CBC and CTV. The Canadian Amateur Boxing Association reported that Cape Breton proved to be the best host in the history of the event. The Association has indicated that it is anxious to return to Cape Breton and has offered its support in any future events Ring 73 undertakes. ECBC contributed $110,913 to this event.
The Vince Ryan Memorial Hockey Tournament originated in Glace Bay in 1990. It was started by members of the former CBDC old timers’ league as a way to promote camaraderie, honour the memory of a well-known local hockey personality and give something back to the community. Over the past 23 years it has grown from humble beginnings to an event that attracts upwards of 140 teams and over 2,000 players. It is hosted over a four-day period in March and has expanded to include nine industrial Cape Breton venues. Many participants are from off-island, with 60 teams travelling from across North America, including from as far away as British Columbia and California. The Vince Ryan Memorial Hockey Tournament has become the largest adult hockey tournament in Canada. With an annual budget of approximately $900,000, the main source of revenue to host the event comes from team entrance fees. Other sources include social events, ticket sales, advertising, the sale of merchandise, and public and private sponsorship. In 2011-2012, ECBC entered into a new three-year contract to support this event in the amount of $83,000 per year.
Festivals and Events
ECBC launched the festivals and events initiative in fiscal 2002-2003 to assist non-profit organizations in Cape Breton to host small festivals or events. The assistance targets events with the potential to generate new visitation or to better serve visitors to the island, increase lengths of stay and spending, and improve the quality of the visitor experience. Over the past nine years, ECBC has commissioned two studies examining the economic benefit of this initiative. Both reported significant economic benefit, especially in rural areas.
In 2011-2012, ECBC contributed between $500 and $5,000 to 91 individual festivals and events. The total approved contribution by ECBC for the fiscal year amounted to $181,000. In examining the economic contribution of the festivals and events, it is estimated that over $1.2 million dollars was leveraged as a result of the program.
As part of the transfer of CBDC assets and liabilities, ECBC has assumed stewardship responsibility for all CBDC land holdings. A key component of this responsibility is the Environmental Remediation and Site Closure Program, which addresses the Corporation’s environmental obligations. Compliance with environmental laws and regulations is an important aspect of the program.
ECBC continued to engage Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) in a project-management role for the remediation of contaminated former mine sites. ECBC has also maintained the in-house technical knowledge of the former CBDC staff. This has provided for continuity in the management of its environmental obligations.
The PWGSC continues to focus on six key areas of responsibility:
mapping and document scanning support
planning and design
remediation and reclamation
long-term care and maintenance of remediated sites
development of a closure reporting and records reconciliation process
During the 2011-2012 fiscal year, there were seven contaminated sites remediated to substantial completion. The remediation program continues to be on budget and on schedule, with more than 80% of the annual approved funding going to local contractors, consultants and other service providers. This continues to build remediation knowledge capacity in the local area. A number of community interests (e.g. walking trails, all-terrain vehicle trails, ponds and vegetation) have been incorporated into the design and construction of remediation efforts, thus enhancing community infrastructure and future economic development opportunities.
The PWGSC completed all scheduled activities plus additional work beyond the planned scope for 2011‑2012, at a cost of $14.9 million against a budget of $17.5 million. The 2012-2013 fiscal year is projected to involve close-out reporting and development of the site management plans for the remediated sites that require post-remediation monitoring and maintenance, at a cost of $3.5 million.
Mine-water management obligations experienced no upsets and continue to be managed in an efficient and effective manner. There were no uncontrolled discharges of contaminated mine-water from former CBDC sites. Research efforts at CBU on the management of mine-water continue to provide ECBC with the necessary information to make informed decisions about the operation and maintenance of mine-water treatment facilities.
In 2009, a local consultant partnered with a U.K-based consultant and was successful in winning a bid to design and construct a state-of-the-art mine-water treatment facility to collect and treat mine water from nine mines beneath the communities of New Waterford and Sydney Mines. The design combines mine water from the two communities, one on each side of Sydney Harbour, requiring the construction of just one water-treatment plant rather than two. The significant in-house knowledge of the ECBC technical staff was instrumental in devising this solution. The construction of the New Victoria Mine-Water Treatment Plant began in the spring of 2011 and the current scheduled completion date is July 2012, with commissioning beginning in August 2012. This $12.5 million facility will have the capacity to treat up to 1,000 gallons per minute.
ECBC continues to work closely with the CBU to support the development of the Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment. This centre will provide ECBC with timely research to assist in ensuring that the efforts to remediate the contaminated sites are successful. ECBC is part of an executive search committee to hire a new Mine-Water Research Chair as well as a Remediation Research Chair. In addition, it is expected that with the support of ECBC, a research chair in renewable energy will be chosen in 2012-2013.
Since the signing of the MOU between ECBC and the CBU for a biofuels project, three test plots of 10 species of hybrid willows have been planted. The research team includes the CBU, the local Atlantic Coastal Action Program, the Montreal Botanical Garden and McGill University. Over the next two years, Cape Breton will require up to one million tonnes of biomass feedstock to support planned electrical generation, syngas and activated-carbon production. ECBC is supporting research on growing short-rotation crops and on plantation development of abandoned farmlands and marginal remediated mine lands. After two years of growth, there have been positive signs for the production of biomass crops in industrial Cape Breton. The goal is to create growers’ co-operatives for short-rotation crops, producing a product that will meet greenhouse gas targets.
The integration of CBDC into ECBC resulted in a strengthening of the delivery of the remediation and mine-water management programs. The former CBDC technical staff is working closely with ECBC land divestiture personnel, as well as those working on commercial and community economic development files. Opportunities for transforming former contaminated sites into economic development opportunities for the local economy are being assessed and pursued in an integrated manner. In addition, this group continues to work with key community stakeholders to expand on legacies linked to the former CBDC activities. One of the most significant activities is assessing the renewable energy and clean-coal technology potential of former CBDC assets and unmined coal reserves in the Sydney Coalfield.
The Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation Act provides the Corporation specific powers related to real property. The Corporation has the ability to purchase, lease, sell land and hold mortgages. These activities serve to support the Corporation’s mandate. Property can be used as a development tool to complement funding programs. In addition, proceeds of sales can be reinvested in other development activities.
Currently, ECBC holds approximately 700 individual pieces of property totalling over 12,492 acres. This represents the real property holdings of the former CBDC as well as those of ECBC.
The former CBDC lands consist of a wide variety of properties, with the majority located within the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. The property types vary from industrial sites to greenfield sites and forested lands. There are numerous pieces suitable for commercial or residential use.
ECBC continues to work with communities to ensure mine-site remediation projects are mindful of local needs and, where possible, that sites are developed in a way that enhances community infrastructure. A few examples in the past year were the new community park in Reserve Mines on the site known as Dominion No. 5/10. These mines operated between 1872 and 1942 and were the primary reason for the establishment of the community of Reserve Mines and surrounding areas. The park features a walking track, pond area, outdoor skating rink, and a green space for community events.
ECBC also remediated the Dominion No. 14 site on Plummer Avenue in New Waterford. This property for many years also served as a community horse track. ECBC engaged the community and will be assigning this property to a local not-for-profit group so they can continue the long history of horse racing in the area. This park will also serve as a community green space. By transforming these remediated mine sites into parks, ECBC is enhancing community infrastructure and creating a permanent legacy to Cape Breton’s rich coal mining heritage.
Real property sales in 2011-2012 generated approximately $791,000 in net proceeds. This funding was transferred to ECBC programming for further economic development initiatives. These transactions were related to the sale of existing clean lands for residential use, as well as lots in the newly established Blackett Street subdivision in Glace Bay. ECBC also generated approximately $594,000 in revenue from property rentals and related activities.
Management and development of real property holdings continued throughout the year. This involved a number of activities including the development of three subdivisions, two in the Glace Bay area on former CBDC lands and one in the Ben Eoin area. One subdivision was completed during the 2011-2012 fiscal year, with the second due for completion in July 2012. These subdivisions provided 33 residential building lots which were much needed in the Glace Bay community. The third subdivision is located along the Lakes Golf Course in Ben Eoin and will provide 12 lots in 2012-2013, with the potential for 50 additional lots. ECBC worked with various stakeholders, including the private sector to ensure success of the subdivisions.
There is interest from various private sector entities regarding the potential of utilizing ECBC lands for the purposes of wind energy development. The Corporation is working with private sector wind energy companies and has entered into leases/options to lease that will see wind energy projects move forward.
The Corporation also acquired strategic property along Sydney Harbour which will support the revitalization of the Sydney Waterfront. ECBC will look to develop this area in partnership with the private sector. ECBC also acquired lands throughout the year that are needed for projects such as mine-water treatment plants which are part of the former CBDC obligations.
ECBC continues to develop its electronic property-management system. The system is a web-based application that allows for quick retrieval of pertinent information. Currently, ECBC land holdings are accessible to the public through a link to the Directory of Federal Real Properties on the ECBC website. This link enables an interested party to view a simple map of a selected area along with related property information. Additional work is being done to ensure all pertinent data is catalogued, including former CBDC reports and details on mine workings.
The Property unit provides support services to the Corporation by researching property holdings, preparing necessary documents such as easements and reviewing historical documentation related to real property holdings such as deeds, easements, surveys, plans and relevant legislation. On a regular basis, the Property unit works with individuals in the community who require real property, owned by the Corporation, in order to deal with various land access issues.
The Property unit conducted regular preventive maintenance activities and completed upgrades to its facilities. Further revitalization of the Wentworth Court building was carried out this year, including the replacement of main floor windows and the front retaining wall, and upgrades to the building’s mechanical systems.
With respect to environmental assessments, detailed monitoring of all projects continues to be a priority for ECBC. All environmental assessments are monitored to ensure that the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act regulations and procedures are followed. During 2011-2012, 16 environmental assessments were completed.
Policy and Advocacy
Fundamental to ECBC's mandate is the Corporation’s policy and advocacy role, which assists in identifying the opportunities and challenges facing the island, as well as informing and supporting decision making both within and outside the Corporation. In this role, ECBC is able to expand its impact beyond the project-funding domain. By bringing leadership to issues in community development, ECBC has been able to advance specific economic sectors.
In 2011-2012, ECBC developed policy advice, carried out research, provided economic analysis and engaged stakeholders on a number of issues.
ECBC management and staff continue their efforts in advocacy. With current government policies focused on fiscal restraint, it is now more important than ever to demonstrate our ability to do more with fewer resources. ECBC’s appropriation over the last 20 years has remained relatively unchanged. Therefore, our ability to make loans, non-repayable contributions, grants and equity has diminished by virtue of the fact that all other costs have risen. This, however, has not reduced our ability to meet expected outcomes. Staff has been empowered to provide leadership on economic development files that has proven to be successful. These leadership efforts have enhanced our finance programs, which are ultimately aimed at helping to grow the Cape Breton economy.
Some recent examples of impacts for advocacy include the following sectors:
The newly constructed Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment has recently opened its doors and is a focal point for research in energy and the environment. ECBC staff has provided guidance and advice on the go-forward strategy for this research via its representation on:
• the advisory committee;
• the technical committee;
• the search committee to hire research chairs.
By serving on these committees ECBC has influenced the agenda to ensure a focus on research and commercialization consistent with our economic mandate.
ECBC continues to work closely with the DCBA, serving on its Board of Directors and various committees. Through continued joint lobbying efforts, the last municipal unit (Inverness County) has now agreed to implement the Cape Breton Marketing Levy. This will provide further funds to DCBA for its island-wide marketing efforts.
ECBC has worked with the DCBA on the major events file. An integrated and focused strategy is in the development phase in consultation with Events Nova Scotia. ECBC staff works directly with DCBA to ensure that evaluation for events includes a rigorous review of operational capacity and also a calculation of the estimated economic benefits. This ensures that the projects have a high probability for success and that government support will be commensurate with the economic benefits.
During the past fiscal year, the dredging of Sydney Harbour was completed. The federal government, through ECBC, committed $19 million to this project. As articulated in the Sydney Ports Master Plan, the dredge project was the enabling event to unlock the tremendous development potential of Sydney Harbour.
In total, the $37 million project was funded by all three levels of government, including $1 million from Nova Scotia Power. To ensure that the funders had appropriate feedback and oversight of the project, ECBC assembled representatives from all levels of government and also agreed to chair what is referred to as the oversight committee. This committee proved to be very effective in its ability to react quickly to issues that arose during all phases of the project.
The mandate and processes for the committee were established and agreed to by the members. One aspect of the oversight included a requirement that all potential cost overruns of $50,000 or more be brought to the committee for approval. Throughout the dredge project, which lasted approximately eight months, the oversight committee was consulted at every step and provided support and advice to the project manager and the project engineer. In the end, the project was slightly under budget, with all specifications successfully met. The committee remains in place to provide support to the Sydney Ports Corporation and to ensure that monitoring of the confined disposal facility is carried out as outlined in the dredge specifications.
Since the completion of the dredge, interest from various private-sector commercial developers has surfaced. ECBC has worked with three separate companies to provide information about the sites and to take steps necessary to advance these projects. To date, one company has announced its intention to invest $75 million for a dockside break-bulk facility. All three companies have been attracted to the region because of the newly dredged harbour. This is compelling support for the project funders’ original rationale for the dredge investment.
During 2011-2012, ECBC’s policy and research work focused on sector research and program evaluation. ECBC worked with the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design to undertake an extensive survey of the craft sector. Gathering detailed data is essential to measure the performance of the sector and the impact of the initiatives related to business skills development and international marketing that ECBC continues to fund. A final report is due in June 2012.
ECBC also worked with the Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia on a study regarding the needs of the Cape Breton oyster industry in light of the presence of the Multinucleate Sphere X parasite and to develop a go-forward plan for a sustainable aquaculture industry on Cape Breton. The final report is due in August 2012.
In 2011-2012, the Corporation completed five case studies in the areas of commercial development, community economic development, property development and environmental remediation. The case study approach is a performance measurement tool that assesses the longer-term impact of projects and initiatives. Some of these case studies are highlighted throughout this report.
During the year management met to talk about the future direction of ECBC. Managers were and continue to be empowered to be proactive in their approach and to think of non-traditional ways to grow the economy.
The Board of Directors is regularly consulted in the area of strategic planning. Its feedback is incorporated into the corporate plan which it ultimately approves. The 2011-2012 corporate plan was approved by the Treasury Board in May 2011.
Regional Service Delivery
In addition to its own programs, ECBC acts as a delivery agent for ACOA on Cape Breton Island. Established in 1987, ACOA is the federal agency responsible for economic development efforts in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
In 1995, ECBC and ACOA entered into an MOU under which ECBC delivers ACOA's programming on Cape Breton Island and in the Mulgrave area. The MOU was renegotiated on three occasions, each time for an additional five-year term. The current MOU remains in effect until March 31, 2014.
The results of the last ACOA Client Satisfaction Survey were released in 2011. ACOA conducts periodic satisfaction surveys to help gather client perspectives on Agency services that can then be used to help guide the development and delivery of future offerings. The survey looked to gather client feedback related to satisfaction in three key areas:
• the accessibility of Agency services;
• service delivery features and processes; and
• service-related communication.
In Cape Breton, 93.5% of clients indicated that they were either satisfied or very satisfied with the level of service delivery (this compares to 77.8% in 2006). A total of 97.8% of clients in Cape Breton indicated that they were pleased with the way the ECBC representative managed their application (compared to 83.3% in 2006).
During 2011-2012, ECBC approved funding on behalf of ACOA of approximately $10 million for 103 projects, leveraging over $23 million. This includes 41 Consultant Advisory Services projects delivered as administrative funding.
ECBC delivers the following programs and initiatives on behalf of ACOA.
The Business Development Program is designed to help SMEs to establish, expand and modernize businesses. It offers access to capital in the form of interest-free, unsecured loans and provides non-repayable support to non-profit organizations.
The Innovative Communities Fund invests in strategic projects that build the economies of Atlantic Canada's communities.
The Atlantic Innovation Fund encourages partnerships among private-sector firms, universities, colleges and other research institutions to develop new or improved products and services.
The Young Entrepreneur Development Initiative offers financial support to not-for-profit business organizations, colleges and universities, and municipalities for business skills training and financial support to Atlantic Canadian entrepreneurs under 35 years of age.
The Women in Business Initiative provides financial support to not-for-profit business organizations, which then help women entrepreneurs find the resources they need to grow their businesses and compete.
The Canada-Atlantic Provinces Agreement on International Business Development helps established exporters expand their activities into new and more diversified markets. It also helps new exporters get started.
The Community-Based Business Development program supports autonomous, not-for-profit Community Business Development Corporations to help entrepreneurs in rural areas obtain access to the information, advice and capital required to succeed.
The Consultant Advisory Services provides clients with access to consulting expertise in pursuing business opportunities or solving problems.
ACOA’s program activity architecture is aligned with the strategic outcome of a competitive Atlantic Canadian economy. Program activities include Enterprise Development, Community Development, Policy, Advocacy and Coordination, and Internal Services.
ECBC delivers the above-noted ACOA programs in support of ACOA’s Enterprise and Community Development program activities. In 2011-2012, ACOA program commitments were as follows:
Human Resource Obligations
Human-resource obligations are a large component of the former CBDC’s long-term liability. These obligations relate to post-employment benefits and various human-resource strategies, many of which will continue for at least the next 20 years. They include an early-retirement incentive program, liability for employee future benefits and workers’ compensation obligations.
Early Retirement Incentive Program and Severance Benefits
The Early Retirement Incentive Program (ERIP) was negotiated through the collective-bargaining process during downsizing and mine closures. As of March 31, 2012, there are approximately 570 former CBDC employees participating in various early-retirement plans. The cost of this program will decrease annually over the next 10 years as recipients reach age 65. Costs include medical benefits and pre-65 life insurance for the ERIP recipients and 258 severed employees.
● 2011-2012 ERIP and severance costs: $18.4 million
Employee Future Benefits
Employee Future Benefits requiring administration and funding include:
Group Medical Coverage
In addition to medical benefits described above, medical benefits are provided to approximately
70 compassionate disability recipients until age 65.
Pre- and Post-65 Life Insurance
In addition to the pre-65 life insurance maintained by ERIP recipients and severed employees, pre-65 life insurance is also provided to compassionate disability recipients.
A post-65 life insurance program is provided for former employees/retirees. As of March 31, 2012, this plan provides life insurance benefits for approximately 975 eligible retirees.
An additional benefit under the Employee Future Benefits is the one-time payment of a retirement allowance, which is currently $1,493 and is indexed annually. As of March 31, 2012, approximately 625 early-retirement and compassionate disability recipients could be eligible for this payment at age 65.
● 2011-2012 EFB costs: $1.1 million
ECBC continues to oversee, monitor and fund the financial obligation to the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia, which administers workers’ compensation benefits for former CBDC employees. There are approximately 2,000 claimants.
● 2011-2012 costs: $18.3 million
The primary function of Internal Services is to ensure that resources are used effectively and efficiently and that administrative systems and services are in place to enhance management decision making, communications, managerial accountability and operational control.
Internal Services includes an array of administrative activities that support ECBC programs and management, including finance and administration, human resources, communications, access to information and privacy, internal audit and information technology.
ECBC employs 55 people, with 54 of these individuals based at its head office in Sydney and one in Ottawa.
Human Resources works closely with the Human Resources Committee as it fulfills its oversight responsibilities with respect to the application of human-resource policies and practices.
Human Resources is responsible for labour-relations functions, including:
In fiscal year 2011-2012, a wage reopener agreement was negotiated under the terms of the collective agreement for the unionized employees and the initial meeting of the Joint Union-Management Committee occurred. Regular meetings of the Occupational Health and Safety Committee were held and a number of issues were addressed.
During the year, training was offered in a number of areas, including consultation with Aboriginal groups, environmental issues, professional development for the Corporation’s chartered accountants, training for corporate directors and emergency first aid. In addition to the first-aid training, an automated external defibrillator was purchased for the safety of employees and visitors to the Corporation’s head office.
Human Resources continued to effectively deliver the Corporation’s pay and benefits programs, including the post-employment benefits for former CBDC employees.
Accountability and Transparency
The Corporation is committed to accountability and transparency in its operations. Its website contains a detailed listing of all approved projects.
ECBC became subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act in 2005. In 2011-2012, the Corporation received two access-to-information requests and eight requests under the Privacy Act. The Corporation also received two consultations with regard to the release of information by other government entities. As of March 31, 2012, all outstanding requests had been completed.
The main objective of the Communications unit is to demonstrate how the Government of Canada, through ECBC, is investing in the economic development of Cape Breton Island and to highlight the breadth of the Corporation’s business activities and its significant impact on the Cape Breton economy.
In 2011-2012, ECBC issued 18 news releases on various initiatives and participated in a number of community events. Corporate representatives also made several presentations and speeches on and off the island. The Corporation’s annual public meeting was held in October 2011 in Inverness County and was well attended.
The Corporation continued to implement the integrated marketing strategy completed in 2010-2011. Of particular note was the redevelopment of the Corporation’s website. This exercise involved a redesign of the site to make it more inclusive of the Corporation’s four business lines and the addition of new features, making the site more informative and user-friendly.
Finance and Administration
Traditionally, the Corporation had prepared its financial statements in accordance with Canadian generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Effective April 1, 2011, however, “bluebook GAAP,” as it was known, ceased to exist. Government organizations were classified as either other government organizations (OGOs) or government not-for-profit organizations.
The Audit Committee approved ECBC’s classification as an OGO. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat concurred with this classification and the Corporation transitioned to the accounting standards established by the Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB), effective April 1, 2011.
During 2011-2012, the Finance and Administration unit prepared financial statements for the attest audit by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) in accordance with the Public Sector Accounting Board standards. The conversion to PSAB standards was performed with the assistance of a consultant to ensure the standards were applied appropriately to the comparative figures as well as the April 1st , 2010 balances.
In addition, the unit also prepared quarterly financial reports for the first time in 2011-2012. This is a new legislated requirement contained in the Financial Administration Act (FAA), intended to increase transparency around government spending by requiring departments, agencies and Crown corporations to prepare and make public quarterly financial reports beginning in fiscal year 2011-2012. The financial statements in quarterly financial reports of Crown corporations are prepared using an accrual basis of accounting. They also contain a narrative section which provides a concise discussion on the significant changes affecting both the quarter and year-to-date financial results, and changes in relation to operations, personnel and programs. ECBC’s quarterly financial reports are posted on its website, in both official languages within 60 days of the quarter end.
The main objectives of the Internal Audit unit are to assist senior management in achieving and maintaining efficiency and effectiveness in operations with due regard to economy; to report the degree of compliance with established policies, plans and procedures, applicable laws and regulations; and to review control over assets and expenditures. The unit also works closely with the Corporation’s Audit Committee.
The Audit Committee assists the ECBC Board of Directors in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities with respect to financial reporting, risk management, its system of internal controls; and the audit, accounting and financial reporting processes of ECBC in general. The Internal Audit unit regularly updates the Audit Committee on the activities of the unit, and in turn, the Committee provides updates to the ECBC Board of Directors.
The Corporation’s approved Risk Management Framework was used to develop the annual audit plan. The risk-based unit plan focused on the Corporation’s key risk areas and outlined the major internal audit work planned for the year. During the year, the unit provided support to the OAG on its annual audit of the Corporation. As well, the unit worked with ECBC management to update the risk-management framework including the environmental framework. The updated framework is discussed separately in this report under risk management.
In Our Community
ECBC is committed to the principles of the Official Languages Act. It has been recognized that economic development is the main concern for francophone communities, as this is integral to their survival. With assistance from ECBC, these communities can continue to build on their strengths.
ECBC has a close working relationship with the island’s Francophone communities. The Corporation also has an official languages champion. The percentage of bilingual staff at ECBC is approximately 5.5%, allowing the Corporation to provide service to the public in both official languages.
Youth and Education
ECBC provides support to students currently enrolled in post-secondary institutions by offering summer employment opportunities. In 2011-2012, eight students with a variety of educational backgrounds were hired for the summer.
ECBC works toward the betterment of the community, not only as an organization, but as individuals. Through charitable donations, volunteer work, and support for various community projects and proposals, ECBC’s employees are active supporters of the community they serve and are strong advocates of “giving back.”
Employee support has been given to a variety of organizations and charities in Cape Breton and the Mulgrave area. In the 2011-2012, fiscal year, ECBC provided $29,683 in sponsorship funds to a variety of community-centred fundraising activities. In addition, ECBC staff raised $7,559 for various charities and organizations around the community.
Through the sale of daffodils and pledges for Relay for Life, ECBC supported the Canadian Cancer Society. Donations were collected within the organization through fundraisers and were used to support people living with cancer and to fund cancer research.
Employees continue to show their commitment to their community by donating blood regularly as a “Member for Life” of the Canadian Blood Services.
Through continued support for the United Way, donations were also made to a number of local charities.
ECBC used proceeds from recycled bottles to help support the local Loaves and Fishes Community Kitchen.
Encouraging Employee Wellness
ECBC believes that its employees are its most valuable resource and that their health and well-being contribute to the Corporation’s success. The Corporation offers an employee assistance program that is a confidential information and counselling service for employees and their family members to help them deal with personal stress that is affecting their personal or work life. In 2011-2012, the Corporation also organized flu shot clinics and provided a corporate fitness initiative to provide assistance to employees purchasing memberships at sports and fitness facilities.
Part X of the FAA outlines the control and accountability framework for federal Crown corporations. This framework, along with ECBC’s enabling legislation, forms the basic management structure for the Corporation.
ECBC reports to Parliament through the Minister of ACOA. Its affairs are administered by a Board of Directors, comprising the Chairperson, the Chief Executive Officer appointed by the Governor in Council, and five independent directors appointed for specific and staggered terms by the Governor in Council. As of March 31, 2012, the terms of three directors had expired. In accordance with subsection 105(4) of the FAA, however, these directors remain in office until a successor is appointed.
The ECBC Board of Directors is sensitive to the mandate of the Corporation as expressed in its enabling legislation and to the fact that the Corporation is part of the federal government. It oversees the Corporation on behalf of the Crown and holds management accountable for its performance. The Board provides overall governance to the Corporation by providing direction and guidance to senior management, ensuring effective budgeting and financial management as well as the management of corporate risks. The Board approves ECBC’s five-year corporate plan and the annual report and financial statements that are tabled in Parliament. It also reviews the Corporation’s operations, receives committee reports and discusses its overall performance against objectives.
ECBC’s Board functions independently of management. All Board members other than the CEO are independent of ECBC management. While the CEO is a full voting member of the Board, provisions are made for independent directors to meet in camera, as required. The Board promotes a culture of ethical business conduct and abides by guidelines that include procedures for the declaration of conflicts of interest. Board members are also afforded an opportunity to avail themselves of training related to their duties and responsibilities.
The Corporation abides by Government of Canada best practices in the area of corporate governance and has carefully formulated a charter and a skills profile that identifies core attributes, competencies and experience for prospective Board members. Annual public meetings are held to provide the public with an opportunity to learn more about the work of the Corporation.
The ECBC Board met seven times in 2011-2012. Priorities for the year included corporate governance, strategic planning, investment approvals and risk management.
DARR (Cape Breton) Limited
DARR is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ECBC, incorporated under the laws of Nova Scotia. It functions as a real estate holding and development company that acquires, manages and holds real property in the Corporation’s mandated area to support ECBC’s economic development mandate. The ECBC Board of Directors appoints the members of the DARR Board of Directors. The DARR Board met twice in 2011-2012.
In 2011-2012, after a review of ECBC’s overall corporate governance framework by the Board’s Governance Committee, it was determined that it was no longer necessary to maintain a subsidiary real estate holding and development company. As a result, the Governance Committee recommended the deactivation of DARR as a wholly-owned subsidiary of ECBC, concurrent with the acceptance of proposed terms of reference for a new Environment and Property Management Sub-Committee of the ECBC Board of Directors. The recommendation was subsequently adopted by the ECBC Board and DARR was deactivated as of March 31, 2012. All assets, obligations and liabilities of DARR have been transferred to ECBC.
The Board has standing committees to engage and support its efforts in three primary areas of responsibility: audit, human resources and governance. An Environment Committee operated under the auspices of the DARR Board of Directors. While reporting to the DARR Board, the committee’s mandate encompassed all the environmental responsibilities of ECBC and it maintained a functional reporting relationship with the Audit Committee in the area of risk management.
The Audit Committee assists the Board of Directors in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities with respect to financial reports and other financial information provided by the Corporation, its system of internal controls, and the Corporation’s audit, accounting and financial reporting processes generally. The Committee provides a forum for ongoing communication among management, the Internal Audit unit, and the Board of Directors concerning the Corporation’s financial position and affairs.
The committee takes an active role in reviewing and recommending loan impairments and write-offs as well as the Corporation’s risk-management framework. The committee also oversees the annual financial statement audit, the OAG special examination and the internal audit function. In 2011-2012, the Committee also oversaw the conversion to the Public Sector Accounting Standards and reviewed the quarterly financial reports, which are a new requirement of the Government of Canada. Comprised of three independent members of the ECBC Board, one of whom acts as chair, the committee met five times in 2011-2012. Meetings are also attended by the internal auditor as well as the chief financial officer, and on occasion, representatives from the OAG. As required, the committee meets in camera.
The Human Resources Committee assists the Board of Directors in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities with respect to the development and application of significant corporate human-resource policies that support ECBC’s mission and mandate. It oversees policies and procedures to maintain an organizational climate that fosters ethical behaviour, employee commitment and satisfaction. It also makes recommendations on compensation-related issues and reviews and reports on the performance of the CEO. Comprised of two independent members of the ECBC Board as well as the CEO, the committee met on three occasions in 2011-2012.
The Governance Committee was created in 2010 and oversees the design of the ECBC corporate governance model, evaluates the performance of the full ECBC Board and its committees, and monitors the corporate governance model to ensure it is functioning effectively and meeting the needs of the organization. In 2011-2012, the Committee undertook a review of the overall corporate governance framework of the Corporation with a view to updating governance materials and practices. Individual committees were asked to review their terms of reference and management was asked to review Board governance materials and the operations of DARR. Various amendments were recommended and subsequently adopted by the Board of Directors. The committee, comprised of four members of the Board of Directors, met twice in 2011-2012.
The Environment Committee was created as a committee of DARR in recognition of the Corporation’s increased environmental stewardship responsibilities as a result of the CBDC integration. The committee is composed of two Board members and two independent directors who provide specific legal and engineering expertise. The committee prepared and recommended for Board approval a framework of responsibilities and reporting lines between the Board, the committee and staff. Within the context of this framework, it oversaw the development and implementation of the Environmental Management Plan. In 2011-2012, the committee met on four occasions. Among other items, deliberations focused on the approval of the Environmental Management Plan and the Master Health and Safety Plan for the Corporation. The committee also reviewed and approved the environmental risk-management framework.
With the deactivation of DARR on March 31, 2012, the responsibilities of the Environment Committee will be incorporated into the terms of reference of the new Environment and Property Management Committee.
Risk management remains a priority of the ECBC Board of Directors and is a regular agenda item for both the ECBC Audit Committee and the DARR Environment Committee. The ECBC risk-management framework was initially approved by the Board in 2006. Each risk was reviewed to determine how to mitigate against it, and a mitigation plan was developed. Mitigation strategies include actions that could monitor, accept, transfer or further reduce the risk. ECBC recognizes the management of risk as fundamental to achieving its overall economic development strategy. Therefore, risk management is a key area of focus for ECBC as a whole. For this reason, the framework is reviewed and updated annually.
During 2011-2012, ECBC’s Leadership Committee invested significant time and effort in updating the ECBC risk-management framework. The update of the framework included a review and update of the Corporation’s risks, corresponding mitigating measures and assessment of the risks as part of the Corporation’s strategic planning process. Also, in response to a recommendation in the 2009 special examination report by the OAG, ECBC’s Leadership Committee continues to ensure on an annual basis that the mitigation strategies identified in the framework are linked to the applicable unit operational plan for each area of responsibility. During this process, each unit operational plan is reviewed with the risk-management framework to ensure all the strategies are relevant and incorporated in each plan as part of an activity.
In addition, ECBC established a process to regularly conduct reviews and provide status updates on the mitigation strategies identified in the framework. A process was established where each risk identified in the framework has been assigned to a management team member to lead the coordination and development of the status updates for the mitigation strategies identified for each risk profile. Those charged with such oversight responsibility work in conjunction with those assigned specific responsibility for each of the applicable mitigation strategies to provide the updates required. Updates of the ECBC risk-management framework are provided annually with the initial status update report provided as of March 31, 2011.
The strategic environmental risk-management framework, prepared by the Environment Committee of DARR, is similar in format to ECBC’s risk-management framework. It outlines the key risks and mitigation strategies specific to ECBC’s environmental liabilities. The environmental framework was reviewed, updated and recommended for approval by the Environment Committee on November 7, 2011, and approved by the DARR Board on January 13, 2012. Once the updated framework was approved by the DARR Board, it became an appendix to the ECBC risk-management framework, which was presented at the November 23, 2011 ECBC Audit Committee meeting. It was approved, along with the environmental risk-management framework, by the ECBC Board on January 26, 2012.
Senior management reviews and reports on the environmental risk-management framework on a regular basis, and it was included as a standard agenda item at all Environment Committee meetings. Given the functional reporting relationship between the Environment Committee of DARR and the ECBC Audit Committee, whose mandate includes risk management for ECBC and its subsidiaries, the status updates reviewed by the Environment Committee were forwarded to the Audit Committee for information purposes.
In addition to the environmental risk-management framework, DARR’s Environment Committee outlined various applicable crisis scenarios related to the environmental hazards associated with the former CBDC properties and developed emergency preparedness protocols for the main areas of concern. The following documents address potential crises with regard to contaminated mine-water discharges, mine-working subsidence and failure of dams built for water impoundment:
1. The Environmental Emergency Response Plan – Managing Mine-Water Discharge
2. The Environmental Emergency Response Plan – Subsidence Stabilization
3. The Emergency Preparedness Plan – Victoria Junction Tailings Basin Dam
2012 Financial Statements (pdf, 3.65MB)