Resource sector crucial to economic recovery
The national Task Force for Real Jobs, Real Recovery launched to draw up a blueprint for Canada’s economic recovery as the country emerges from the COVID-19 crisis.
And that recovery will hinge on the resource sector’s ability to flourish, state industry leaders.
The Task Force is supported by a coalition of over 25 industry associations, unions, professional organizations and Indigenous organizations representing the energy, manufacturing, transportation, forestry and construction sectors. A group of 20 expert advisors has been appointed to help develop and communicate a forthcoming set of policy recommendations for rebuilding Canada’s economic prosperity.
Resource Works Executive Director Stewart Muir says Canada has to keep its competitive edge to create jobs in the post-pandemic recovery.
“Canada must not only maintain our competitive advantages, but also actively leverage them in the recovery effort,” says Muir. “Chief among these is our capacity to produce low-emissions natural resource commodities under robust environmental, social and governance conditions. These are key components of a broader resource ecosystem that is the engine of Canada’s future.”
“Canada is a leader in responsible energy development, and we have the resource base that can grow to meet energy demand globally. Canada can leverage these advantages as the rest of the world recovers, too,” says Chris Bloomer, President and CEO, Canadian Energy Pipeline Association. “Emissions reduction and environmental sustainability are key priorities. However, the idea that we can relaunch our economy without oil and natural gas ignores reality. Energy needs to be transported to where the demand is and pipelines are the safest, most responsible way to move oil and natural gas.”
The Task Force will complete its package of policy measures by the end of July, at which time it will present its recommendations to key federal government decision-makers, as well as to the Industry Strategy Council, a federal initiative launched in response to the economic effects of COVID-19.
“During the pandemic we have seen first-hand the immeasurable value of using sustainably Canadian-sourced pulp to make medical masks, hospital gowns, and sanitary paper products,” says Derek Nighbor, President and CEO, Forest Products Association of Canada. “As we push through COVID-19 and look to build back better, we have an opportunity to use Canadian wood products and what would otherwise be wood waste from our sawmills to make biomaterials and bioenergy to help build up and power lower-carbon communities. In seizing our natural Canadian advantage and our commitment to sustainable forest management we can at the same time drive economic opportunity in rural and northern Canada by growing family-supporting jobs in over 600 communities — at a time when these jobs are so desperately needed.”
“Resource industries are the backbone of this country. One working oil rig creates over 175 direct and indirect jobs primarily in rural communities. Providing the world with the products it needs in an environmentally responsible way and rebuilding our economy at the same time is an opportunity we are lucky to have as Canadians, and we should be grateful for it,” says Mark Scholz, President and CEO, Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors.
Statistics Canada reported that the Canadian economy shrank 11.6 per cent in April — the largest monthly drop on record. That followed a 7.5 per cent contraction in gross domestic product in March. Both will result in lost tax revenue to a government that badly needs it.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s recent fiscal snapshot showed the federal government’s deficit is expected to hit $343 billion this year.