Feature story: Air Liquide

Investing in communities across Canada

Air Liquide’s investments in Canada date back more than a century. The company says it’s committed to Canadian communities for the long haul.

Nestled on the bank of the St. Lawrence River, Bécancour is home to the only provincial industrial park owned by the Government of Québec. In late 2020, it will also become the site of the world’s largest membrane-based electrolyzer. The latest investment, which involves technology developed by Mississauga-based Hydrogenics in collaboration with Air Liquide Canada and Cummins Inc., will increase capacity at Bécancour’s current hydrogen facility by 50% to help meet the growing global demand for carbon-free hydrogen.

Drawn by our reliable supply of natural resources and the stability of our open and progressive economy, France’s Air Liquide has made its home in Canadian communities since 1911 as a producer and distributor of industrial and specialty gases. Since then, the company has continued to reinvest in Canada, thanks to the ready abundance of highly skilled workers, investment incentives and R&D support.

“When we enter a community, we are there for the long term. We begin by building strong relationships and addressing any concerns within each community. Next, we develop contracts and partnerships that are long-lasting and based on trust.”
Bertrand Masselot, President and CEO Air Liquide Canada

With 300 locations across Canada, Air Liquide’s long-term investments are many. They include Bécancour for nearly 40 years and Hamilton, Ontario for more than 80 years. These commitments ensure stability for local economies, largely in the form of indirect jobs created to build and maintain their facilities and transport their products. With each investment, Air Liquide says safety is a top priority for both employees and the communities in which they operate.

Large reservoir at Air Liquide facility in Johnstown, Ontario.
Air Liquide reservoir in Johnstown, Ontario

“We build our facilities using sound environmental practices and we work closely with local authorities to ensure that the industrial areas we locate in are safe, as well. For us, safety is non-negotiable,” says David Asselin, Senior Director of Communications for Air Liquide in North America.

The company’s operations require skilled labour, so Air Liquide connects with local educational institutions to provide ongoing training for their staff. These relationships allow them to build a seasoned, skilled workforce to draw from within their local communities.

Air Liquide’s most recent investment helps Bécancour meet the criteria established by the Government of Québec’s strategy to create innovation zones. The zones bring together companies, researchers, funders and municipalities to work on future technologies, promote sustainable growth, increase speed to market and attract future foreign investment.

“Bécancour is committed to finding ways to make our industries cleaner. This new electrolyzer technology will help us meet this goal. Air Liquide has become a major player in developing Bécancour’s innovation zone.”
Jean-Guy Dubois, Mayor of Bécancour, Québec
Smiling group of Air Liquide employees posing for a photo in front of company trucks at the Johnstown, Ontario site.
Air Liquide employees in Johnstown, Ontario

Investing in the community also means supporting causes that matter to Air Liquide employees and their communities. With over 2,600 employees across Canada, the company sponsors charities, cultural events and educational programs. Among the company’s goals – to be a responsible, sustainable citizen that helps Canadian communities grow and thrive through its investments in Canada.