Canada is rich in natural resources and has benefited through its history from trade with other nations. Canada’s natural resources account for approximately 16 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), provide 1.74 million jobs, and contribute close to half of Canada’s total merchandise exports ($201 billion in 2016).
Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is focused on implementing the commitments articulated in the Prime Minister’s mandate letter to the Minister of Natural Resources, and is delivering results for Canadians across its three Core Responsibilities:
- Natural Resource Science and Risk Mitigation;
- Innovative and Sustainable Natural Resources Development; and
- Globally Competitive Natural Resources Sectors.
In 2018-19, NRCan will focus on five priority areas pertaining to clean technology and the transition to a low-carbon economy, science, market access and competitiveness, and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
Accelerating development of clean technology and the transition to a low-carbon economy
Transitioning to the low-carbon economy and meeting climate change targets requires an integrated approach to clean growth policy, research and regulation, as well as significant investment in clean technology.
In 2018-19, NRCan will work with the provinces, territories, Indigenous peoples and other federal partners to build on the 2017-18 Generation Energy dialogue, advance joint actions under the Canadian Energy Strategy and implement NRCan-led initiatives under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. An important 2018-2019 milestone will be the release of the Generation Energy Council Report in the late spring of 2018, with guiding advice to the Government of Canada on a long-term vision for the energy transition. Among specific actions under the Pan-Canadian Framework, NRCan will invest in clean energy through the Green Infrastructure Program, funding research, development, demonstration and deployment projects in areas such as energy efficiency, smart grids, and reducing reliance on diesel in rural and remote communities. NRCan will also accelerate innovation in the energy sector by making strategic investments through the Energy Innovation Program, and will advance clean technology in Canada’s natural resources sectors through the Clean Growth Program. Furthermore, the department’s engineering, scientific and technical specialists will continue collaborative work with stakeholders under the Green Mining Initiative to develop clean technologies. As part of the Impact Canada Initiative, NRCan will also launch a number of Clean Technology Challenges to introduce innovative program approaches to unlock breakthrough solutions to complex and persistent problems. Collectively, these programs will improve environmental performance, and create economic opportunities in energy, forestry and mining.
NRCan’s domestic initiatives are part of Canada’s global leadership, and the department is supporting Canada’s G7 Presidency through the Ministerial meeting on Working Together on Climate Change, Oceans and Clean Energy. Our program investments are also fulfilling Canada’s Mission Innovation commitment with international partners to accelerate clean energy innovation, improve affordability, and drive economic growth by doubling federal investment in research and development over five years. Looking forward to 2019-20, Canada will host both the 4th Mission Innovation and the 10thClean Energy Ministerial events, and is leading or co-leading current multilateral efforts under the two Ministerial initiatives on issues ranging from Clean Energy Materials to Women in Clean Energy.
Strengthening Canada’s resilience to key natural and human-induced hazards including climate change
Natural and human-induced hazards can have devastating impacts on the lives of Canadians, as well as the security of Canada’s natural resource infrastructure and overall economy.
In 2018-19, NRCan will enable improved management of key risks. The department will work with provinces and territories to move the Canadian Wildland Fire Strategy into its implementation phase, and will place an emphasis on fighting the spread of the Spruce Budworm. Preparedness for, and response to natural disasters will be improved by the development of new geospatial approaches to address flood risks, and completion of enhanced earthquake monitoring infrastructure; in addition, all funding for Building Regional Climate Change Adaptation Capacity and Expertise will be fully committed to delivery organizations working with the provinces. Furthermore, actions will be taken to increase the cybersecurity of critical energy infrastructure; and, actions will be taken to strengthen regulations, increase inspections and outreach, and partner with the chemical industry and its distributors to increase awareness of and compliance with explosives regulations.
Enhancing our sustainable resource advantage through science
To maintain Canada’s competitive advantage, build a more sustainable resource future, and meet the highest standards of stewardship, we must leverage our scientific knowledge and expertise.
In 2018-19, NRCan will launch initiatives to advance the use of geospatial and Earth Observation science to better inform decisions on sustainable development. The department will move years of unprecedented data collection and analysis from the seabed towards submission to the UN for the delineation of Canada’s Arctic extended continental shelf. In addition to delivering the scientific mandate of NRCan, in 2018-19 the department will also support Government of Canada horizontal science priorities. This will include support for Arctic science under the Arctic Policy Framework led by Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada for the Government of Canada, and co-developed with territories, provinces and Indigenous communities; engaging academia and industry on the exploration of opportunities for enhanced collaboration on Artificial Intelligence in the natural resources sectors; and, developing a Science Integrity Policy which protects the ability of NRCan scientists to publicly share results.
Improving market access and competitiveness
Canada is one of the world’s most competitive jurisdictions in energy, mining and forestry; however, the global competitiveness landscape is evolving.
In 2018-19, NRCan will support the Bill C-69 legislative processes establishing the new Canadian Energy Regulator and the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada to restore investor confidence, re-build public trust and advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. NRCan will work with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and other federal partners to ensure the timely implementation of a suite of new regulations to accompany the Impact Assessment Act under Bill C-69; in particular, the department will engage its Atlantic joint management partners and the two Offshore Petroleum Boards to modernize the offshore regulatory regime. To help Canada’s natural resources reach new markets, and to promote economic growth and job creation, NRCan will provide robust support for moving forward on major projects, such as Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. Furthermore, as part of rebuilding public trust in how decisions about resource development projects are made, NRCan will co-lead with Environment and Climate Change Canada the delivery of an online Open Science and Data Platform which will provide public access to the science and data that support decision-making on projects, such as major pipelines and mines.
NRCan will work closely with provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous partners, as well as industry and other stakeholders to examine competitiveness issues impacting Canada’s natural resources sectors to ensure that Canada seizes opportunities for economic growth and innovation. A new Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan will be developed together with provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous peoples, industry and other partners to position Canadian mining for long-term success at home and abroad. The Forest Bioeconomy Framework for Canada – developed by the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers with key stakeholders – will move into its implementation phase, facilitating opportunities for renewable bioenergy, biomaterials and other bioproducts that limit or reduce carbon output while preserving biodiversity. Furthermore, the department will support the Economic Strategy Tables initiative led by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada; in particular, for Clean Technology, and Resources of the Future.
Active engagement will be continued with the United States, Mexico and priority markets in Asia to advance Canada’s natural resource sectors’ interests, improve market access, promote commercial partnerships and reinforce the mutual benefits of trade in natural resources. Engagement with the United States and Mexico will build upon the existing agreement for ongoing trilateral energy co-operation focussed on initiatives related to safety, security and resiliency; trade and economic development; and diversifying energy resources.
Advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples
The Government of Canada is committed to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples through a renewed, nation-to-nation, government-to-government, and Inuit-Crown relationship based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.
In 2018-19, and across all its activities, NRCan will prioritize Indigenous Traditional Knowledge and working in partnership with Indigenous Peoples. Specific emphasis will be placed on consulting and engaging with Indigenous peoples early and meaningfully; for example, by ensuring impact assessments for major projects are informed by Indigenous Traditional Knowledge as well as robust science, and by collaborating on key initiatives such as processes for the establishment of the new Canadian Energy Regulator, follow-up to Generation Energy, the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan, the co-developed Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committees for projects, as well as the department’s contributions to both the Arctic Policy Framework (led by Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada) and delivering the vast majority of actions committed to in the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change (led by Environment and Climate Change Canada). NRCan will also put emphasis on enhancing Indigenous participation in the full lifecycle of energy infrastructure projects, forestry, clean technology and green energy initiatives. Furthermore, the Indigenous culture, knowledge and representation within NRCan will be increased with recruitment, training, and awareness.
For more information on NRCan’s plans, priorities and planned results, see the “Planned results” section of this report.