Today the Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources, and Harper Government Ministers throughout Canada are putting the spotlight on the benefits of the Government's Plan for Responsible Resource Development to communities across the country, specifically the job creation, growth and long-term prosperity that all Canadians can share in.
Minister Oliver took the opportunity to outline the steps the government is taking to ensure that Canada's natural resources are developed in a way that contributes to continued economic growth and jobs while strengthening environmental protection.
"Our natural resource industries - energy, mining and minerals processing and forest - account for more than 10 percent of our gross domestic product and provide close to 800,000 jobs in Canada," said Minister Oliver. "Responsible Resource Development will ensure that our abundant natural resources are developed in a sustainable way for the benefit of all Canadians."
The Minister made these remarks while at PCI Geomatics, a local company in national capital region that supplies services to Canada's natural resource industries.
It is estimated that energy and other major resource projects could generate more than $500 billion in new investment in Canada over the next 10 years. For example, investment in Quebec's mining industry is expected to reach a record $4.3 billion this year, with spending to increase by 65 percent over 2011. That figure will represent 22 percent of all mining investment in Canada in 2012.
Natural resources industries also play an important role in Ontario's economy. Energy, mining and forest products account for 6 percent of Ontario's Gross Domestic Product and 4.1 percent of direct employment. Ontario's natural resource industries employed approximately 276,000 people in 2011.
"That's why it's so important to ensure that Canada has the right conditions in place to attract global investment in our provinces and territories," said the Minister. "The time is now for Canada's immense resources. Canada must compete with other resource-rich countries around the world for these job-creating investment dollars. And this is why we need to ensure timely, efficient and effective project reviews."
Responsible Resource Development is founded on four main pillars: to make project reviews more predictable and timely while still maintaining thoroughness; to reduce duplication of project reviews; to strengthen environmental protection; and to enhance Aboriginal consultations.
Among the changes, the plan will eliminate inefficiencies between levels of government by enabling provincial governments to replace rather than duplicate assessments by the federal government, provided they can meet federal requirements. The plan also proposes to place firm time limits on reviews, which would have to be completed within two years.
At the same time, the plan proposes measures to strengthen Canada's already high standards for safety and environmental protection. For example, substantial financial penalties would for the first time be imposed for non-compliance with conditions set by environmental reviews.
For more information on Responsible Resource Development, including detailed backgrounders, please visit the Economic Action Plan website: actionplan.gc.ca.