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From the Editor: November-December 2014

DATA Shortage – What we wish we could say about the Canadian market


November 27, 2014
By Andrew Macklin


Topics

There was a feature story I was really looking forward to presenting in
this edition of Rock to Road but, unfortunately, circumstances did not
allow it happen.

There was a feature story I was really looking forward to presenting in this edition of Rock to Road but, unfortunately, circumstances did not allow it happen.

I had made it my mission over a year ago to go back to the days of Aggregates and Roadbuilding in presenting you with data on Canada’s largest aggregate operations. That information would have painted a picture of the strength of Canada’s aggregates industry, proving to global investors that the Canadian market is indeed worthy of significant investment.

But that data is just not available.

At present, several of Canada’s provincial ministries that oversee the aggregates industry do not have a central database of annual production volumes. We placed calls to every one of them, but fell short on obtaining the information we needed. Some of the associations possess some information on production volumes, but we are not allowed to access it as it is proprietary information for many companies that is not shared with the media or the general public. 

I can only imagine what a national database of aggregate production would tell about the overall health of the industry. In my opinion, it would have shown an industry that continues to produce high per capita volumes of virgin aggregate even in the wake of the exponential growth of recycled aggregates nationwide. It would demonstrate how desperately our school system needs to push students towards careers in the industry, as heavy equipment operators and skilled labourers are needed from the next generation. It also would show the substantial impact the aggregates industry has on our national economy.

There are overall production volumes that become available on a regular basis, whether it’s through some sort of Statistics Canada report or a market forecast product by a third-party company. But those overall numbers don’t show regional growth, the use of recycled materials, or the difference in import/export volumes to P.E.I. or the U.S., who constantly import rock from a variety of provinces.

There needs to be a solution. It shouldn’t have to take calling each and every one of you, spending countless hours on emails and phone calls just to get a couple of numbers. And the various ministries should have the data available as they track pit and quarry licenses in each province.

So in order to broadcast to the rest of the world that Canada’s aggregates industry is growing and open for global investment, we need to bring everyone together to provide a national perspective. We need the data to show our neighbours, our investors and our equipment manufacturers data about our growing industry and the vital infrastructure that Canadian aggregates are helping to build.

And hey, I am always looking for a good story to tell.

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We are pleased to open nominations for the 2014 Top 10 under 40. This year we want to add 10 more names to the list of professionals under 40 who are having a significant impact on Canada’s rock to road industry.

This year, we will be announcing the list as part of a special event at the National Heavy Equipment Show in Toronto. Watch for news of the event on our website at: www.rocktoroad.com.

For more information on the Rock to Road Top 10 under 40, or to nominate someone for the contest, visit rocktoroad.com/top-10-under-40


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