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ENTERPRISE CAPE BRETON CORPORATION ANNUAL REPORT 2010-2011
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Message from the Chair
Message from the CEO
ECBC Board of Directors
DARR (Cape Breton) Limited Board of Directors
and 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
ECBC continues to work toward the economic development of Cape Breton Island and the Mulgrave area. Over the years, the Corporation has evolved its program offerings to provide a holistic approach to development. In addition to its own programs, the Corporation is responsible for the administration of the economic development programs of ACOA, and in 2010 it assumed responsibility for the assets and liabilities of the former CBDC. This enhanced role enables the Corporation to combine its resources and provide greater executive leadership in the pursuit of commercial and community development opportunities for the area.
In addition to strategic planning, the development of the risk-management framework, financial stewardship and annual reporting, Board activities in 2010-2011 focused on a corporate governance reorganization to align Board functions and responsibilities with the Corporation’s broadened mandate. The Board created a new Governance Committee to oversee its governance model. In addition, an Environment Committee was established under the auspices of ECBC’s subsidiary corporation, DARR (Cape Breton) Ltd. The Committee oversees all of ECBC’s environmental responsibilities and maintains a functional reporting relationship with the Audit Committee in the area of risk management.
Since assuming the role of chairperson in November 2010, I have been impressed with the commitment of Board members in providing strategic direction and guidance to senior management both at the Board level and in the work of its various committees. The ECBC Board consists of directors with diverse experience, but each brings skilled leadership and a passion for the economic development of Cape Breton Island and Mulgrave. I would also like to commend the Corporation’s Leadership Committee and staff for their commitment to the ECBC mandate. Their knowledge and enthusiasm reflect the true spirit of the Corporation.
The ECBC mandate continues to be relevant given current economic and demographic conditions. Whether it is through commercial development, community development, the control and management of mine water, the environmental remediation of former mine sites, or the development of real property, the Corporation continues to play a significant role in the economic life of Cape Breton and Mulgrave.
Message from the Chief Executive Officer
John K. Lynn
ECBC’s regional financial investment remains significant. Through its own economic development programs, the environmental remediation and human-resource programs of the former CBDC, and programs administered on behalf of ACOA, ECBC injected over $113 million into the local economy in 2010-2011, leveraging an additional $123 million in other investments.
The past year has been both challenging and eventful.
A commercial file of consequence has been the Sydney Harbour dredge. This project will enable the future commercialization of the port and surrounding area and infrastructure. The Government of Canada, through ECBC, has committed $19 million to this important endeavour. ECBC will facilitate the development of a governance-model recommendation for a new transportation corporation that will act as a port regulatory body; facilitate the broad-base commercialization of the port; identify its competitive advantages; and market the port with a view to attracting private-sector investment.
Other commercial projects over the past year have included providing capital to entrepreneurs, promoting export opportunities and supporting sector development, especially in the area of alternative energy and tourism.
In community development, ECBC supported various initiatives to help communities build on their strengths and develop the necessary infrastructure, business and cultural environment that will encourage investment and the creation of sustainable wealth. Through the implementation of its major events strategy, ECBC was instrumental in securing the 2012 Canadian Senior Boxing Championship and the 2012 Canada 55+ Games.
In keeping with its environmental stewardship role, ECBC assumed responsibility for the environmental remediation of former mine sites. In 2010-2011, 10 sites were remediated to substantial completion. Over $17.9 million was committed in 2010-2011 for environmental remediation activities, and more than 80% of funding has gone to local contractors. In September 2010, two remediated sites were developed as community parks and turned over to the local municipality. Work has started on a mine-water treatment facility in New Victoria.
In the area of property development, the Corporation has made greater use of its real property mandate to acquire property with strategic economic development potential.
As this annual report clearly illustrates, ECBC’s programming continues to positively impact communities across Cape Breton Island and Mulgrave.
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, brings a wealth of professional experience to the Board. She was the first woman to hold the positions of inspector and superintendent of schools in Nova Scotia, and she has worked as a consultant in education. Now retired,
Ms. Landry is an active volunteer in her community.
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
*ECBC support staff
DARR (CAPE BRETON) LIMITED
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Terry Miller, Chair
DARR Environment Committee
Robin Gogan, Chair
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
Special Advisor/Corporate Counsel
In 2010-2011, there were a number of developments that will positively impact the Cape Breton economy in the future. They include funding for the dredging of Sydney Harbour, the construction of the Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment (CSEE), the signing of an energy agreement between the provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, and the announcement by Xstrata Coal Donkin that it will proceed with an underground coal-mining operation in Donkin.
Funding was announced for the dredging of Sydney Harbour in 2010-2011. The dredging of Sydney Harbour’s access channel is identified in the Sydney Port Master Plan as the enabling event that unlocks the port’s real economic potential. With a dredged channel, the opportunity to diversify and broaden port-related business, particularly in the areas of bulk-cargo exports and imports, shipbuilding, offshore fabrication and containers, is now possible. The dredging of Sydney Harbour is expected to occur in 2011-2012 at an approximate cost of $38 million. ECBC has partnered with the Province of Nova Scotia, the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) and the private sector to finance the cost of the dredge.
Construction began on the CSEE at Cape Breton University (CBU) in 2010-2011. This centre will be integral to the research, development and commercialization of technology in the areas of mine-water remediation, the environment, and renewable and alternative energy. The centre will house five research chairs specializing in clean energy from coal, green energy, mine-water management, remediation technologies and integrative science.
In November 2010, an energy agreement was announced by the governments of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador regarding a large-scale hydroelectric project to develop Muskrat Falls, the lower portion of Churchill Falls in Labrador. The two provinces signed an agreement with Nalcor Energy of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia Power’s parent company, Emera Inc., to begin development of the $6.2 billion project. The agreement provides for the transmission of electricity by means of a subsea cable to Cape Breton and then across Nova Scotia en route to other markets. Nova Scotia will not only have access to the energy produced but will also benefit from the thousands of jobs associated with this project.
Xstrata Coal Donkin announced in 2010 that it would develop an underground coal-mining operation in Donkin, Cape Breton. The focus will be on mining coking coal, which will likely be sold to markets in Europe, South America, India and China. The mining operation will employ an estimated 200 people on-site and an estimated 1,000 people in spinoff jobs. With annual production projected at 2.75 million tonnes, officials estimate that the mine’s resources could support production for more than 25 years.
While the developments listed above will play an integral role in the future development of the island’s economy, Cape Breton continued to struggle with inherent economic challenges in 2010-2011.
Demographic pressures continue to impact the island’s economy. Out-migration of younger age groups has resulted in lower birth rates and an aging population. In 2009, Novus Consulting concluded a study that projected population using current birth and death rates and immigration data. The study noted that in 2006, approximately 18% of the Cape Breton population was over 65. It also determined that, if nothing changes, as much as 36% of the population will be over the age of 65 by 2026.
The most current migration data from Statistics Canada show that from 2004-2005 to 2008-2009, Cape Breton Island experienced a net out-migration of 6,200 individuals. Over 94%, or 5,858, of these people were under 45 years of age, and 61% were under 25. In the near future, the shift of the baby-boom bubble into retirement is expected to have a greater impact in Cape Breton than in other areas of Canada due to the lack of younger people to replace current workers.
Cape Breton represents 15% of the population of Nova Scotia. The Cape Breton Prosperity Study (2009) estimated the GDP per capita in Cape Breton to be $22,766 in 2006. This is well below the provincial ($29,656) and national ($39,303) levels. As a result, Cape Breton has a significant prosperity gap between its actual and potential GDP if it were performing at the same level as the provincial or national average. If Cape Breton had the same GDP per capita as the Canadian average, its GDP would have been $2.4 billion more in 2006. This represents a significant cost. The main factors that contribute to the lower GDP per capita are low employment rates and low productivity.
In 2010-2011, the Cape Breton economy continued to be challenged by high unemployment rates. The number of unemployed was up by 300 people compared with the previous year. The Cape Breton unemployment rate remains approximately double that of Canada.
Fluctuations in Cape Breton’s labour market tend to be more extreme due to concentrations in highly seasonal sectors such as primary industries and tourism. However, in the past ten years, the number of jobs has generally been increasing. Annual average employment has increased by almost 6%, from 50,600 in 2000 to 53,800 in 2010.
Running counter to other general trends in the Cape Breton economy, the housing market remained strong in 2010. Although there were fewer homes sold in the region compared to the previous year, there was an increase of 5% in the average sale price.
The Nova Scotia Association of Realtors reports that there was a total of 580 homes sold in Cape Breton in 2010, down from 602 in 2009, but the average sale price went up more than $5,600 (to $116,853).
Performance Against Objectives
Over the past few 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 to 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 2010-2011 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.
ECBC recognizes the contribution that SMEs make to the economy, and pursues a broad range of strategies to enhance their competitiveness and ultimately increase wealth in the region.
Cape Breton’s economy continues to be challenged by external economic factors that negatively impact sustained growth and productivity. Most notable in 2010-2011 were efforts to recover from world-wide 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. Factors such as the strong value of the Canadian dollar in comparison to the U.S. dollar have the effect of making exports more expensive and have 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 2010-2011: access to capital, trade and investment prospecting 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 enterprises (SMEs) to remain competitive and productive in their respective sectors.
One measure of increased competiveness and sustainability of SMEs is business survival rates. According to research carried out by Industry Canada, 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 75%.
ECBC has identified access to capital as a significant challenge for SMEs on Cape Breton Island. To help address this challenge, the Corporation assisted 20 companies in Cape Breton with $25.6 million in commercial development funding approved in 2010-2011.
Included in this amount is the Government of Canada’s contribution of $19 million through ECBC to complete the deepening of the channel leading to the south arm of Sydney Harbour. A deep-water port with the physical attributes possessed by Sydney Harbour has great potential to demonstrate competitive economic advantage and attract new investment. The dredge project is the enabling event that will lead to the future development and commercialization of the harbour.
The dredge project follows the strategic investment made by ECBC in 2009-2010 to fund a new governance model for the Port of Sydney. The key objective is to develop a financially sustainable port governance structure that will act as the management authority for the Port of Sydney. The governance model was substantially completed in 2010, with the final version expected in the third quarter of 2011. With the completion of the dredge project and the establishment of an effective management authority, the Port of Sydney will be poised for growth and will become a catalyst for further economic development.
In Cape Breton, a relatively small percentage of companies export their products and services, yet the island’s long-term economic health critically depends on the creation of wealth from export sales. ECBC’s commitment to assisting Cape Breton companies develop and explore new markets for export development was an ongoing initiative throughout the year.
One of the largest trade initiatives was the 2009-2010 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. As a result of participation in this international competition, ECBC co-led four trade missions and hosted one incoming trade mission from the United Kingdom. The outgoing trade missions were to San Francisco, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, New York, and Ireland.
The focus of each trade mission varied depending upon the market being explored. For example, the business trade missions to San Francisco, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom focused on developing new export markets. In San Francisco, Cape Breton Island companies from the innovation sector were able to meet with some of the world’s leading IT companies to sell their products or services, create partnerships and build connections. The trade missions to the Netherlands and the United Kingdom focused mainly on business-to-business meetings and site tours for the purpose of obtaining information and developing partnerships to assist with the development of the renewable-energy sector.
The trade missions to New York and Ireland focused on promoting Cape Breton Island’s rich culture and tourism sectors. During the incoming trade mission, a total of 11 companies from the U.K. travelled to Cape Breton to attend the Canada-U.K. Seafood Trade Corridor Conference and undertake business-to-business meetings.
ECBC was also able to provide financial assistance to Cape Breton Island companies and organizations to participate in other trade-related activities, including the Europe Export Education Program, the annual International Boston Seafood Show, Celtic Colours Incoming Presenters and Media Program and other activities based on individual company requests.
During the 2010-2011 fiscal year, ECBC provided financial assistance to 18 companies and two organizations for the development and exploration of new markets resulting in initial export sales of approximately $740,000. In addition ECBC undertook the development of export profiles of Cape Breton Island companies and developed new investment materials.
The development of ECBC’s trade and investment plan and activities has resulted in the creation of new partnerships with various embassies, consulates and high commissions around the world, including the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, India, China, Brazil, Singapore, New York, San Francisco, France, Jamaica and Spain. As a result, the Corporation now has new avenues through which it can generate investment attraction and export development leads for Cape Breton companies.
ECBC considers the development of sectors to be of strategic importance in its approach to growing the Cape Breton economy. Energy, tourism, transportation and innovation were key sectors of focus over the past year.
ECBC has worked with various stakeholders on renewable energy projects throughout 2010-2011. The integration with CBDC provided ECBC with greater resources in this field, allowing the Corporation to prioritize and move forward on a number of commercial projects. The energy sector strategy for Cape Breton Island will be completed in fiscal 2011-2012.
The development of the New Aberdeen Garden Townhouses and its innovative heating system will leverage the mine resources owned by ECBC and create a legacy of innovation for the use of mine water from decommissioned mines. The $1.5 million project will see the construction of a 16-unit project with a focus on alternative energy use.
The heating system for this complex will be completely off grid, with a combination of solar, wind and geothermal energy. The geothermal energy will be produced by the mine water of former coal mines. By using geothermal energy as a heat source and wind and solar energy to drive the heat pumps, the project will avoid the use of fossil fuels. Under standard working conditions, no greenhouse gas emissions will be released by the system. This is a unique concept for heating that may have applications around the world.
The largest renewable energy project approved by ECBC in 2010-2011 was completed by Renewable Energy Services Limited. It established a 22-megawatt electricity-generating wind operation at Point Tupper, Nova Scotia. ECBC assisted with the development of this large-scale initiative through the provision of a $1.5 million interest-bearing loan. The project entailed the construction and commissioning of 11 turbines, each with a capacity of 2 megawatts. Total project costs were $53 million.
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;
• continue to 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 by DB Murphy Inc. and the Membertou First Nations Band Council. ECBC is assisting with the development of this hotel establishment through the provision of a $2.5 million interest-bearing loan. The project involves the construction of a 124-room Hampton Inn and Suites adjacent to the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre. The hotel will be connected to the convention centre by an elevated pedway and will be marketed to the meetings-and-conventions sector.
In the transportation sector, as previously discussed, ECBC focused on the creation of a new governance model for the management authority of the Port of Sydney and the completion of the dredge project in 2011-2012.
ECBC’s delivery of ACOA’s innovation programs provides access to the Atlantic Innovation Fund and the Business Development Program for innovative Cape Breton companies. Of particular note is B.W. Bioenergy Inc. that was selected to receive $1.7 million toward a $2.3 million innovation project. The company plans to design, construct, commission and test a pilot torrefaction and carbon-activation process for the manufacture of activated carbon and torrified wood fuels from waste renewable resources. The main objective of the company’s research program is to develop cost-effective, integrated supply-chain approaches from biomass collection to production. This research project will be implemented in collaboration with the Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment at CBU.
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 Chanterelle Country Inn Inc., which is marketed as a high-end vacation property providing a unique environmentally focused experience. A case study of the Membertou Data Centre is summarized later in this section.
The Corporation exceeded its commercial development target to leverage one dollar for every dollar invested. In 2010-2011, the Corporation approved assistance totaling $25.6 million, which in turn leveraged $85.6 million in other investments.
Membertou Data Centre
The Membertou Data Centre is a project of the Membertou Reserve Band Council. Initially intended to be a certified Tier 5 data centre at a cost approaching $11 million, the client, in consultation with ECBC, agreed to proceed with a smaller pilot project (Tier 3). This would enable the client to resolve start-up challenges, build capacity, capture market share and grow a client base.
The Tier 3 data centre would host clients locally, regionally and internationally, providing advanced information and Internet protocol services in managed hosting, business continuity and disaster recovery, website and e-mail hosting, data, and file and print services.
ECBC funding in the form of repayable loans was provided to complete renovations at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre, to house the facility, as well as to purchase necessary equipment.
Membertou is one of five First Nation communities in the Cape Breton and Mulgrave area. The Band Council is the governing and administrative body for this community of approximately 1,000 people. It provides a range of municipal and social services to residents and is also responsible for economic development.
Current project administrators agree that proceeding with a pilot project was a judicious decision. The Membertou Data Centre has altered its core business focus and now operates as a data solutions provider. Lines of business have been opened with First Nation communities regionally, involving primarily health-care data storage and retrieval. There is potential for the export of these services across the country.
The centre employs four technical personnel full-time and ISO certification has been secured. As demand increases, operations can be elevated to a Tier 4 level certification without significant disruption.
The project is fully incremental to the Cape Breton and Mulgrave economy. It is unique to the local marketplace, has definite export potential and is beneficial to the growth of Cape Breton’s information-technology sector.
For ECBC, community economic development (CED) is about engaging and empowering communities to take control of their destiny by pursuing opportunities leading to sustainable economic 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 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 2010-2011.
During 2010-2011, ECBC commissioned three case studies that were funded through its CED unit. One such study, the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design, was a community infrastructure project approved in 2006 2007. This study is profiled later in this section. The other two case studies focused on community capacity building. These independently prepared case studies are a compilation of qualitative as well as quantitative evidence that assists in understanding how ECBC’s funding is impacting communities.
During 2010-2011, 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 133 organizations on 155 projects. These partnerships helped to leverage over $22.8 million, exceeding the Corporation’s community economic development target for leveraged investment.
Much of the CED unit’s work was in the area of community infrastructure. Here, ECBC works with economic development stakeholders, community leaders and organizations to identify and develop key infrastructure initiatives. The following are examples of infrastructure projects approved during the year.
Glace Bay Recreational Society (Bayplex)
The 2010-2011 corporate plan stated that the CED unit would work with the property development and management unit to identify and redeploy, where possible, former CBDC land holdings that have the potential to enhance CED initiatives. In this project, it was not the land that was being used but the access to mine water for geothermal energy purposes.
During the year, the Glace Bay Recreational Society approached ECBC to assist in exploring the potential benefits of the Bayplex being converted from traditional energy sources to a geothermal heating and cooling system. The new system would use mine water to reduce long-term operational costs. Geothermal energy from mine water has been successfully utilized in other areas and had been identified as an untapped renewable resource. Mine water from the flooded underground coal mines in former mining communities throughout the Cape Breton Regional Municipality is a readily available resource. An engineering study evaluated the Bayplex’s existing heating and cooling systems and the resulting report pointed to the project achieving its objectives and creating annual energy savings in excess of $80,000. More important to ECBC, the project’s success had the potential for further developments in the use of geothermal energy in Cape Breton. The total cost of this retrofit project was $1.5 million, and ECBC contributed approximately $757,000, over two years.
Cabot Trail Façade and Streetscapes
The Cabot Trail is a world-famous scenic drive recognized for its spectacular views, outdoor adventure, diverse culture and the hospitality of local inhabitants. It is also known as Nova Scotia’s tourism icon and one of the top 10 cycling destinations in the world. The Cabot Trail Assessment Findings and Suggestions Report, produced in 2008 by Roger Brooks of Destination Development International, provided a review of the Cabot Trail marketing efforts, signage, attractions, critical mass, retail mix, ease of access, customer service, visitor amenities, overall appeal, as well as the community's ability to attract overnight visitors. The report concluded that the Cabot Trail “was resting on its laurels” and that some businesses had not maintained their premises (i.e. buildings, signage or landscaping) to a degree that complemented the Cabot Trail’s reputation as a world-famous destination. The report contained the following recommendations:
• develop incentives to raise the overall standard of Cabot Trail beautification, from façades to parking to landscapes;
• provide proper comfort stations and washroom facilities; and
• develop proper signage and markings on the Cabot Trail.
During 2010-2011, as a result of these findings, ECBC proactively initiated the Cabot Trail Façade and Streetscape project. This $1.3 million project involves a cost-shared façade program for businesses located on the Cabot Trail, a comfort-station-needs assessment study, and streetscape improvements. ECBC’s contribution was approximately $750,000.
Membertou Heritage Park
With a hotel under construction next to the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre, the creation of the Membertou Heritage Park on a bordering site contributes to the development of an economic infrastructure cluster. The park will result in educational, recreational and social benefits in addition to economic benefits arising from the construction, annual operations, tourism and other revenues.
An elder advisory council was established to provide input into the process and to direct the planning for this new cultural product. The building and site plans have been developed through direct design consultation with the council. This initiative results from a comprehensive planning exercise over the last few years, which included a market assessment, feasibility analysis, best-practices review, opportunity identification and consultation exercise, and training and research components. The community has invested in its research department to develop an archive of exhibits for the new building. ECBC contributed $500,000 toward this $2.8 million project.
Community centres, the one fundamental piece of infrastructure that unites a community, play a vital role in the life of local communities on Cape Breton Island. In 2010-2011, ECBC provided funding to 26 community centres across the island. ECBC’s funding is provided to non-for-profit groups on a cost-shared basis to make capital improvements to their centres. Combined total costs were approximately $732,000, with ECBC contributions amounting to over $322,000. The objective of this initiative is to help improve the economic development capacity of communities.
Capacity building also played a prominent role in the CED unit’s activities in 2010-2011. ECBC continues to work with economic development stakeholders, community leaders and organizations to increase the capacity of the community’s decision making, planning and implementation of CED initiatives. The following are profiles of a sampling of capacity-building projects approved over the year.
Destination Cape Breton Association
The 2010-2011 corporate plan envisions the CED unit working with the tourism industry on a number of island-wide initiatives in an effort to increase visitation. Cape Breton Island is world renowned for its scenery, historic attractions, and heritage and culture, and has a significant history in the tourism industry. However, Cape Breton has not been immune to the global trend of declining tourism visits and revenues. This recent trend dictated that some things had to change or Cape Breton was at risk of losing this valuable industry. In 2009, ECBC worked with the regional tourism industry association known as Destination Cape Breton Association to develop an island-wide strategy to reposition the island’s tourism product and re-enter the global marketplace. This destination marketing strategy was intended to first stabilize, and then grow, tourism on the island. Following the completion of the marketing strategy, a second study was completed (Destination Cape Breton – A New Beginning). This study provided the appropriate framework and structure to successfully transition Destination Cape Breton from a membership-driven organization to a destination marketing organization, funded in large part by a marketing levy. With strong support and leadership from ECBC, the Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the Nova Scotia Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, proclaimed the Cape Breton Island Marketing Levy Act, which came into force on June 29, 2010. ECBC has committed to matching funds raised by the levy for the 2011-2012 fiscal year.
The attraction of regional, national and international events to Cape Breton, as well as hosting “homegrown” events, has been a priority for ECBC for many years. The direct and indirect economic spinoff from such events has had a significant impact on local business and the economy in general. During 2010-2011, ECBC formally launched its major events strategy, complete with an advisory committee, governance structure and measurement model. As part of this strategy, ECBC has assisted community groups with financial and human-resource capacity so they could bid on three national events during 2010-2011.
Cape Breton was successful in winning the bid to host the 2012 Canada 55+ Games. This event, which will take place in August 2012, is expected to attract 2,000 participants and guests to the CBRM for a minimum of four days. The games are open to adults age 55 and over and are a combination of friendly competition, socialization and enjoyment. There will be in excess of 20 different activities, including core and optional activities and demonstration sports. Another winning bid, selected from a total of seven entries from across Canada, was the Canadian Senior Boxing Championship, which will take place in January 2012. This prestigious national championship is expected to draw upwards of 300 visitors from across Canada for a minimum of six nights. Both of these events are an opportunity to showcase Cape Breton’s scenic beauty and warm hospitality to representatives of every region across Canada.
Despite one of the best bid documents to ever come from Cape Breton, the bid to host the 2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup, which ECBC participated in, was not successful. It is expected that Cape Breton will apply to host this high-profile event again in 2015.
Festivals and Events
ECBC launched the festivals and events initiative in fiscal year 2002-2003 to assist non-profit organizations in Cape Breton to host small festivals or events. The assistance is targeted at events with the potential to generate new visitation or to better serve visitors to the island, increase length of stays and spending, and improve the quality of the visitor experience.
An independent study in 2009 determined that the economic impact of the initiative since 2002 was $221.2 million in GDP, $25.8 million in provincial tax revenues from direct and indirect impacts, $31.2 million in federal tax revenues, and as many as 7,632 jobs. In 2010-2011, ECBC contributed between $500 and $5,000 to each of 105 individual festivals and events. The total approved contribution by ECBC in 2010 2011 amounted to over $200,000.
Cape Breton Centre for Craft & Design
The Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design is a not-for-profit organization established in 1992. The centre is recognized both provincially and nationally for the promotion of excellence in craft and design through education, training, exhibitions and special events. The centre has approximately 225 members from across Cape Breton and the Mulgrave area, many of whom are self-employed business people.
ECBC has supported the centre since its inception. More recently, assistance was provided to construct a multi-purpose, 14,000-square-foot facility in downtown Sydney. As a focal point for the sector, the facility features a walk-in gallery, library, office space, classrooms and studios. The storefront retail gallery displays and sells some of the finest work of local artists.
The new facility represents a strategic directional change for the centre, providing it with the capacity to be more directly engaged in the development of the craft sector.
ECBC’s contribution enabled the construction of a strategic piece of infrastructure with strong positive implications for both the craft and tourism industries. The new facility enabled the realignment of the centre’s resources to advance industry development in the areas of enterprise development, export sales and professional development. The facility also affords greater flexibility in program delivery, skills transfer and capacity development, and has provided new revenue.
A 2009 impact report highlighted a number of results since the facility opened in 2007, including:
● 73 artisans are represented in the retail sales gallery;
● gallery sales have totalled almost $300,000;
● more than 1,000 students have participated in courses;
● 75 members are active in three guilds; and
● 27,000 people have visited the gallery.
Workshops on topics such as pricing, exporting and trade shows have attracted 287 artisans. Twenty-six artisans received assistance with website development, 34 had help with promotional materials, and 47 accessed marketing assistance. Twenty-five micro-enterprises were assisted, while 88 artisans were able to participate in 37 trade shows with the facility’s help.
ECBC assumed stewardship responsibilities for all of the Cape Breton Development Corporation land holdings in 2010. This includes environmental obligations related to a number of contaminated sites.
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 numerous contaminated former mine sites. ECBC has also maintained the in-house technical knowledge of the former CBDC with the transfer of the CBDC assets and liabilities on January 1, 2010. This has provided for continuity in the management of environmental obligations.
The PWGSC continues to focus on the following six key areas to ensure success in addressing the environmental obligations:
• 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 process
During the 2010-2011 fiscal year, there were 10 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 maximizing economic development opportunities.
The PWGSC completed all scheduled activities plus additional work beyond the planned scope for 2010 2011, at a cost of $17.9 million against a $24.3 million budget. The 2011-2012 fiscal year is projected to involve a similar workload at an estimated cost of $17.5 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 continues 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. Innovative thinking on the part of ECBC staff resulted in a design that 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.
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 have been successful.
Since the signing of the memorandum of understanding between ECBC and the CBU for a biofuels project, three test plots of ten 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 three years, Cape Breton will require up to 1,000,000 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 farm lands and marginal remediated mine lands. The goal is to create growers’ co-operatives for short-rotation crops in Cape Breton, 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 drivers for the Cape Breton Island economy are being assessed by the newly integrated workforce. 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 Sydney Coalfield is comprised of more than 50 underground coal mines located on land and beneath the Atlantic Ocean between Point Aconi and Mira Bay.
Surface water enters former mines through shallow mining-induced fractures, from illegal mines and, in some cases, from municipal services infrastructure. As surface water comes in contact with the coal face, it is exposed to metals (e.g. iron, manganese, aluminum and pyrite), making the water highly acidic. When mine-water reaches the surface, a chemical reaction occurs, causing the water to take on a copper hue. In addition, the low pH can have a deleterious effect on the natural environment.
The primary focus of ECBC’s Mine-Water Management Program is to treat mine pools that are most at risk of causing a deleterious discharge of mine-water into the environment. The secondary focus of the program is on the relatively minor discharges that occur on remediated sites and that have minor effects on the environment.
ECBC's detailed knowledge of the mine workings in the Sydney Coalfield enabled staff to determine that mine-water from both the New Waterford and Sydney Mines mine pools could be treated by a single plant, resulting in significant savings to taxpayers.
Construction of the $8.9 million New Victoria Mine-Water Treatment Plant began in March 2011 and it is expected to be fully operational by February 2012. The plant will have the capacity to treat 1,000 gallons of mine-water per minute.
The New Victoria Mine-Water Treatment Plant will treat mine-water from the nine mines in the Sydney Mines and New Waterford mine pools before it can reach the surface. Active mine-water treatment includes using a mechanical plant and lime to achieve acceptable pH levels. Further passive treatment involves flowing treated water through both a settling pond and a constructed wetland before discharging the remediated water into the ocean.
Property development has become a significant part of the activities carried out by ECBC. Property can be used as a development tool to complement funding programs, and proceeds of sales can be reinvested in other development activities.
The Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation Act provides the Corporation specific powers related to property management. 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 705 individual pieces of property totalling approximately 12,450 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 in accordance with local needs and, where possible, that sites are developed in a way that enhances community infrastructure. One example this past year was the new community park in Birch Grove. Dominion No. 21 Birch Grove Mine operated between 1910 and 1925 and was the primary reason for the establishment of the community of Birch Grove and surrounding areas. By transforming this remediated mine site into a park, ECBC is enhancing community infrastructure and creating a permanent legacy to Cape Breton’s rich coal mining heritage. The park features a walking track, pond area, outdoor skating rink, basketball court and a green space for community events.
Real property sales in 2010-2011 generated $18,459 in net proceeds. This funding was transferred to ECBC programming. These transactions were related to the sale of residential properties. This amount is less than the established target due to the fact that the anticipated sale of the Memorial Drive property ($600,000) did not occur until the next fiscal year. ECBC also generated $583,335 in revenue from property rentals and related activities.
Research related to real property holdings was carried out throughout the year. The findings will be applied to future land transactions and will enable the Corporation to better use and manage current property holdings. Two action items were identified as key in moving forward with property management and development: the improvement of the property-records storage vault, and further updating and merging of the ECBC and CBDC data-management systems.
The new records-storage facility is well under way. A fire-suppression system has been installed to better protect both the facility and its records.
ECBC continues to develop its electronic property-management system. The system is a web-based application that provides user access over the Internet. The database is vast and allows for quick retrieval of 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 the area selected along with the property identification number, size of the parcel and its location. Additional work is being done to ensure all necessary data is catalogued, including all of the former CBDC reports and data.
Property management provides internal support services to other units of the Corporation by researching property holdings, preparing necessary documents such as easements and acquiring lands needed for projects such as mine-water treatment plants. Significant progress was made in transforming current vacant property into a proposed residential subdivision with approximately 38 lots.
ECBC worked with the Cape Breton Regional Municipality to acquire a piece of property on Sydney Harbour. Currently, ECBC is looking to strategically develop this area in partnership with the private sector to facilitate economic development and the revitalization of the harbour. This development will progress as the harbour dredging project moves forward.
ECBC continued the legacy initiatives of the former CBDC, whereby former industrial sites are remediated and developed to provide recreational infrastructure to former mining communities. In 2010-2011, a soccer field, running track and community park were completed. Work continues on similar initiatives.
The Property unit conducted regular preventative maintenance activities and completed upgrades to ensure optimum function of its building infrastructure. Further revitalization of the Silicon Island building was carried out this year, including the replacement of a number of windows. A plan is being prepared to replace the remaining windows.
ECBC has completed the necessary work and documentation in preparation for a third-party audit by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Nova Scotia as the last step toward building certification. The BOMA certification process provides a framework for environmental management and tools to measure and improve the environmental performance of commercial buildings. New policies are currently being reviewed internally and once completed, the Corporation will receive BOMA certification.
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 2010-2011, 16 environmental assessments were completed.
Sydney Waterfront Development
Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation’s mandate enables it to acquire, hold and/or dispose of real property to support economic development on Cape Breton and in the Mulgrave area.
For over two years, ECBC has been involved in negotiations concerning the acquisition of a strategic piece of property on the Sydney waterfront. The parcel of land in question is known locally as the Robin Hood property. It consists of an abandoned building on approximately four acres comprising three parcels of land and water lots. It is strategically located on Sydney Harbour and is one of the last undeveloped waterfront properties in the downtown core. It is immediately adjacent to the Sydney Marine Terminal, a focal point for the community and home to the Sydney Cruise Pavilion, which welcomes approximately 70,000 cruise-ship passengers each year.
Cape Breton Regional Municipality, recognizing the economic development potential of the property, partnered with ECBC in the acquisition.
Once the dredging of Sydney Harbour is complete, it is ECBC’s intention to work with community partners to market this property for a new commercial development in the downtown core that will enhance the waterfront, create economic growth and stimulate traffic in the area. ECBC’s acquisition of the property will also allow for the continuation of the popular Sydney boardwalk from the Royal Cape Breton Yacht Club to the Sydney Marine Terminal.
Given the potential for further development related to the commercialization of Sydney Harbour, ECBC demonstrated economic development leadership in the acquisition of this important piece of property. With the co-operation of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, this derelict waterfront property can now become an integral part of the revitalization of the Sydney waterfront.
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 specific issues in community development, ECBC has been able to advance specific economic sectors.
In 2010-2011, ECBC developed policy advice, carried out research, provided economic analysis and engaged stakeholders on a number of issues.
Over the last fiscal year, ECBC worked diligently to advance the concept of an Atlantic Gateway both through ECBC’s participation on the Federal-Provincial Atlantic Gateway Committee and through engagement with local stakeholders at the Strait of Canso and Sydney ports.
Critical to the success and development of the Port of Sydney is an estimated $38 million project to dredge the harbour access channel. Local stakeholders sought funding from all levels of government, including $19 million from the federal government.
After investigation and debate with other federal departments, it was determined that federal funding for the dredge project was consistent with ECBC’s economic development mandate. Consequently, after going through the appropriate approval mechanisms, $17.6 million from the former CBDC was directed to this project along with an additional $1.4 million from ECBC program funding. This funding was the final amount to be confirmed, allowing the dredge project to proceed.
Following the funding announcement by the Prime Minister in December 2010, ECBC established a project oversight committee consisting of the funding partners and the proponent, the Sydney Ports Corporation. This committee is convened and chaired by ECBC and will remain in place until the completion of the dredge. The Oversight Committee is responsible for monitoring the progress of the project and ensuring that the project proceeds on time and within budget.
In addition to the dredge, and imperative to port development, is the concept of port operations and governance. ECBC established a committee of local stakeholders from the Strait and Sydney ports to engage with Transport Canada on the best options to pursue with respect to port governance and operations. Included in these discussions are options for possible divestiture of the harbour beds in the Strait and Sydney ports. Ultimate responsibility for ownership and development will reside at the local level, with a governance model that will include key local stakeholders. Sustainability is critical to the success of these transportation corporations and, therefore, ECBC will continue to engage with Transport Canada on the best way to proceed.
Over a number of years, ECBC worked with the tourism industry to implement an island-wide marketing levy on tourism accommodations. The levy is now in place and ECBC has committed to matching the levy funds for the purpose of marketing Cape Breton Island. The Corporation is represented on the Destination Cape Breton Association (DCBA) board of directors and several ECBC staff members are active on DCBA committees. This allows for ECBC’s input into the vision and direction of the DCBA.
The environment sector continues to be important for the Corporation. For years, ECBC has been part of a coalition of local, provincial and national institutions supporting the establishment of the Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment. The centre will be operational in the fall of 2011 and will be a cutting-edge, green facility that will allow researchers and experts from around the world to explore sustainable energy and environmental energy technologies, taking advantage of research and learning opportunities presented by the remediation of the tar ponds, coke ovens and former mine sites. The Corporation continues to play an essential role in the development of the centre, particularly as it relates to the advancement and commercialization of opportunities connected to the coal resource and former coal workings of the CBDC.
During 2009-2010, ECBC’s policy and research work focused on strategic planning and program evaluation. ECBC worked with the Cape Breton Partnership on the development of an integrated strategic framework for economic prosperity. The integrated framework is a plan for how Cape Breton and Mulgrave will grow the economy in the future. The main objectives for the development of this framework were:
• to refine the overall approach to economic development for Cape Breton Island and Mulgrave to enhance results; and
• to align the efforts and leadership of numerous organizations that play important roles in the economic development process.
The development of the integrated framework involved consultation with numerous stakeholders representing economic sectors, industry groups, communities, post-secondary educational institutions, businesses, economic development, youth, First Nations, municipal governments, non-government organizations and senior public officials, provincially and federally. ECBC was a member of the steering committee overseeing the development of the framework.
The framework, now complete, outlines four overriding goals along with objectives, strategies and action plans. The four overriding goals include:
• Pursue updated economic development strategies for the region, with a focus on growth sectors and value-added components of existing sectors.
• Align the strategic framework with the province’s strategy, jobsHere: the Plan to Grow Our Economy, with its focus on workforce development, innovation and competitiveness, as well as with the Renewable Electricity Plan.
• Align Cape Breton’s principal economic development partners with the updated strategies, the provincial jobsHere and renewable electricity plans, and fill any gaps in economic development programming.
• Reverse the decline in jobs experienced in recent decades, to the point where there is net job growth.
The framework also highlights three key areas of opportunity that were identified during the research and consultation process and which hold substantial incremental development potential and the ability to be catalysts for economic growth. They include:
• port development at Sydney and the Strait of Canso, particularly in relation to container terminal development at both ports;
• energy-sector development, building on the numerous alternative energy and conventional energy initiatives planned or already under way; and
• innovation businesses, both manufacturing-oriented and knowledge-based service businesses.
On a go-forward basis, ECBC will work with numerous stakeholders on the implementation of the integrated strategic framework.
In 2010-2011, the Corporation also worked with the Cape Breton Partnership to update the Cape Breton Prosperity Study, which will be used as an ongoing measurement of the impact that the integrated economic framework brings to bear on the local economy.
The Prosperity Gap Study is based on an economic model developed to track performance, identify areas of weakness and strength, and channel programs and policy to improve the economic performance and prosperity of the Cape Breton economy. This model is used as a predictive economic tool to allow policy-makers to generate what if scenarios tailored to reflect the economy of Cape Breton Island. It benchmarks Cape Breton against its peers, identifying existing gaps and pertinent contributing factors. The update of the model takes into consideration current data sources.
In 2010-2011, the Corporation completed eight case studies in the areas of commercial development, community economic development, policy and advocacy, 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.
Sydney Harbour Dredging
In 2007, with financial assistance from ECBC, a port master plan for Sydney Harbour was commissioned. The plan included a comprehensive analysis of the opportunities in and around the port. There was, however, an issue with respect to restricted water depth in a small section of the access channel. The proposed solution was a one-time dredge.
The port stakeholder group approached ECBC to provide assistance in the environmental assessment process that was identified as complex, expensive and time consuming to complete. Although funding for the actual dredge was not in place, ECBC management viewed the project as significant for the economic development of the region and therefore provided both financial resources and staff participation on the environmental assessment committee.
A business case was developed by the local marine group and presented to federal, provincial and municipal governments. Through a request-for-proposals process, the cost of the dredge was determined to be an estimated $38 million. The funding formula proposed was $19 million from the federal government, $15.2 million from the provincial government, $2 million from the municipality and the remainder from the private sector. ECBC met with other federal departments, including Transport Canada, to inquire as to the availability of funds for this project. Due to federal budget constraints and no identified source of funds for dredging projects, ECBC looked to its internal mechanisms for funding.
After the Office of the Auditor General of Canada completed its audit as at March 31, 2010, ECBC management noted that there was an excess of $17.6 million in cash, which was carried over from the former CBDC. ECBC worked with its portfolio agent and the Treasury Board to obtain the necessary approvals to use the excess cash for the dredge. ECBC management proposed to its Board of Directors that its corporate plan be amended to include the dredge project. A Treasury Board submission to amend ECBC’s 2010-2011 corporate plan was approved in December 2010.
Following confirmation of funding from all parties, ECBC established a project oversight committee to ensure that the dredge project proceeds on time and on budget. The committee, composed of the major funders and the Sydney Ports Corporation, was convened and chaired by ECBC. Concurrently, ECBC is engaged with local port stakeholders on the development of a sustainable governance model for the port. The group is consulting with Transport Canada to determine the best way to proceed with respect to governance and the retention of harbour dues by the local corporation.
Due to the advocacy work completed at all levels within ECBC, the Corporation was instrumental in bringing this project to fruition. In the early stages of this project, ECBC provided critical funding, allowing the project to gain momentum and community support.
Federal funding for this project was not readily available and ECBC had to provide a solid rationale to convince officials in a time of fiscal constraint that this project holds significant potential to grow Cape Breton’s economy. Support from all levels of government and strong linkages to the ECBC mandate were prerequisites for approval. The work of ECBC both on the oversight and governance committees will continue. Subsequent to the dredge, ECBC staff will work with the port community to market and grow the port.
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 a memorandum of understanding (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.
During 2010-2011, ECBC approved funding on behalf of ACOA in the amount of $14,850,291 for 134 projects, leveraging over $14.5 million. This includes Consultant Advisory Services projects delivered as administrative funding.
ECBC delivers the following programs and initiatives on behalf of ACOA.
Business Development Program – This 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.
Consultant Advisory Services – 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 to help entrepreneurs in rural areas obtain access to the information, advice and capital required to succeed.
Atlantic Investment Partnership –The Partnership was launched to support economic development in Atlantic Canada and addresses areas fundamental to continued economic growth: investing in innovation, investing in communities, investing in people, and investing in the business climate.
Atlantic Innovation Fund – This program encourages partnerships among private-sector firms, universities, colleges and other research institutions to develop new or improved products and services.
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 (ERIP) and Severance Benefits
The Early Retirement Incentive Program was negotiated through the collective-bargaining process during downsizing and mine closures. As of March 31, 2011, there are approximately 670 former employees participating in various early retirement plans. The cost of this program will decrease annually over the next 11 years as recipients reach age 65. Cost of this program includes medical benefits and pre-65 life insurance for the ERIP recipients and 265 severed employees.
● 2010-2011 payments: $21.4 million
Employee Future Benefits (EFB)
Employee Future Benefits requiring administration and funding include:
Group Medical Coverage
In addition to medical benefits described above, medical benefits are provided to approximately 75 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, 2011, this plan provides life insurance benefits for approximately 1,000 eligible retirees.
An additional benefit under the Employee Future Benefits is the one-time payment of a retirement allowance, which is currently $1,452 and is indexed annually. As of March 31, 2011, approximately 750 early retirement and compassionate disability recipients could be eligible for this payment at age 65.
● 2010-2011 EFB payments: $460,000
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.
● 2010-2011 payments: $20.9 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 58 people at its head office in Sydney. The Corporation also has a satellite office in Port Hawkesbury, which is staffed by two employees.
During the year, training was offered in a number of areas, including annual professional development for the Corporation’s chartered accountants, technical training, environmental training, project management, environmental impact assessment, and commercial lending, along with pre-retirement courses and training for corporate directors.
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 September 2005. Since that time, the Corporation has invested in training for staff and additional software to facilitate its compliance with this legislative requirement. The Corporation received eight access-to-information requests and 21 requests under the Privacy Act in 2010-2011. As of March 31, 2011, all outstanding requests had been completed.
The main objective of the Communications unit is to convey how the Government of Canada, through ECBC, is investing in the economic development of Cape Breton Island and to demonstrate the Corporation’s significant impact on the Cape Breton economy.
In 2010-2011, ECBC issued 33 news releases on various initiatives and participated in a number of community events. Representatives of ECBC also made several presentations and speeches on and off the island. The Corporation’s annual public meeting was held in October 2010, and was well attended.
Of particular note in 2010-2011 was the completion of an integrated marketing strategy for the Corporation. The primary objectives of the integrated marketing strategy are as follows:
• clearly establish and increase awareness of ECBC’s role and purpose in economic development among key stakeholders and the general public;
• demonstrate results against objectives in the fulfillment of ECBC’s mandate;
• optimize trust, satisfaction and public confidence in ECBC’s activities; and
• assure stakeholders of ECBC’s commitment to the legacy obligations of the former CBDC.
A new visual identity and branding strategy were developed and successfully implemented in 2010. A marketing strategy was completed and will be used to guide future marketing, communications and public-relations decisions and to assist in allocating financial and human resources.
Finance and Administration
Currently the Corporation prepares its financial statements in accordance with Canadian generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) as defined by Canada’s Accounting Standards Board. However, the board has adopted a strategy to merge the GAAP with International Financial Reporting Standards. Effective April 1, 2011, “bluebook GAAP,” as it is currently known, will cease to exist. Government business enterprises will follow the international standards, and government organizations will be classified as either other government organizations (OGOs) or government not-for-profit organizations. OGOs will generally base their financial reporting on the Public Sector Accounting Handbook. The adoption of the handbook will be accounted for by retroactive application with restatement of prior periods to enhance comparability.
The Audit Committee approved ECBC’s classification as an OGO. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat concurred with this classification and the Corporation will transition to the accounting standards established by the Public Sector Accounting Board. The Corporation will prepare financial statements in accordance with the Public Sector Accounting Board starting in fiscal year 2011-2012.
ECBC has engaged external expertise to conduct an initial diagnostic assessment to determine the impact on the Corporation of the major differences between the PSAB guidelines and the GAAP as well as required changes to the financial statements and accounting policies effective April 1, 2011.
During 2010-2011, the Finance and Administration unit prepared financial statements for the attest audit by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG).
ECBC's Internal Audit unit works in conjunction with the OAG, the official auditor for the Corporation.
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, its system of internal controls; and the audit, accounting and financial reporting processes of ECBC in general. The Audit Committee held four meetings in 2010-2011. 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.
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. The most significant revisions to the framework resulted from incorporating the mitigating strategies identified in the framework to the applicable unit operational plan for each area of responsibility. In addition, an environmental risk management framework was developed. The revised framework is discussed separately in this report under risk management.
In Our Community
ECBC is committed to the principles of the Official Languages Act (OLA). It has been recognized that economic development is a 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.
The percentage of bilingual staff at ECBC is approximately 7%, allowing the Corporation to provide service to the public in both official languages.
ECBC has a close working relationship with the island’s francophone communities. The Corporation also has an official languages champion.
Youth and Education
ECBC provides support to students currently enrolled in post-secondary institutions by offering summer employment opportunities. In 2010, eight summer students with a variety of educational backgrounds were hired.
ECBC is a vital part of the Cape Breton community. As individuals and as a Corporation, ECBC gives back through donations, volunteer work and support for various community initiatives.
Employee support has been given to an array of charities and organizations. In the 2010-2011 fiscal year, ECBC raised over $6,700 internally for six local charities in Cape Breton and the Mulgrave area.
ECBC sponsored two families in need during the holiday season under the Adopt-a-Family program; and, profits from in-house recyclables were used to support the local Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank.
The Canadian Cancer Society was supported by ECBC through the sale of daffodils and pledges for Relay for Life. Donations collected were used to support people living with cancer and to fund cancer research.
ECBC’s employees continue to show extraordinary support by donating blood every two months, as a “Member for Life” of the Canadian Blood Services.
Through continued support for the United Way, donations were made to a number of local charities.
Employees remain committed to the Corporation’s mandate and are strong supporters of the community they serve.
As a Crown corporation under Schedule III, Part I of the Financial Administration Act, 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. A full complement of Board members was in place in 2010-2011.
The Board exercises its responsibilities in accordance with the ECBC Act and provides overall governance to the Corporation. It provides 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 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 in areas pertaining to corporate governance and the roles and responsibilities of directors.
The Corporation abides by Government of Canada best practices in the area of corporate governance. The Board has carefully considered the corporate governance guidelines set forth in the governance framework for Canada’s Crown corporations and relevant legislation in the formulation of its charter, which was formally adopted in 2009. Annual public meetings were held in 2009 and 2010, providing the public with an opportunity to learn more about the work of the Corporation. The Board is currently engaged in the formulation of a skills profile that will identify core attributes, competencies and experience of Board members.
The ECBC Board met seven times in 2010-2011. Priorities for the year included corporate governance, strategic planning, the CBDC integration and risk management.
DARR (Cape Breton) Limited
DARR is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ECBC, incorporated under the laws of Nova Scotia. It is a real-estate holding and development company that acquires, manages and retains real property in the ECBC mandate area to support ECBC’s delivery of economic development programs. The ECBC Board of Directors is responsible for the appointment of the members of the DARR Board of Directors. The DARR Board met four times in
As a result of the integration of the assets and responsibilities of the former CBDC, ECBC’s property holdings have significantly increased and now include property requiring environmental remediation and management. As ECBC’s real-estate holding company, DARR has taken on an expanded role, particularly as it relates to environmental and health-and-safety issues.
The Board has standing committees to engage and support its efforts in three primary areas of responsibility: audit, human resource and governance. An Environment Committee has been established under the auspices of the DARR (Cape Breton) Limited Board of Directors. While reporting to the DARR Board, the committee’s mandate encompasses all the environmental responsibilities of ECBC and it maintains a functional reporting relationship with the Audit Committee in the area of risk management.
The Audit Committee deals primarily with matters related to sound financial and risk management practices, accurate and ethical reporting, and audit functions. The committee also takes an active role in reviewing and recommending loan impairments and write-offs as well as the review and recommendation for approval of the Corporation’s risk-management framework. With respect to its audit activities, the committee oversees the annual financial audit, the OAG special examination and the internal audit function. In 2010-2011, the Committee also oversaw preparations for conversion to the Public Sector Accounting Standards and new Government of Canada requirements for quarterly financial reporting. Comprising three independent members of the ECBC Board, one of whom acts as chair, the committee met four times in 2010-2011. Meetings are also attended by the internal auditor and, on occasion, representatives from the OAG. As required, the committee meets in camera.
The Human Resource Committee oversees policies, strategies, processes and controls within ECBC to maintain an organizational climate that fosters ethical behaviour, employee commitment and satisfaction. This committee is composed of two independent members of the ECBC Board as well as the CEO. It makes recommendations on human resources policies and compensation-related issues. It also reviews and reports on the performance of the CEO and makes a recommendation to the Board for its approval. The committee met on four occasions in 2010-2011.
The Governance Committee was created in 2010 in light of the Board’s increased responsibilities as a result of the CBDC integration. This committee 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. The committee met once in 2010-2011.
The Environment 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. The committee prepares and recommends, for Board approval, a framework of responsibilities and reporting lines between the Board, the committee and staff. Within the context of this framework, it oversees the development and implementation of the Environmental Management Plan. In 2010-2011, the committee met on five 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, as well as an environmental policy statement for the Corporation.
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 2010-2011, ECBC’s Leadership Committee invested significant time and effort in updating the ECBC risk-management framework. The most significant revisions resulted from linking the mitigation strategies identified in the framework to the applicable unit operational plan for each area of responsibility. During this process, each unit operational plan was reviewed with the risk-management framework to ensure all the strategies were relevant and incorporated in each plan as part of an activity. This was completed in response to a recommendation in the 2009 special examination report by the OAG.
In addition to linking the operational plans to the risk-management framework, ECBC established a process to regularly review the plans and provide status updates at management committee meetings. 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 on a quarterly basis with the initial status update provided as of March 31, 2011.
As a result of the increased environmental risk assumed by the Corporation upon transfer of the CBDC’s assets and liabilities, ECBC’s subsidiary corporation DARR (Cape Breton) Limited established an Environment Committee in June 2010 to identify, monitor and mitigate the risks associated with these liabilities. This committee created a strategic environmental risk-management framework similar in format to ECBC’s risk-management framework and which outlines the key risks and mitigation strategies specific to the environmental liabilities assumed by ECBC. The environmental framework was reviewed and recommended for approval by the Environment Committee on August 31, 2010, and approved by the DARR Board on October 12, 2010. Once the framework was approved by the DARR Board, it became an appendix to the ECBC risk-management framework, which was presented at the December 8, 2010, ECBC Audit Committee meeting. It was approved, along with the environmental risk-management framework, by the ECBC Board on January 25, 2011.
Senior management reviews and reports on the environmental risk-management framework quarterly, and it is 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 are forwarded to the Audit Committee for information purposes. The DARR Board conducts its review and approval of the document annually.
In addition to the creation of the environmental risk-management framework, DARR’s Environment Committee has outlined various applicable crisis scenarios related to the environmental hazards associated with the former CBDC properties and has 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
2011 ECBC Annual Report Financial Starements (pdf, 894kb)