105th Annual Conference & AGM
Challenges of a Sustainable Industry

Tim Vogel, CPCA Board Chair, and CEO of Cloverdale Paint kicked off the conference by welcoming delegates and guests including new CPCA members: Azelis, Selectone, Polyrheo, NanoXplore, Nanophyll, Regent Paints, Baolijia, Oriental Yuhong North America, Allcolour, Halton Chemical, and G&J Resources.  He continued by providing a program overview and some context for the sustainability issues facing our industry noting:   “The theme of our conference has a focus on coatings as a sustainable industry. It can be argued that the coatings industry has been sustainable for a long time in that it helps other industry sectors - and the public generally - reduce their environmental footprint, given the fact that their valuable assets are protected, with longer lifecycles and lower costs as a result of those protective coating.”

He spoke of the need for CPCA’s continued engagement in advocating for fair and effective regulations here in Canada and abroad through our international partnerships. Of particular importance is the partnership with the American Coatings Association and as a member of IPPIC, working for greater Canada/US regulatory alignment and an adherence to science-based risks assessments rather than the public and government relations campaigns aimed at restricting and banning the use of approved ingredients with a long history of safe use and limited exposures.

When sustainability became the new buzzword more than 30 years ago it was defined as having three important pillars: economic, environmental and social. However, in recent years it has become synonymous with environmental only, with little regard for the economic pillar, other than noting that environmental projects could lead to new jobs. The challenge our industry and others face is to remain viable while at the same time continue investing in new R&D for more environmentally friendly products that are defined as non-toxic.

The emergence of water-borne coatings, particularly in architectural paints, has created a reliance on the availability of approved pesticides to ensure product quality, performance and durability.  Recent regulatory actions in Canada, the US, and Europe have threatened the continued use of these safe additives and in effect the future of water-borne coatings. In his presentation entitled “Importance of Biocides in Coatings, Adrian Krygsma, Troy Director of Product Registration, provided an in-depth look at our industry’s use of biocides, reviewed the current global regulatory environment by jurisdiction, and focused on the need for regulatory alignment and consistency throughout North America and Europe. 

The Government of Ontario recently enacted the new Waste-free Ontario Act and established the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority and Ontario 

(RPRA), a new oversight authority to ensure effective compliance and enforcement related to waste recovery. RPRA CEO Frank Denton, discussed Ontario’s “Move to a Circular Economy,” the goals and objectives of the new legislation, and provided an overview on how the transition process under the new Act will impact CPCA members, who are responsible for over 99 per cent of the volume, and nearly 100 percent of the funding for the left-over paint collection program currently administered by Product Care. The presentation generated a significant amount of audience discussion and the need for a followup meeting with CPCA was agreed upon.

A key challenge to sustainability is regulatory reform and the need for regulatory alignment between Canada and the United States.  Dave Darling, Vice-President (Environment, Health & Safety) at the America Coatings Association walked delegates through the current regulatory environment in the US stating that regulatory alignment between Canada and the US and cooperation between CPCA and ACA has never been more important to help national agencies develop regulations that are reasonable and fair.  Dave’s presentation provided an update on US AIM VOC regulations including California trends and new changes in product category rules.

CPCA President and CEO Gary LeRoux provided a detailed update on the association’s work entitled “CPCA: Today and Tomorrow.” Building on the newly completed three-year strategic plan and the release of the Economic Impact Study of Canada’s paint and coatings industry. He spoke of the actions that he, with the CPCA Board of Directors, has taken to position CPCA to advance the present and future needs of CPCA members. CPCA successfully advocates for outcome-based solutions utilizing sound science and evidence-based rationale in the pursuit of, and compliance with fair regulations. Building on this proven foundation CPCA has recently hired new staff to expand its public affairs capacity to strengthen member engagement and recruitment, fortify advocacy initiatives, and enhance industry partnerships.  

Mr. LeRoux discussed the priority issues facing the industry, especially the growing influence of activist NGOs advocating for hazard-based approaches to chemicals management, which is evidenced by the proposed 87 amendments to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) recommended by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development.  CPCA's advocacy agenda is focused on the ongoing demands of the federal Chemicals Management Plan, emerging Canadian and international VOC regulations, potential amendments to CEPA, pursuing regulatory alignment with the US, maintaining efficient provincial product stewardship programming and being prepared to address ‘rogue’ issues that pop up from time to time such as proposed restrictions on biocides, auto refinishing formulations in Metro Vancouver, restrictions on retail sales of acetone and the challenges in Europe to the classificaiton and use of TiO2. Mr. LeRoux concluded by stating: 

A strong organization enables us to take on new initiatives, while effectively addressing current issues with a strong advocacy approach for better results.

The Keynote Speaker, Dr. Michael Cunningham from Green Centre Canada at Queen’s University presented on “Carbon Dioxide Switchable Coatings” an overview of their exciting research into the replacement of solvent-based coatings with water-borne coatings that share the film-forming mechanism as oil-based coatings using carbonated water. Dr. Cunningham explained how their research utilizing CO2-responsive polymers, is overcoming traditional performance challenges associated with latex paint to produce clear, continuous water-resistant coatings that retain the VOC-free advantage of water-based coatings.  

Wood is a renewable resource that is underutilized by industry due to real and perceived limitations related to performance, durability, and protection (fire). Veronic Landry, Chair of the NSERC-CANLAK Industrial Research initiative at Laval University spoke about the effective partnership between academia, government, and industry, including CPCA members CANLAK, and EMCO Inortech. Their research seeks to improve the performance and, ultimately increase the industrial use of wood products, through the development of high-performing, environmentally friendly coatings.   In her presentation “Moving Forward on Ecologically Responsible Finishing,” Ms. Landry explained how her team of international experts and students are working on techniques and formulations to improve densification, appearance, and protection of wood products to increase international market share for industrial wood applications of Canadian firms.

In her discussion entitled “Global Chemical Regulations Impacting Coatings” Joyce Borkhoff, Vice President of INTERTEK Chemicals Group, navigated through the complexities of regulatory initiatives and reforms being undertaken in Canada, the US, and the European Union. New approaches are being considered for chemicals assessment, use of preservatives and pesticides, the treatment of confidential business information and the regulation of nanomaterials.  The implications of misalignment among these concurrent initiatives in major markets can have a significant impact on the global industry and particularly for companies here in Canada.

Canada is a global leader in post-consumer paint recycling and Mark Kurschner, President, Product Care Association (PCA) gave an update on program performance and policy changes in the eight provinces where PCA operates. Paint stewardship programs across the country are established and successful, with several jurisdictions undertaking program renewal such as British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan which will require increased measurement, reporting and auditing from PCA. Mr. Kurschner provided an in-depth look at the changes undertaken in Ontario where virtually 100 percent of the funding for leftover paint recovery comes from CPCA members. The Ontario program has performed well, exceeding collection targets by 17 per cent, launching a paint reuse program and increasing return to retail collections.  Mr. Kurschner addressed some industry concerns regarding the transition to the new RPRA program including the winding down of Stewardship Ontario, the policy change to individual producer responsibility, the elimination of ISPs, and the creation of registries for stewards, sales, product management, and service providers.   

Dr. Sanjeev Chandra, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Toronto provided a look into the research being undertaken at the Centre for Advanced Coatings Technologies (CACT) to improve the application of paint and coatings.  Using a series of videos Dr. Chandra demonstrated how engineering techniques can improve the alignment and orientation of paint droplets to improve paint performance and to resolve the issues of blistering and “orange peel” application defects. Dr. Chandra also discussed research undertaken at U of T to develop bio-based solvents from lignin, an underutilized byproduct of the forestry industry. 

Bob Carberry, Founder, Carberry Insights and Associates and Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Centre in Washington, DC, provided an insider’s guide to effective regulatory development based on the need for alignment, cooperation, and innovation. Over his 37-year career within the federal public service ranging from laboratories to senior executive positions in central agencies, he has witnessed firsthand what works and what doesn’t in the world of regulation, and why? Mr. Carberry recommended ways to: bridge the perspective-gap between government and industry, build cooperation with government regulators, overcome government’s domestic-centric focus, identify the incentives for government action, and clearly define the domestic and international costs and benefits of alignment. 

Don't miss out on the 106th Annual Conference & AGM taking place in the beautiful city of Vancouver, British-Columbia. 

CPCA member companies reap the rewards of our ongoing international efforts as a member of the International Paint and Printing Ink Council focused on supporting strong national and international brands.