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Bob Larocque_CFA Pres

Q&A with Bob Larocque, new president & CEO at the Canadian Fuels Association


Bob Larocque_CFA PresOCTANE:  You have been on the job for a few months now – what are your first impressions of Canada’s transportation fuels sector?

Larocque: From day one at the Canadian Fuels Association, I have been blown away by the deep technical expertise and the continuous improvement mindset that exists among CFA staff and members.  Previously, I had some exposure to CFA and its staff during my time at the Forest Products Association of Canada, but I have gained an appreciation of the critical importance of our industry since the pandemic started, as well as an excitement about where we are headed.

OCTANE:  It’s always challenging to work in a new industry, but taking on a leadership role at CFA must be even more difficult in the middle of a pandemic with declining demand for your products.  What is your assessment of the health of transportation fuels in Canada?

Larocque: During the early days of the pandemic, our industry demonstrated that we are a part of Canada’s critical infrastructure.  CFA members and their employees went above and beyond to ensure that the fuel supply was maintained to support critical services like the movement of medical supplies and food.  Throughout our response to COVID-19, we have reinforced the value that our sector has created for Canadians for more than 100 years.  While the pandemic has not been easy on CFA and its members, we are proud of our contribution during the response and look forward to playing a significant role in Canada’s recovery efforts.

OCTANE:  How do transportation fuels fit into Canada’s plans to ‘build back better’?

Larocque:  Our industry has a long history of using innovation to continuously improve our environmental footprint and adapt to the changing needs and expectations of consumers.  This is an exciting time for our industry and we believe that we can support a strong, resilient economy while making a significant contribution to Canada’s targets for emission reductions.  This fall, we will be releasing a ‘vision for 2050’ for our industry that outlines how lower-emission transportation fuels will be part of Canada’s energy mix for generations to come.  This will be achieved through our pursuit of innovative products and processes as well as new ways to leverage Canada’s transportation fuels infrastructure.  We can’t wait to share this with our partners and stakeholders – stay tuned.

OCTANE:  What about the upcoming national Clean Fuel Standard?  How is the CFA involved?

Larocque:  The Canadian Fuels Association has supported the concept of a national Clean Fuel Standard (CFS) since it was first introduced in 2016.  Our members are the principal obligated parties for the liquid component of the CFS and are committed to the success of this policy.  We believe that leveraging Canada’s existing refining and transportation fuel infrastructure is essential to making this happen.   For more than 100 years, our domestic fuels infrastructure has achieved the scale, reliability and accessibility required to successfully move people and goods throughout Canada and beyond.  We will continue to share our knowledge and insight to ensure that we maintain refinery competitiveness, ensure energy security over the long term and meet the GHG reductions of the Clean Fuel Standard.

Peter Boag CFA

The Canadian Fuels Association announces changes at the top

The Canadian Fuels Association (CFA) has announced that Peter Boag is retiring and has stepped down as president and CEO of the trade group. Replacing Boag is Bob Larocque, who takes on the position September 8, 2020.

Peter Boag CFABoag tells OCTANE that his 13 years at the helm of the CFA saw considerable change in the industry as the sector pivots toward a carbon-neutral world. “The fuels sector continues to meet 95% of Canadians’ transportation energy needs – 42% of the total energy consumed by Canadians.  It continues to be a safety record leader in Canada’s manufacturing industry.  And, CFA members’ drive for ever better environmental performance continues unabated. Year-over-year sector performance has improved on virtually every key environmental metric – delivering cleaner operations and cleaner products for Canadians.”

According to Boag, the CFA is working with-in the context of Canada’s long-term net-zero aspirations and is strongly focused on accelerating efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG)emissions by building on current accomplishments. “Reducing transportation emissions – 25% of total Canadian GHG emissions today – is the target of this effort,” he said.

Boag sees a future where consumer choices include reliable, affordable low-carbon liquid fuels.

“This future will require a policy environment that is stable, predictable and science-based. Unnecessary regulatory hurdles need to be removed.  Policy instruments must respect technology-neutral solutions. Public policy has to create the conditions essential to private sector investment – investment that can help truly accelerate change.  In all this, governments and stakeholders need to remain focused on reducing emissions, not ‘demonizing’ carbon – this paradigm allows for a multitude of solutions and reflects the range of options that Canada will need to deploy to achieve its climate change goals.”

Bob Larocque

Bob Larocque

Incoming president and CEO Bob Larocque will bring much to build on Boag’s accomplishments. He has been a successful public advocate on a host of fronts that relate to climate change. These include positions on innovation, indigenous engagement and environmental regulations. Most recently, Larocque served as SVP of the Forest Products Association of Canada. He also comes from leadership positions at Environment Canada where he focused on mitigating the risk of toxic substances on the environment. He holds a B.Sc. in chemical engineering from the University of Ottawa.

Kelly Gray can be reached at

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Car wash waste demands a professional touch

Screen Shot 2020-08-16 at 1.13.32 PMThe waste at your car wash site is your responsibility. This is the message from provincial regulators as well as key players in Canada’s waste industry. Good waste management is not only good for the environment, it’s just good business.

“Car wash operators have to do their homework when it comes to maintaining the drainage systems of their sites,” says Leanne Whittaker, general manager, liquid/hydrovac division, GFL Environmental, a leading North American provider of diversified environmental solutions. She suggests that operators are sometimes confused about regulations and their responsibilities as business owners. “We often find ourselves in the situation where we have to explain the legalities of waste management to a business owner that sees hauling effluent as being something that can be skirted.”

Her colleague Michael Tersigni, commercial territory sales manager, GFL Environmental adds that often he sees wash companies try to stretch out the length of time between car wash catch basins and interceptor pump-outs. “This can end up with car washes having blocked lines and floods, problems that end up costing more money,” he says, noting that a site that was overdue for service can discover they require more waste sludge to be removed, and more time to ensure a clean and properly flowing system. 

“Blockages caused by sludge and overcapacity interceptors and/or holding tanks can sometimes cause floods or other issues in the system. This means the site has to be shut longer while work is underway and cars are not getting cleaned. When cars are not being cleaned operators don’t make money,” says Whittaker, who notes that a standard-sized operation could see vacuum trucks take about two hours to complete a typical waste removal service. Operators are charged an hourly rate plus the amount of effluent tonnage. She suggests operators look to see the times when car washes are least busy and schedule waste pickups accordingly. When service providers arrive operations need to be shut down. The greater the amount of sludge or blockages to clear, the longer the site is closed to business.

Both Tersigni and Whittaker point out that companies such as GFL Environmental don’t enforce the regulations, rather they advise, seek understanding and help establish best practices.

“Proper maintenance and due diligence are key operational practices,” says Tersigni. “Be proactive and don’t wait for something to happen.”

“A well-maintained car wash will provide efficiencies because the system is better able to do the job it was designed to do,” says Whittaker mentioning that smaller more frequent pickups are better. “If there are build-ups of heavy sludge and oil, and the system is not flowing, our crews have to spend more time on-site and this costs operators more in the long run. Having tanks that are higher than 50% often means overflow pipes are already full.”

Here, Tersigni notes that having a professional company undertake the work has its advantages. “Only licensed and regulated operators can legally transport and dispose of waste from car washes. We have every tool in the shed and can handle whatever challenge the service demands, from flushing and snaking blockages to camera scoping collapsed lines. We also have to deal with a wide range of provincial and municipal regulations. Ultimately the waste being removed is the responsibility of the car wash operator and any issues with the disposal of the waste could potentially subject the operator to scrutiny.”

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