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At the 2013 Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference (EMMC), federal, provincial and territorial ministers discussed North America’s changing energy landscape and the current challenges and opportunities for the Canadian energy sector. The following key themes and priorities were discussed:
Governments have a collective opportunity to enable the sustainable realization of Canada’s enormous resource endowment. By working in partnership, the Government of Canada together with the provinces and territories will ensure that our resources are developed and used responsibly for the benefit of all Canadians.
At the 2013 EMMC, the Ministers recognized that the North American energy landscape is changing rapidly. Technological innovation and the increasing affordability of horizontal drilling and multi-stage hydraulic fracturing technologies are unlocking vast unconventional shale oil and gas resources. The Ministers’ discussion on these issues was informed by a report and accompanying compendium titled Responsible Shale Development: Enhancing the Knowledge Base on Shale Oil and Gas in Canada [PDF - 1.4 MB]. These documents compile and summarize into a single source the major regulatory, environmental protection, scientific research and other initiatives that the federal, provincial and territorial governments have undertaken with respect to shale resource innovation and development. The report will serve as a resource for all jurisdictions to better understand and benefit from the significant efforts across Canada. Going forward, priority action areas will include establishing a knowledge-sharing network focused on key research questions and technical issues and knowledge sharing between Canada and the United States.
In addition, the energy ministers were provided with the document, Canada – A Global Leader in Renewable Energy: Enhancing Collaboration on Renewable Energy Technologies [PDF - 929 KB], which highlights progress in the area of renewable energy and potential collaborative actions as we move forward. Canada’s reliance on electricity produced from renewable energy sources, including, hydro, wind, solar, biomass and marine, is expected to increase further as governments continue to pursue policies encouraging energy innovation and the deployment and integration of lower-emitting sources of electricity. Going forward, collaboration across jurisdictions will be necessary to ensure that Canada maintains its renewable energy advantage and maximizes the potential for future uptake of novel technologies, particularly by supporting increased reliability and system adequacy, ensuring the sustainability of the electricity transmission system, ensuring appropriate engagement with local and Aboriginal communities, and addressing the integration of rising levels of variable renewable electricity.
The Ministers discussed the importance of safe and secure transportation networks to facilitate access to markets for energy producers, and access to domestic energy resources for consumers. Efficient and modern energy transportation systems will help Canada achieve its full potential as a major global energy producer and exporter, while ensuring that domestic demand is satisfied and citizens and the environment remain safe. Positive, substantive progress must continue to be made in improving the security of pipelines and the means of energy transportation while ensuring appropriate engagement with local and First Nations communities. The Ministers agreed that federal, provincial and territorial governments could benefit from a shared understanding of the challenges and opportunities that each jurisdiction faces in maintaining and developing energy transportation infrastructure. The Ministers agreed to continue working together to ensure that Canada has the safe and secure energy transportation infrastructure needed to reach current and future markets.
Since 2007, federal, provincial and territorial partners have made tremendous progress toward greater collaboration and shared best practices with the goal of improving the efficiency of energy use in all sectors across the country. The impact of these efforts was detailed in Moving Forward on Energy Efficiency in Canada: Achieving Results to 2020 and Beyond, endorsed at EMMC 2012. This year, the Ministers received an update for 2013, entitled Energy Efficiency: Taking a Balanced Approach to Energy [PDF - 2.5 MB]. This report summarizes the actions taken over the last year, including the implementation of the 2011 building code and the introduction of the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Benchmarking Program in Canada. The report also showcases the alignment between Canadian collaborative actions and recommendations from the International Energy Agency, such as making energy efficiency affordable and raising the profile and importance of energy efficiency and conservation.
Investments in energy innovation will help maintain Canada’s competitiveness, reduce energy costs for consumers and meet our environmental goals. The Ministers noted the federal government’s investment of $325 million over eight years to continue support for the development and demonstration of new, clean technologies through Sustainable Development Technology Canada. To encourage collaboration and bring forth perspectives on how Canada can best support energy innovation, regional roundtables will be held with provinces and territories as well as key stakeholders.
Mandatory Reporting Standards for Canadian Extractive Companies
Canada is recognized as a world leader in promoting transparency and accountability in the extractive sector both at home and abroad. Prime Minister Harper announced at this year’s G8 summit that Canada will be establishing new mandatory reporting standards for domestic extractive companies.
It is anticipated that the regime will enhance transparency and accountability with regard to material payments such as taxes, licence fees and other receipts to all levels of government domestically and internationally.
The federal government has begun close consultations with the extractive industry along with provincial and territorial counterparts, Aboriginal groups and non-governmental organizations on how to establish the most effective regime.
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