CHARLOTTETOWN, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND--(Marketwire - Sept. 11, 2012) - Federal, provincial and territorial energy and mines ministers agreed this week at their annual conference to pursue collective action to strengthen Canada's position as a global energy and mining leader. The annual Energy and Mines Ministers' Conference, co-chaired by the Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources, and the Honourable Wesley Sheridan, Prince Edward Island's Minister of Finance, Energy and Municipal Affairs, focused on actions needed to realize the economic potential of Canada's energy and mining sectors.
The ministers emphasized the enormous importance that natural resources play in Canada's economy. In 2011 the natural resource sectors accounted for 15 percent of Canada's nominal GDP and directly employed nearly 800,000 Canadians. An equal number of Canadians were employed through related sectors such as industry construction, technology and financial services. Major resource projects currently underway or planned over the next 10 years are estimated to be worth about $650 billion in capital investments.
"Canada's mining sector is poised to undergo significant growth, creating high-quality jobs for Canadians in every part of the country," said Minister Oliver. "But we must do more to fully realize Canada's tremendous resource potential and planned investments. Our success will depend on a world-leading investment environment, greater access to diversified markets, continued innovation, efficient labour markets, stronger environmental protection and enhanced consultations with Aboriginal peoples."
"Over the past two days we've had many discussions about the importance of the natural resource sectors, and particularly the mining industry, on our country's economic well-being," said Minister Sheridan. "There are certainly obstacles to overcome, but I am confident that the Canadian mining industry can greatly benefit from the continued cooperation and collaboration of all levels of government."
In a roundtable discussion, the ministers recognized the significant progress made on regulatory reform and the opportunity to capitalize on measures in the Government of Canada's plan for Responsible Resource Development to further reduce duplication.
During the meeting, the ministers discussed specific measures to reduce regulatory barriers associated with green mining technologies. They also discussed supporting the long-term viability of Canada's mining sector, including through geoscience and innovation, and agreed to a set of performance indicators for the 2013 edition of the Mining Sector Performance Report. The ministers committed to strengthening outreach efforts to ensure Canadians have the facts about these important issues that affect Canada's economy and our quality of life.
The ministers also signed the 4th Intergovernmental Geoscience Accord, reconfirming their commitment to collaboratively manage, disseminate and exchange geoscience information.
Officials will report back to the mines ministers on the progress in these areas at the next annual Energy and Mines Ministers' Conference, which will be hosted by the Government of the Northwest Territories in Yellowknife in August 2013.
In the absence of a Quebec Minister responsible for natural resources, Quebec is not taking a position on those issues.
The backgrounder, Canada's Annual Energy and Mines Ministers' Conference, is available at www.scics.gc.ca.