Mining and exploration review north of the 60th parallel

Energy and Mines Ministers Agree that Improving Competitiveness and Environmental Sustainability are Key to Future Development of Natural Resources

Reflections of Repulse Bay

Photo: Flickr/Nick Thomas

Marking the conclusion of the annual three-day Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference (EMMC), hosted by Nunavut this past August, Canada’s energy and mines ministers agreed to act to increase the country’s competitiveness in these respective sectors by eliminating barriers to investment, promoting market diversification, and improving the efficiency and timeliness of regulatory processes. To that end, the Government of Canada will continue to work with provinces and territories, as well as partners to ensure an effective regulatory review process that enhances economic competitiveness and maintains a sustainable environment.

Already accounting for 17 per cent of Canada’s GDP, 47 per cent of Canada’s merchandise exports and providing over 1.8 million jobs in 2017, our natural resources sector is well-positioned to drive even more prosperity in the future. By developing innovative technologies, Canada’s resource sector can continue to lead the way to a clean economy and enhance the country’s competitive edge. The excellence of Canadian industry, as well as Canada’s contributions to sustainable prosperity, demonstrates that environmental protection and economic growth can go hand in hand.

“In a world increasingly looking for sustainably produced products, whether from minerals and metals or energy, Canada is unmatched,” said Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources.As global demand for sustainably developed resources grows, Canada must continue to capitalize on its natural advantage to ensure our competitiveness in global markets.”

Gathered under the theme of Connecting Communities to Resources, Indigenous leaders and industry associations joined ministers to discuss key issues, including: the role of energy and mining in growing our economy; the vital importance of competitiveness and certainty for our sustainably developed natural resources; the need for critical infrastructure to develop Canada’s natural resources, particularly in the North, and its long-term economic future; as well as fostering partnerships and inclusion of Indigenous peoples in the natural resources economy. Participants were also provided with an overview of Canada’s energy and mining sectors, as well as preliminary proposals under consideration by the Resources of the Future Economic Strategy Table.

Ministers committed to explore additional opportunities for federal, provincial and territorial collaboration to advance our trade objectives, open up new markets for our natural resources, and leverage Canada’s technology and innovation, including on the international stage. To the world, the made-in-Canada “brand” represents sustainable development, further enhancing our competitive advantage.

Ministers discussed progress made on specific initiatives under the Canadian Energy Strategy, released by the Council of the Federation, as well as under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. While respecting the roles and responsibilities of each government, collaboration has focussed on energy efficiency projects such as enhanced and harmonized standards for appliances and equipment, adoption of net-zero energy ready building codes, and increased transparency of energy use by way of labelling for buildings, housing and industry. It also supports projects to improve electricity infrastructure across Canada by modernizing the grid, reducing reliance on diesel for power generation in northern, remote and isolated communities, and developing and adopting innovative technologies.

“Nunavut is rich in renewable and non-renewable resources, but our Arctic ecosystems are vulnerable to climate change. Governments at all levels must engage in the responsible management of resources to ensure our land is safe for generations to come,” said David Akeeagok, Government of Nunavut Minister of Economic Development and Transportation. “People in northern, remote and isolated communities across Canada will benefit from the socio-economic outcomes of responsible, sustainable resource development.”

Ministers were also presented with a vision for a prosperous and environmentally sustainable energy future, by representatives of the Generation Energy Council.

Ministers highlighted the importance of existing federal, provincial and territorial cooperation across the energy and mining sectors. This includes initiatives to advance Indigenous partnerships, innovation, integrity and public confidence, infrastructure development, inclusive growth and international cooperation. Through panel discussions with Indigenous leaders, women in the natural resources sector, and other experts, Ministers emphasized the need to consider the range of perspectives from Canadians on the development and operation of natural resources.

Additionally, Ministers discussed a vision and narrative to guide the development of the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan (CMMP) – targeted for release in early 2019 and informed by extensive engagement and analysis. While respecting the roles and responsibilities of each government as well as their priorities, the Plan is intended to foster a competitive and sustainable minerals and metals industry that capitalizes on the realities of today’s economy and its future, recognize regional strengths, enhance Indigenous participation, and position Canada as the leading mining nation.

Building on EMMC 2017, Ministers discussed the importance of diversifying Canada’s energy and mining markets and the current challenges of the Canada–U.S. trade relationship, including the critical link among trade, jobs and economic growth. They also committed to continue to further explore opportunities for provinces and territories to collaborate in international discussions and work regarding energy and mines.

Ministers expressed their thanks to the Honourable Minister David Akeeagok, the Honourable Minister Jeannie Hakongak Ehaloak and the people of Nunavut for the warm welcome and successful 2018 conference.

Connecting communities to resources builds on Canada’s competitive advantage and environmental sustainability, which will remain a focus of Canada’s energy and mines ministers as they work toward the 2019 EMMC in British Columbia.

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