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Table of Contents

Message from the Chair
Message from the CEO
ECBC Board of Directors
DARR Board of Directors
ECBC Leadership Committee
Economic Environment
Performance Against Objectives
Commercial Development
Community Development
Environmental Stewardship
Property Development
Policy and Advocacy
Regional Service Delivery
Human Resource Obligations
Internal Services
In Our Community
Corporate Governance
Risk Management

Message from the Chair
Paul J. LeBlanc

Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation is dedicated to the economic development of Cape Breton Island and Mulgrave. The area’s economy continues to transition from its dependence on the resource sector to a more diversified economic base and over the years, ECBC has played a major role in numerous development initiatives. From Meat Cove to Petit de Grat, and from Glace Bay to Mulgrave, ECBC has provided support to a myriad of community and commercial projects both big and small.

The diversity of the Corporation’s four key business lines – commercial development, community development, environmental stewardship and property development – combined with its advocacy role, enables the Corporation to provide financial and human resource support to help build competitive businesses and stronger communities.

ECBC administers its own programs as well as the economic development programs of ACOA in Cape Breton - Mulgrave. It has also assumed responsibility for the environmental stewardship and human-resource obligations of the former CBDC and recently entered into an agreement with Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. to project-manage the remediation of a former industrial site in Glace Bay.

As this annual report will demonstrate, the Corporation is using the full extent of its legislative mandate in support of economic development at various levels. It works directly with business, other levels of government and community stakeholders to identify opportunities to attract investment, support local businesses and help communities improve their infrastructure making the area a more attractive place to live and invest. It also focuses efforts on the development of key sectors for the Cape Breton - Mulgrave economy such as tourism, energy, innovation and productivity, and the promotion of major events that contribute to the economy by attracting investment and visitors.

It is my privilege to work closely with the community-minded members of the ECBC Board of Directors who provide leadership and advice to ECBC management. In addition to its general oversight responsibilities, in 2012-2013 the Board of Directors focused its efforts on strategic planning, risk management, financial stewardship, project review and annual reporting.

I would also like to take this opportunity to recognize the dedication of the Corporation’s management and staff. They are Cape Bretoners who have a vested interest in the Corporation’s success as demonstrated by their commitment to the betterment of the Cape Breton and Mulgrave economy.

Message from the Acting CEO
Marlene Usher

In 2012-2013, the Corporation invested approximately $83 million in the Cape Breton economy. This resulted in an additional $34 million in leveraged investment from other sources for an overall financial impact of almost $118 million. ECBC funded 282 projects (176 commercial/106 community development) across Cape Breton and Mulgrave.

ECBC’s broad mandate means that it is also involved in many key initiatives.

The Corporation was instrumental in the development of the Strategic Framework for Economic Prosperity. Prepared in consultation with community and business stakeholders, it identifies opportunities to advance the Cape Breton-Mulgrave economy in the near and long-term.

We continue to work with partners to identify broad-based commercialization opportunities in both the ports of Sydney and the Strait of Canso. Property has been acquired along the Sydney waterfront and the Corporation is participating with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) to develop a vision for waterfront development.

ECBC is also undertaking a comprehensive study to assist local companies benefit from the National Shipbuilding Program, the Donkin Mine and the Muskrat Falls-Maritime Link. It examines the state of preparedness of local companies to capitalize on these opportunities and includes recommendations on how best to strengthen the island’s competitive position.

The development of a four-season resort in Ben Eoin is moving forward. This vision includes a marina, the Lakes Golf Course, Ski Ben Eoin, an adjacent residential subdivision and possible hotel. This complex has the potential to become a major attraction for the area. 

The Verschuren Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment, which received over $10 million in federal support, is advancing its research and development mandate in support of sustainable energy solutions and environmental remediation.

ECBC’s Major Events Strategy, which involved investments in a number of recreational facilities, continues to pay dividends. Cape Breton successfully hosted the Canadian Senior Boxing Championship and the Canada 55+ Games in 2012 and will welcome the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in December 2013. 

The environmental remediation of former mine sites is nearing completion and the $12.5 million mine-water treatment facility in New Victoria is now fully operational, treating water from former mines. The Corporation has also developed two residential subdivisions in Glace Bay on former mine lands.

With a mandate focusing on commercial development, community development, the control and management of mine-water, the environmental remediation of former mine sites, property development and advocacy, ECBC plays a major role in the day-to-day economic life of Cape Breton and Mulgrave.

ECBC Board of Directors

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.

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.

Board Committees

Human Resource Committee
Frank MacInnis
John K. Lynn
Sara Salter
Edmund MacEachern*

Audit Committee
Bob Munroe
Terry Miller
Eva Landry
Lori Marenick*
Sherri Beresford*

Governance Committee
Paul J. LeBlanc
John K. Lynn
Bob Munroe
Frank MacInnis 

Environment and Property Development Committee
Robin Gogan
Ken Anderson
Terry Miller
Eva Landry
Robert MacDonald*
Gerard Shaw*

*ECBC support staff

ECBC Leadership Committee

John K. Lynn
Chief Executive Officer

Marlene Usher
Executive Director General, Advocacy and Development

Robert MacDonald
Executive Director General, Site Operations/Remediation

Lori Marenick
Director General, Corporate Services

Joe Cashin
Director General, Commercial Development

Tom Plumridge
Director General, Community Economic Development

Gerard Shaw
Director General, Property Development and Management

Economic Environment

The economic environment sets the context for ECBC’s strategies and programs. This includes the state of the national and global economy, national monetary and fiscal policy, as well as demographic and labour market trends.

Global Trends

Continued Eurozone contraction – As the global economy continues to experience the after-effects of the financial crisis of 2008-2009, there has been increasing stability across most of the major economies, though growth remains lower than pre-crisis levels and extensive degrees of risk still exist. Consistent with reduced growth expectations, both globally and in major economies such as the Eurozone and China, forecasts on average have been downgraded as economic data continues to result in reduced expectations.

The major risk continues to be the debt-driven crisis in the Eurozone, with credit pressures spreading gradually to affect most of southern Europe, and increasing public resistance to austerity measures. The Eurozone remains in recession, with some analysts indicating that the worst effects of the crisis are still to come. Even the traditional economic engine of the region, Germany, has seen very limited growth due to suppressed demand in its critical export markets.

The primary engine of global growth for many years, China is currently experiencing a decline in its rate of growth. Chinese demand is still keeping global commodity prices above long-term trends; however, a slowdown in the domestic housing market, combined with reductions in export growth due to the reduction in global demand for Chinese exports, is keeping growth rates below recent trend levels.

The United States is in a stronger position than it was 12 months ago, with a projected 2% growth. There has been stronger than expected employment growth, but household debt levels remain high and there is growing concern over the impact that federal government borrowing and taxation negotiations will have on the economy. Domestic energy production is rising dramatically due to shale gas production, and sharply falling energy prices are providing a competitive boost to the U.S. manufacturing sector.

National Trends

Canada continues to be in a better situation than most of the world's major economies, having maintained higher levels of gross domestic product (GDP) growth over the past 12 months and having relatively smaller public deficits.

The Bank of Canada's benchmark bank rate has remained unchanged since September 2010, and inflationary pressures have been reduced due to lower than expected commodity prices and restrained stimulus spending. The Bank of Canada is still projecting the consumer price index to stabilize at 2% in 2013, and the national unemployment rate has remained stable at just above 7%, with employment gains since the 2008-2009 crisis considerably higher than that of Canada's G7 counterparts.

Regional Trends

Nova Scotia has been impacted by significant fluctuations in major exporting industries, namely pulp and paper and offshore gas. Employment growth in early 2012, while still only 1%, was roughly three times the rate of the previous three years. The province's fiscal position improved between 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, with a reduced provincial deficit due largely to spending reductions. Employment growth is slightly below the Canadian average, and output growth lags behind the national average of 2.1% for 2012.

Both of the major pulp and paper mills in the province were closed for much of 2012. The Port Hawkesbury mill re-opened in October 2012, with 220 jobs returned to the Cape Breton economy. Delays to the production launch of the Deep Panuke offshore gas project and ongoing declines in gas from the Sable project led to lower than projected output from this major source of export earnings. Much of the projected improvement in GDP and public revenues for 2013 and onward stem from Deep Panuke and the federal shipbuilding contract awarded to Irving Shipyards, as well as the return to operation of the Port Hawkesbury mill. Also of major significance is the planned offshore exploration work by Shell, forecast to amount to $970 million.

Cape Breton Trends

Census 2011 highlighted some of the most troubling trends facing Cape Breton, with a 4.4% population decline since 2006. This impacts various areas of Cape Breton differently but is a major component of the region's economic reality.

Recent work on the relative prosperity gap between Cape Breton and its peers, the province and the country as a whole showed disparity in employment rates, participation rates and productivity. Current data on all of these components show an enduring gap, and though unemployment in the region declined over most of 2012, it rose again during the final months of the year to return to nearly 16%.

Recently completed dredging work on Sydney Harbour has already resulted in private-sector investment to enhance port facilities. Provincial Energy Ventures announced the investment of $75 million in early 2012. Discussions continue regarding further private investment for other harbour facilities.

There has also been extensive private investment in a golf resort in Inverness, building on a 2010 increase in golf travel to the region. This has taken place at the same time as development of new golfing facilities at Ben Eoin and plans for ancillary development.

In terms of major projects, the proposed Donkin coal mine experienced setbacks in 2012, with the major partner, Australian mining giant Xstrata, looking to sell its 75% stake. There have also been regulatory delays in Newfoundland and Labrador in regards to the Muskrat Falls hydro project, affecting the project schedule, including work on the subsea transmission link to Nova Scotia.

While little progress has been made on some of the major projects expected to have a significant economic impact on Cape Breton, there have been positive developments, such as the re-opening of the Port Hawkesbury paper mill.

Performance Against Objectives

ECBC developed a Management, Resources and Results Structure (MRRS) that received Treasury Board approval in 2009. The Government of Canada’s MRRS policy has required federal government organizations to develop an MRRS consisting of three components:

 clearly defined and measurable strategic outcomes;

 a program alignment architecture (PAA) that is explained in sufficient detail to reflect how a department allocates and manages its resources to achieve its intended results; and

 a description of the governance for each program of the PAA.

The PAA is an inventory of all the programs undertaken by a department. The programs are depicted in their logical relationship to each other and to the strategic outcome(s) to which they contribute.

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 2012-2013 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.

Commercial Development

Cape Breton’s economy continues to be challenged by external economic factors that negatively impact sustained growth and productivity. Economies worldwide are challenged by stagnant growth and recessionary trends that have compounded existing challenges such as out-migration and an aging population. This makes 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.

Performance Analysis

To assist with the development of the Cape Breton economy, ECBC’s Commercial Development unit focused on three key areas during 2012-2013: 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 small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to remain competitive and productive in their respective sectors.

One measure of increased competitiveness and sustainability of SMEs is business survival rates. This 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 existing firms is 95%. In 2011 this rate was 91%. The five year survival rate for ECBC-assisted new start-ups is 71%. According to an Industry Canada report (Key Small Business Statistics, July 2012), survival rates for SMEs (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 11 companies in Cape Breton with $3.1 million in commercial development funding approved in 2012-2013.

Trade and Investment

In today’s global economy, Cape Breton companies have the opportunity to seek out numerous international marketplaces 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 2012-2013.

In October 2012, ECBC hosted a business round table in co-operation with Gerald Keddy, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade. The purpose of the round table was to share details of a potential comprehensive and economic trade agreement for the European Union (E.U.) with Cape Breton businesses and to learn about any concerns or interests Cape Breton businesses had regarding trade with the E.U.

In March 2013, ECBC, in co-operation with Nova Scotia Business Inc. and Innovacorp, led a trade mission to Boston, Massachusetts. The objective of the mission was to seek out investment and trade opportunities for Cape Breton Island companies. Sectors of focus for the mission included clean technology, information and communications technology and life sciences. The three companies that participated in the trade mission included Halifax BioMedical Ltd., Health Outcomes Worldwide Ltd. and Marcato Digital Solutions Ltd. While in the marketplace, the company and government representatives undertook business-to-business meetings and attended a number of activities related to the launch of the Canadian Technology Accelerator Program organized by representatives from the Canadian Consulate in Boston. The group also participated in a venture capital forum organized by Capital Innovation. Results from the trade mission were very positive, with approximately $1 million in sales anticipated over the next 12 months and a number of relationships being developed with companies and organizations within the Boston marketplace.

ECBC also provided financial assistance for Cape Breton Island companies and organizations to participate in other trade-related activities, including the International Boston Seafood Show, the Celtic Colours Incoming Presenters and Media Program, the Northern Exposure 2013 Labrador Opportunity Conference and Trade Show, and additional shows and conferences identified by companies. In total, ECBC provided financial assistance to four companies for the development and exploration of markets. Results of these activities for specific export sales will be measured in the coming years.

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 and innovation were sectors of focus over the past year.


In May 2012, ECBC hosted the annual face-to-face meeting of the Nova Scotia Clean Technology Committee and undertook site tours with clean technology representatives from across the province. The purpose of hosting the meeting and site tours was to provide the Nova Scotia Clean Technology Committee participants with an overview of current projects, the potential for projects and the expertise that Cape Breton has in the environmental and energy sectors, and to receive feedback from Cape Breton Island environmental and energy companies on how the committee members could assist them in their business growth.

ECBC worked with various organizations on renewable energy initiatives throughout 2012-2013. Through active involvement with the International Business Development Association’s Clean Technology Committee as well as the Province of Nova Scotia’s Clean Technology working group, ECBC remains at the forefront of this rapidly evolving sector.

ECBC’s prospecting activities uncovered that Bright Leaf Power of Montrose, Colorado, has developed a unique solar technology that produces both electricity and heat from a single panel configuration that can also tie into existing geothermal applications. The efficiency purported is almost five times that of traditional flat panel designs. Representatives of Cape Breton University (CBU), the Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment (CSEE) and ECBC were intrigued by the presentations made by company officials, who extended an invitation to view the demonstration units and facility in Montrose. Following ECBC’s visit, Bright Leaf executives travelled to Sydney to tour the CBU facilities with the objective of scoping out possible technology showcase installations. Bright Leaf, CBU and the CSEE are currently analyzing the business case. If the installation proceeds, there may be other potential business development opportunities with Bright Leaf.

In addition to the potential of this innovative solar technology, ECBC remains engaged with existing clients who have received funding to advance projects in the areas of wind energy development, geothermal applications, biomass, torrefaction and green carbon material. ECBC continues to work with Yava Technologies Inc., which has been increasing its green energy research and development capacity at the CSEE in the areas of advanced battery materials and mine tailings remediation.


During the year, ECBC worked with partners at Tourism Atlantic, Destination Cape Breton Association (DCBA) 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 (DCBA, 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.

In keeping with its economic development mandate, ECBC has taken an executive leadership role in establishing a vision for a four-season recreation complex in Ben Eoin. The long-term value proposition for the complex builds on The Lakes Golf Course’s reputation as a premiere golf destination, Ski Ben Eoin’s commitment to quality winter recreation and the development of a marina facility that capitalizes on

the Bras d’Or Lake’s natural beauty and appeal to boaters. All three entities are adjacent to each other and through an integrated governance and operational structure, they are working together to achieve operational efficiencies, enhance their product offerings and collectively market Ben Eoin as a recreational centre. From an economic development perspective, the creation of a four-season recreation complex will be a catalyst, attracting additional private sector commercial and residential investment which will create employment and related economic activity.

Given ECBC’s significant contribution to the construction of the marina ($4 million), ECBC will own the land on which the marina is situated in order to protect the public’s investment. It will be leased to and operated by Ben Eoin Marina Ltd., the not-for-profit community group that has been working to establish a marina in Ben Eoin for over 10 years.

A significant golf and accommodations development project continues to advance on the west side of Cape Breton Island, led by the Keiser Group. Known as Cabot Links, it includes an 18-hole natural links-style course, a clubhouse and a 48-unit hotel. The Keiser Group is proceeding with the development of a second neighbouring course to be called Cabot Cliffs, with further accommodations also being planned. ECBC will continue to work with the Keiser Group and other community stakeholders as this exciting tourism project advances.

Innovation and Productivity

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.

In 2012-2013, ECBC assisted East Coast Metal Fabricators in modernizing its fabrication facility located in the Sydport Industrial Park. A detailed efficiency assessment of the operation was completed, which identified a number of significant impediments to growth. Workflow, from delivery of raw materials to shipping of finished products, had to be completely reconfigured to meet the requirements of a state-of-the-art fabrication operation. Equipment needed to be updated as did the building layout. With these changes, East Coast now boasts one of the most up-to-date facilities in Atlantic Canada and is able to compete for regional, national and international contracts. The ownership group cites the recent dredging of the Sydney Harbour as key to its reaching the decision to commit to further investment in the operation. Anticipated opportunities that will arise as a result of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy were also central to the decision.

Performance Against Targets

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 demonstrate how ECBC’s collective activities impact its corporate mission, mandate and objectives.

In 2012-2013, the Corporation approved assistance for direct and indirect support to business totalling $5.6 million, which in turn leveraged $7.6 million in other investments.

Although the Corporation exceeded its commercial development target for indirect support to business to leverage one dollar for every dollar invested, the leverage ratio for direct support to business was less than expected. This was due to the fact that ECBC assisted some working capital projects that leveraged less money. Although higher risk, these projects were determined to be strategic in nature. For example, ECBC assisted one of the island’s largest tourism accommodation operators. During peak season it employs in excess of 250 staff in rural areas of Cape Breton. This operator required a boost in its working capital position to maintain operations while it pursued a restructuring to rationalize assets. Traditional loans were not available, and ECBC used its flexible programs to provide the necessary assistance. Although the project is high risk, ECBC identified a reasonable exit strategy based on a restructured operation and cash flows as well as security on assets.

Community Development

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.

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 2012-2013.

Performance Analysis

During 2012-2013, ECBC commissioned case studies on two projects that were funded through its CED unit. One case study, the Inverness-County Federation of Agriculture is a project that involved providing assistance to an industry association in support of its machinery rental program. This study is profiled later in this section. The other case study reviewed a project that provided support to host the Canada 55+ Games in the CBRM. Both projects were considered “commercial – indirect” as they provided indirect support to business. These independently prepared case studies assist in understanding how ECBC’s funding is impacting communities.

During 2012-2013, ECBC worked with communities, municipal and provincial governments, regional development agencies and other economic development stakeholders to identify and prioritize the needs of various communities around the island. In total, ECBC partnered with 33 organizations on 37 projects. These partnerships helped to leverage approximately $5 million, achieving 270% of the target for leveraged investment.

The following are examples of projects assisted during the year.

Cheticamp River Atlantic Salmon Association

The Cheticamp River Atlantic Salmon Association received assistance to develop a detailed habitat management and restoration plan for wild Atlantic salmon in the Cheticamp River watershed, which will increase the group's capacity to make informed decisions regarding future habitat restoration activities. This will ultimately enable the community to obtain enhanced economic benefit from the recreational wild Atlantic salmon fishing industry in the region, and build critical mass in this industry on Cape Breton Island.

Sydney Ports Corporation

The Sydney Ports Corporation (SPC) received assistance for infrastructure improvements to the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion that will enhance the experience of tourists and visitors. This project will see the implementation of several recommendations of a recent assessment of the existing cruise product within the CBRM. These improvements will strengthen the port's competitive edge in the Canadian and New England cruise market and will also enable SPC to enhance its product offerings to the meetings, conventions and events market.

Inverness Development Association

The Inverness Development Association was assisted in undertaking infrastructure and amenity improvements at the spectacular Inverness beach, allowing it to attract and service visitors at a level that is in keeping with today’s industry expectations. This project is an excellent example of partnership between a community group, the private sector and all levels of government. ECBC contributed $305,745 and leveraged an additional $526,000, including $415,000 from the private sector.

Community Centres

A community centre is the one fundamental piece of infrastructure that unites a community, and it plays a vital role in the life of many local communities on Cape Breton Island. In 2012-2013, ECBC provided funding to 13 community centres across the island. This 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 13 projects were approximately $403,000, with ECBC committing $168,678 in funding. The objective of this initiative is to help enhance the economic foundation of communities.

Destination Cape Breton Association (DCBA)

As per the 2012-2013 ECBC Corporate Plan, ECBC has a mandate to work with the tourism industry to promote the sector. This was achieved in partnership with the DCBA. ECBC provided financial support for destination marketing and product development initiatives led by the DCBA, as outlined in the DCBA 2012 plan "A Clear Focus." The plan adheres to the ACOA tourism growth strategy guiding principle of “research will drive product development that will in turn drive marketing.”

There are many indicators that determine the state of the tourism industry. Occupancy rates are a common standard of measurement although they have their limitations since they do not necessarily reflect the total economic value of the industry in terms of sales and revenue. Compared to 2012, the occupancy rate for Cape Breton Island in 2013 was down 1%. Cape Breton Island’s rate was relatively stable compared to other regions in Atlantic Canada. Occupancy rates were down 3% in New Brunswick, down 2% in Nova Scotia, and down 1% in Prince Edward Island. Newfoundland and Labrador was the only region in Atlantic Canada that experienced no change in occupancy level. 

Major Events

Attracting and creating 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. As part of its major events strategy, ECBC assisted two community groups with financial and human resource capacity in 2012-2013, enabling them to bid on a national and an international event.

After a competitive bidding process and as a direct result of a partnership between ECBC and the local host committee, Events Cape Breton was awarded the right to host the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. This prestigious international hockey event will bring together some of the top under-17 players in the world. Centre 200 in Sydney, the Emera Centre Northside in North Sydney, and the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre will host scheduled games, with two additional exhibition games being held in other Cape Breton communities. This Hockey Canada event will showcase Cape Breton Island on an international level and will prove to be a significant boost to the local economy during what is traditionally a quiet time of the year for the hospitality industry. As detailed in the economic impact assessment, the combined total of visitor, capital and operational spending is estimated at $1.4 million. These expenditures will generate a total of $3.1 million of economic activity in the province.

Through ECBC's Major Events Strategy, strategic investments have been made in a number of venues across the island to better enable communities to attract and host regional, national and international events such as the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. In recent years, ECBC has provided $4 million to upgrade Centre 200 in Sydney and another $4 million toward the construction of the Emera Centre in North Sydney. ECBC also provided in excess of $3 million for the construction of the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre. All three venues will play a major role as host facilities for the World Under-17 event.

Other major events were successfully acquired and hosted during the fiscal year. A selection of some of these events is found below.

A three year contract for a Canadian PGA Event at The Lakes golf course was obtained after a successful bid. Commencing in 2013, the Lakes will host a Cape Breton Celtic Classic tournament as well as a week-long festival of golf.

An annual invitational university basketball tournament (yet to be named) has been successfully arranged. The tournament will be hosted by Cape Breton University and held at Centre 200.

The 16th annual Celtic Colours International Festival was held from October 5 to 13, 2012, in communities across Cape Breton Island. A total of 20,276 tickets were sold, representing 83% of available tickets. This is an increase of 1,953 tickets over 2011. A breakdown of the origin of attendees shows that 55% of the audience came from off-island and 45% from Cape Breton. Both local and visiting audience numbers increased. The total number of off-island visitors was 7,371. They came from 49 American states, all Canadian provinces and territories except Nunavut, and 31 other countries. An additional 13,854 viewers from around the world watched nine concerts streamed live via Internet. The audience expenditure increased from $7 million in 2011 to $8.1 million in 2012.

Recognizing the importance of fostering the next generation of creative thinkers, leaders and workers in our communities, the Cape Breton Centre for Craft & Design organized and hosted Growing a Creative Economy, A Conference for Creativity, Collaboration and Change (March 25-27, 2013) focused on sustaining and growing craft businesses and on growing our creative economy.

The Atlantic Cup Finals – Alpine Ski Races occurred in March 2013. This is the premiere event of the Atlantic Alpine Atlantique (AAA) cup series. A mini ski cross camp with 2010 Olympic gold medalist, Ashleigh McIvor, as guest coach was included to help showcase this event. Recent hill improvements at Ski Ben Eoin along with a strong and dedicated volunteer base helped to ensure the successful execution of this regional event.

Festivals and Events

In 2012-2013, ECBC contributed up to $5,000 to 94 individual festivals and events. The total approved contribution by ECBC for the fiscal year amounted to $186,900. In examining the economic contribution of festivals and events, it is estimated that over $1.4 million dollars was leveraged as a result of the program.

Performance Against Targets

In 2012-2013, targets for CED were achieved.

Environmental Stewardship

As part of the transfer of CBDC assets and liabilities, the Corporation 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.

Performance Analysis

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:

  • program delivery
  • 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 processprogram delivery

During the 2012-2013 fiscal year, PWGSC completed some minor activities on the Summit site and began working with ECBC personnel on the development of a closure program that recognizes the activities undertaken over the past 10 years along with the development of a long-term care and monitoring/maintenance program for the remediated sites. The remediation program is now completed and has met the projected budget and schedule. As with previous years, local consultants, contractors and service providers were utilized, allowing for the continued development of 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 2012-2013, at a cost of $3.43 million against a budget of $3.46 million. The 2013-2014 fiscal year will involve the completion of close-out reporting, which includes closure letters, records of site conditions for sites that require no further maintenance or monitoring, site management plans, as well as environmental monitoring trend analysis programs for the remediated sites that require post-remediation monitoring and maintenance – all at a total cost of $1.5 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 in 2012-2013.

In 2012-2013 ECBC completed construction of 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 significant in-house knowledge of the ECBC technical staff was instrumental in devising a solution that made use of underground mine workings to collect and treat mine-water from communities on either side of Sydney harbour with a single facility. The plant has been operating since November 2012, treating the mine-water in the New Waterford mine pool. It will begin treating the Sydney Mines mine pool in 2014.

ECBC continues to work closely with CBU to support the development of the CSEE. This centre will provide ECBC with timely research to assist in ensuring that the efforts to remediate the former mine sites and manage mine-water discharges are successful. ECBC had representation on an executive search committee to assist CBU in the selection of a new Mine-Water Research Chair and the Remediation Research Chair. Offers were made to two candidates, and in January 2013 both positions were filled. ECBC’s technical staff are engaged with the research chairs and are working toward defining a go-forward strategy.

Since the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between ECBC and CBU for a biofuels project, three test plots of 10 species of hybrid willows have been planted. The research team includes 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.

Former CBDC technical staff continue to work closely with ECBC real property divestiture personnel as well as those working on commercial and community economic development files to assess opportunities for transforming remediated sites into economic development opportunities for the local economy. In addition, staff continues to work with key community stakeholders to build on Cape Breton’s coal mining heritage. One of the most significant activities involves assessing the renewable energy and clean-coal technology potential of former CBDC assets and unmined coal reserves in the Sydney Coalfield.

Performance Against Targets

Real property sales in 2012-2013 generated approximately $204,566 in gross proceeds. This funding was transferred to ECBC programming for further economic development initiatives. Revenue relates to the sale of existing clean lands for residential use, as well as the sale of lots in the newly established Blackett Street subdivision in Glace Bay. ECBC also generated approximately $606,000 in revenue from rental properties and related activities.

Overall the revenue generated from property transactions was lower than anticipated in 2012-2013 due to a number of land sales being deferred to fiscal 2013-2014. While construction of the Phalens Road subdivision was completed, the final approvals and easements were not in place by the end of the fiscal year, and consequently land sales had to be deferred. It had been anticipated that property sales in the Ben Eoin subdivision would commence before the end of 2012-2013, but this was delayed pending decisions on utility easements, paving and final acceptance of the subdivision by the CBRM. This will be completed in 2013-2014. With regard to ECBC-owned facilities, revenue generation to offset operating costs was met at 105%.

Property Development

The Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation Act provides the Corporation specific powers related to real property. The Corporation has the ability to purchase, lease and sell land and to 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.

Performance Analysis

Currently, ECBC holds approximately 752 individual pieces of property, totalling over 12,501 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 CBRM. The property types vary from industrial sites to greenfield sites and forested lands. There are numerous pieces suitable for commercial or residential use.

ECBC continued again this year 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 community rugby field and running track on the site known as Dominion No. 20. These mines operated between 1872 and 1942 and were the primary reason for the establishment of the community of Reserve Mines and surrounding area.

ECBC also remediated the Dominion No. 6 site in the community of Donkin. The community established a ball field adjacent to this property some time ago and requested a community green area to enable it to host events. ECBC engaged the local community, which worked diligently to further enhance this park. 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.

ECBC is currently in the final stages of completing the Aerie Estates subdivision in Ben Eoin. This 16-lot subdivision is constructed along the No. 5 and No. 6 fairways of The Lakes golf course and provides access to an additional 20 lots that can be developed by Ben Eoin Recreation. These lots provide for spectacular views and assist in creating a sustainable four-season resort destination in Ben Eoin. The lots will be marketed worldwide.

The Corporation has acquired the former Royal Cape Breton Yacht Club, a strategic property along Sydney Harbour that will support the revitalization of the Sydney waterfront. ECBC is working with the CBRM to develop a conceptual vision for the waterfront from Wentworth Park to the old Sydney Engineering and Drydock property. ECBC will encourage the development of this area in partnership with the private sector and the CBRM.

ECBC and the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) have signed a letter of agreement that has ECBC managing the demolition and remediation of AECL’s Glace Bay site. AECL, Natural Resources Canada and ECBC agreed that given ECBC’s experience in project management and site remediation, this is the most efficient and cost-effective approach for the Government of Canada to remediate this site. ECBC has completed a number of contracts for the removal of hazardous waste, biological materials and PCBs as well as to cap a major water supply line. The full site demolition and remediation is due to be completed in March 2014. ECBC in return will acquire the property currently held by AECL in Glace Bay to promote future economic development opportunities.

The Property Management unit provides support services to the Corporation by preparing necessary documents such as easements and by reviewing historical documentation related to real property holdings such as deeds, easements, surveys, plans and relevant legislation. On a regular basis, the Property Management unit works with individuals in the community who wish to acquire real property owned by the Corporation in order to deal with various land access issues.

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 2012-2013, ECBC developed policy advice, carried out research, provided economic analysis and engaged stakeholders on a number of issues. 

Performance Analysis


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 the ability to do more with less resources. ECBC’s appropriation over the last 20 years has remained relatively unchanged. Therefore, its ability to make loans, non-repayable contributions, grants and equity investments has diminished by virtue of the fact that all other costs have risen. This, however, has not reduced ECBC’s ability to meet expected outcomes. Staff has been empowered to provide leadership on economic development files, which has proven to be successful. These leadership efforts have enhanced finance programs, which are ultimately aimed at helping to grow the Cape Breton economy.

Since the completion of the Sydney Harbour 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 committed to investing $75 million for a dockside break-bulk facility. All three companies, including International Iron Beneficiation Group (IIBG) Limited, referenced below, were 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 2012-2013, ECBC worked collaboratively with the Province of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Business Inc., Nova Scotia Lands, the CBRM and various stakeholders in an effort to establish an iron ore granular manufacturing facility in Cape Breton. ECBC worked closely with the collaborators and the proponent, IIBG Limited, to position Cape Breton as the best location for IIBG’s initial North American manufacturing facility. ECBC provided a $300,000 non-repayable contribution to IIBG to undertake a feasibility/technical study and a power rate study to assist in the potential establishment of the facility at the Harbourside Commercial Park in Sydney, NS.

The proposed facility could have a transformative impact on the Cape Breton economy. It would result in a capital infrastructure investment of approximately $800 million, creating up to 736 full-time, permanent jobs with an estimated payroll exceeding $30 million. The estimated indirect economic impact of the construction is another $900 million, while the economic impact of operations is estimated to be $406 million annually.

The project and the potential benefits if it were to move forward demonstrate how ECBC is using its programs to build and diversify the economy of Cape Breton. It also supports previous investments in the dredging of Sydney Harbour and how ECBC is able to leverage assets, such as the Port of Sydney, to potentially attract large investment into the economy.

The newly constructed Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment (CSEE) has recently hired three new research chairs and activity is starting to ramp up. ECBC is referring all projects involving research and technology in areas of energy or the environment to CSEE for consultation and feedback.

ECBC is represented on the Technical Committee of the CSEE and the Board of Governors of CBU, where a new president was recently installed who has a strong background in energy and renewables. This should ensure that continued focus and resources will be applied in this area. The leadership at ECBC and the CSEE continues to meet regularly and to refine 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.

On an annual basis, ECBC staff from the Commercial unit participates on Cape Breton, Provincial and Atlantic sector or market-specific working teams. The Cape Breton working teams are organized under the Prosperity Framework for Cape Breton and Mulgrave and include the following sectors: information and communications technology (ICT), oceans, environmental/engineering, agriculture and energy in addition to major projects and investment. Provincial working teams include the oceans and clean technology sectors, while the Atlantic working teams include the ICT, oceans, clean technology, food and beverage, life sciences, and education sectors as well as market-specific working teams for China and India.


During 2012-2013, ECBC’s policy and research work focused on sector research and program evaluation.

ECBC worked with a number of stakeholders to undertake a study that focuses on the development potential and opportunities associated with three major projects: the National Shipbuilding Project, the Maritime Link and Lower Churchill Hydro Project and the Donkin Coal Project.

In an effort to capitalize on opportunities that could result from these projects, ECBC contracted the services of a consultant to help:

· identify potential major project opportunities for Cape Breton Island companies or organizations;

· develop an asset database of Cape Breton Island and Mulgrave companies or organizations; and

· develop a database of existing programs and provide program recommendations for training, financing, certification, etc. that may be required for Cape Breton Island and Mulgrave companies or organizations to participate in the major project opportunities.

The report embodies a series of recommendations arising from its overall findings. Principal among these recommendations is the suggestion that an ongoing coordination hub be established under the collaborative structure put in place to coordinate the implementation of the Prosperity Framework (profiled

in a case study on page 41 of this report) and that this coordination hub work to advance the Cape Breton-Mulgrave interest in these three major projects. This ongoing effort is judged to be crucial in recognition of the fact that all three of these large-scale projects are, at this time, somewhat developmental in nature.

ECBC also carried out a review of Cape Breton’s marina infrastructure and service capacity as it relates to travel lifts, haul-out services, storage, berths, finger piers, moorings and human resources. The review includes a number of recommendations that will assist the Corporation in drafting new guidelines for assistance to this industry. 

In 2012-2013, the Corporation completed five case studies in the areas of commercial development, community economic development and property development. 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 in this report.


During the year, management met to talk about the future direction of ECBC. Managers are 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 2012-2013 corporate plan was approved by the Treasury Board in June 2012.

Performance Against Targets

In 2012-2013, targets for Policy and Advocacy were achieved.

Regional Service Delivery

In addition to its own programs, ECBC acts as a delivery agent for ACOA programs 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.

Performance Analysis

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 gathers 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 2012-2013, ECBC approved funding on behalf of ACOA of approximately $15.9 million for 157 projects, leveraging over $21.3 million. This includes 40 Consultant Advisory Services projects delivered as administrative funding.

ECBC delivers the following programs and initiatives on behalf of ACOA.

Business Development Program (BDP)
This program is designed to help SMEs to establish, expand and modernize businesses. The BDP offers access to capital in the form of interest-free, unsecured loans and provides non-repayable support to non-profit organizations.

Consultant Advisory Services (CAS)
This program provides clients with access to consulting expertise in pursuing business opportunities or solving problems.

Community-Based Business Development
This program supports autonomous, not-for-profit Community Business Development Corporations in their efforts to help entrepreneurs in rural areas obtain access to the information, advice and capital required to succeed.

Innovative Communities Fund
This program invests in strategic projects that build the economies of Atlantic Canada’s communities.

Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF)
This program encourages partnerships among private-sector firms, universities, colleges and other research institutions to develop new or improved products and services.

Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund (CIIF)
This program supports the improvement of existing community infrastructure facilities and provides economic benefits, including job creation, to communities across Canada.

ACOA’s program 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.

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.

Performance Analysis

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, 2013, there are approximately 470 former CBDC employees participating in various early retirement plans. The cost of this program will decrease annually over the next nine years as recipients reach age 65. Costs include medical benefits and pre-65 life insurance for the ERIP recipients and 256 severed employees.

● 2012-2013 ERIP and severance costs: $15.2 million

Employee Future Benefits

Employee Future Benefits requiring administration and funding include:

Group Medical Coverage
In addition to the medical benefits described above, medical benefits are provided to approximately 50 compassionate disability recipients until age 65

Post-65 and Compassionate Disability Life Insurance
A post-65 life insurance program is provided for former employees and retirees. As of March 31, 2013, this plan provides life insurance benefits for approximately 840 eligible retirees.

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.

Retirement Allowance
An additional benefit under the Employee Future Benefits is the one-time payment of a retirement allowance, which is currently $1,520 and is indexed annually. As of March 31, 2013, 519 early retirement and compassionate disability recipients could be eligible for this payment at age 65.

● 2012-2013 EFB costs: $1.2 million

Workers’ Compensation

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 1,900 claimants.

● 2012-2013 workers’ compensation costs: $18.8 million

Performance Against Targets

In 2012-2013, the target for Human Resource Obligations was achieved.

Internal Services

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.

Human Resources

ECBC employs 52 people, with 51 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:

· collective bargaining

· contract interpretation

· advice to management

· grievance arbitration and management

· support to the Occupational Health and Safety Committee

· support to the Joint Union-Management Committee

During the year, training was offered in a number of areas, including French language training, professional development, updates for the Corporation’s accountants and technical training for site operation staff.

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 2012-2013, the Corporation received 16 access-to-information requests and three requests under the Privacy Act. The Corporation also received six consultations with regard to the release of information by other government entities. As of March 31, 2013,
13 access-to-information requests had been completed and three were carried over to the new fiscal year. All privacy requests and consultations were completed in 2012-2013.


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 2012-2013, ECBC issued 26 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 2012 in St. Peter’s 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

During 2012-2013, 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. In addition, the unit also prepared quarterly financial reports in 2012-2013. This is a 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.

Internal Audit

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.

Performance Against Targets

In 2012-2013, the target for Internal Services was achieved.

In Our Community

Official Languages

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 minority language communities. The Corporation has a bilingual development officer assigned to the Francophone communities and an official languages champion who is a member of the leadership team. The percentage of bilingual staff at ECBC is approximately 5.8%, 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 2012-2013, nine students with a variety of educational backgrounds were hired for the summer.

Giving Back

Employee support has been given to a variety of organizations and charities in Cape Breton and the Mulgrave area. In 2012-2013, ECBC provided over $33,000 in sponsorship funds to a variety of community-centred fundraising activities. In addition, ECBC staff raised $7,434 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 provides confidential information and counselling service for employees and their family members to help them deal with stress that is affecting their personal or work life. In 2012-2013, 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.

Corporate Governance

Part X of the Financial Administration Act 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, comprised of the Chairperson, the Chief Executive Officer, appointed by the Governor in Council, and five independent directors appointed by the minister, with the approval of the Governor in Council for specific and staggered terms. As of March 31, 2013, the terms of five directors had expired. In accordance with subsection 105(4) of the FAA, however, these directors remain in office until successors are 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 operates within the context 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, approves major project commitments and expenditures, and reviews 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 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 2012-2013. Priorities for the year included corporate governance, strategic planning, investment approvals and risk management.

DARR (Cape Breton) Limited

DARR was a wholly-owned ECBC subsidiary incorporated under the laws of Nova Scotia. It operated as a real estate holding and development company. 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 ECBC Board deactivated DARR as of March 31, 2012. All assets, obligations and liabilities were transferred to ECBC. A new Board committee, the Environment and Property Management Committee, was created to oversee the Corporation’s environmental stewardship and property management responsibilities. 

Board Committees

The ECBC Board has standing committees to support its efforts in four principal areas of responsibility: audit, human resources, governance, and environment and property 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 preparation of the quarterly financial reports that are posted to the Corporation’s website, the OAG special examination and the internal audit function. Comprised of three independent members of the ECBC Board, one of whom acts as chair, the committee met five times in 2012-2013. The internal auditor and the chief financial officer attend meetings, as do representatives from the OAG on occasion. 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 once in 2012-2013.

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. The committee, comprised of four members of the Board of Directors, did not meet in 2012-2013.

The Environment and Property Management Committee was created 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. Following an established framework of responsibilities and reporting lines between the Board, the committee and staff, the committee oversaw the development and implementation of the Environmental Management Plan. In 2012-2013, the committee met on three occasions. Among other items, deliberations focused on updates to the Environmental Management Plan and the Master Health and Safety Plan. The committee also reviewed and approved the environmental risk management framework. The Committee maintains a functional reporting relationship with the Audit Committee in the area of risk management.

Risk Management

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 ECBC Environment and Property Management 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 2012-2013, 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 as of March 31, 2011.

The strategic environmental risk management framework, prepared by the Environment and Property Management Committee 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 and Property Management Committee on November 20, 2012. It then became an appendix to the ECBC risk management framework, which was presented at the November 23, 2012, ECBC Audit Committee meeting. It was approved, along with the environmental risk management framework, by the ECBC Board on January 24, 2013.

Senior management reviews and reports on the environmental risk management framework on a regular basis, and it is included as a standard agenda item at all Environment Committee meetings. Given the functional reporting relationship between that committee and the ECBC Audit Committee, whose mandate includes risk management, the status updates reviewed by the Environment and Property Management Committee are forwarded to the Audit Committee for information purposes.

In addition to the environmental risk management framework, ECBC’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

Annual Report Financial Statements 2013 (pdf, 1.65MB) 

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