The Liberal government donated $ 35 million to a company that makes plastic resins on the eve of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement that he intends to take over Canada’s presidency of the G7 to encourage other countries to reduce or eliminate disposable plastic products.
The grant to Nova Chemicals was announced at the end of January under the Strategic Innovation Fund, a five-year, $ 1.26-billion initiative unveiled in the last federal budget.
A spokesman for Navdeep Bains, the Federal Minister for Innovation, explained that Nova Chemicals uses “innovative technologies to produce (…) less unwanted by-products in the production” of plastic products.
According to a January 23 statement, the money will allow Nova Chemicals to expand its $ 2.2-billion Sarnia, Ontario plant. The new plant will produce an additional 431,000 tonnes of polyethylene per year.
Polyethylene is the most widely used plastic product in the world. It is used in particular to make plastic bags, plastic films, containers and pipes.
About eight million tonnes of plastic detritus end up in the world’s oceans each year. Single-use food containers are among the main culprits.
Following the announcement of the grant, Mr. Trudeau chaired a meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he promised that Canada would benefit from its G7 presidency to address the problem of pollution of the oceans by plastic.
Later that day, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said Canada will try to convince other G7 members to make a written pledge to reduce the amount of plastic found in the oceans.