Counting on Canada’s Resources

Find out about the Task Force For Real Jobs, Real Recovery’s plan to get Canadians back to work.

by Caroline Fyvie

Stewart Muir, Executive Director of Resource Works, is no stranger to standing up for Canada’s natural resources. Well before the pandemic, things weren’t great for the energy sectors in British Columbia and Alberta, and Muir was focused on advocating for them.

“B.C. and Alberta have been subjected to an unusual amount of stress when it comes to licenses and regulatory processes. It has taken the length of two world wars to get the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion process to where it is today, and it’s not even finished.” Muir said on the July edition of the CAODC podcast.

Stewart Muir, Executive Director of Resource Works

Resource Works is a non-partisan, not-for-profit research group that began in B.C. in 2013. Its mission is to bring people together for respectful, fact-based dialogues on responsible development. Once the pandemic caused global shutdowns in March and economic impacts were to be expected, Muir had to do something to help. As such, he began a series of Zoom webinars with thought leaders in different resource industries. After speaking with these experts about the state of their industries and Canada’s economy, Muir understood he needed to shift the group’s ideas to a broader scale and share them with the entire country.

“It was a bit of a process. We have been working in B.C. for a number of years. This is an opportunity for us to go to the national level. I think the time is right to take the ideas we’ve developed, which have been Western in nature, and bring them to the whole country. Because we’re in this unprecedented economic crisis, and we need ideas wherever they come from.” Muir said.

To bring his idea to life, Muir enlisted the help of policy analyst Karen Graham. Working with Muir, Graham produced a document in May entitled Team Canada for the Rebuild. The report stated, “We should take the opportunity of this enforced pause to consider appropriate public policy to strengthen Canada’s advantages while repairing the structural impediments that have held back the country’s progress in recent years.” The document also provided a solution for advancing a constructive Canada in finding the “Next Normal”. Part of this solution was the idea of a task force.

Muir got to work and the coalition was formed and then named “Task Force for Real Jobs, Real Recovery.” The task force is comprised of 36 associations, unions, professional organizations, and Indigenous organizations from the resource sector, which in this case includes oil and gas, mining, forestry, construction, and manufacturing. The united front is supported by associations such as the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Aboriginal Skilled Workers Association, and First Nations LNG Alliance, to name a few.

The Task Force for Real Jobs, Real Recovery generated a plan and conducted an extensive study during the summer months. From this study came a comprehensive report released on August 19. The document included 19 recommendations which it will deliver to the Federal Government, including the Industry Strategy Council, a federal initiative launched in response to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Economic modelling conducted for the Task Force indicated that with the right conditions, natural resources and manufacturing could create up to 2.6 million new jobs and up to a 17 per cent increase in gross domestic product (GDP). Not only can Canada’s natural resource industries contribute to the economy, but they are environmental leaders who can deliver on climate goals.

“Across Canada’s natural resource industries, innovators are working with governments to reduce emissions and minimize impacts on water, land, air and wildlife and contributing to the advancement of clean technologies and sustainable products. Resource industries are accustomed to change and are ready to work in partnership with government on a dynamic effort to achieve Canada’s climate goals and build a more robust, inclusive and globally competitive economy,” states the report.

The document includes wide-ranging recommendations to inform federal policy direction on Canada’s economic recovery. By clearing the way for innovation, the federal government could secure nation-building resource assets aiding long-term environmental goals and securing Canada’s prosperity.

The recommendations made by the Task Force are focused on:

  • Mobilizing resource prosperity by leveraging Canada’s world-class industries; advancing regulatory efficiency; attracting capital investment; enhancing critical infrastructure; ensuring access to resource lands; and maximizing Indigenous economic participation.
  • Building meaningful employment by ensuring job creation; building employment resiliency; advancing Indigenous employment; and enhancing skilled workforce mobility.
  • Accelerating innovation and environmental competitiveness by aligning climate action and natural resource development; driving challenge-oriented innovation; advancing emissions reduction technologies and plastics innovation; supporting advancements in sustainable forestry and mining; and developing hydrogen and small modular nuclear reactor industries.

If the government pursued even some of the recommendations provided by the Task Force, it would surely help Canadians on the road to recovery. Until then, Muir and the Task Force will continue to empower Canada’s resources industries and share facts with the public to educate them on how we can have an economic recovery that is focused on creating jobs while protecting the environment.

To read the full report and learn more about the Task Force, visit https://realrecovery.ca/.


Quick Facts from the Report:

  • In the first quarter of 2019, resource industries directly contributed $236 billion to Canadian GDP, representing 11.3 per cent of the Canadian economy.
  • An investment in a single oil and gas job creates up to six other jobs across our economy.
  • Indigenous-owned businesses are 40 times more likely to be involved in the mining and oil and gas sectors than the average Canadian business.
  • The resource sector hires twice as many Indigenous employees and pays on average twice as much in wages than other sectors.

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