Canada is rich in natural resources and has benefited through its history from trade with other nations. Canada’s natural resources account for approximately 17 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), provide 1.77 million jobs, and contribute close to half of Canada’s total merchandise exports ($231 billion in 2015).
In 2017-18, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) will continue its focus on implementing the commitments articulated in the Prime Minister’s mandate letter to the Minister of Natural Resources, and delivering results for Canadians across its core operations.
Economic growth through innovation
Through innovation, Canada's natural resource sectors can be stronger, more sustainable and more economically competitive. Innovation can also set the course of our economy to create jobs and opportunities for generations to come. Canada’s supportive investment conditions and highly educated workforce provide the basic conditions needed to develop products, techniques and services which will support the transformation of existing industries and the ability to seize new market opportunities.
In 2017-18, NRCan will provide leadership and scientific expertise in advancing clean technology in Canada’s natural resource sectors; innovation to improve efficiency, productivity and environmental performance in energy, forestry and mining; and, develop a federal-provincial-territorial forest bioeconomy framework.
CANADIAN ENERGY STRATEGY
Through the Prime Minister’s mandate letter to the Minister of Natural Resources, the Government of Canada committed to work with provinces and territories to advance a Canadian Energy Strategy.
During 2015 and 2016, the federal government worked in collaboration with provinces and territories to identify joint priorities across all jurisdictions.
In December 2016, Energy Ministers presented a Joint Action Plan for First Ministers that identified a set of collective commitments in four priority areas including:
- Energy Efficiency: aligning standards, updating building codes, and facilitating adoption of energy management systems for industry
- Energy Infrastructure: exploring new and enhanced electricity interconnections, smart electricity grids, natural gas infrastructure, and improved regulatory review processes
- Energy Technology and Innovation: expanding RD&D cooperation and investment and reducing reliance on diesel in remote communities
- International Energy Collaboration: deepening collaboration on international energy issues, including joint missions.
Given that energy accounts for 80 percent of Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, this work will also contribute to the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change and support clean economic growth to help Canada transition to a low carbon economy.
The collaborative approach taken between federal, provincial and territorial governments is an important step in reducing GHG emissions and enabling sustainable economic growth. Governments will review progress annually to assess the effectiveness of collective actions and ensure continual improvement
Effective action on climate change
NRCan is actively supporting Canada’s policy, research, and regulatory response to clean growth and climate change. In the year ahead, the Department will:
- Implement NRCan’s components of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Changei including new building codes, electric vehicle charging stations, reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, and protecting and enhancing carbon stored in our forested lands, as well as joint actions with provinces and territories under the Canadian Energy Strategy (see accompanying text box);
- Advance international collaboration including through Mission Innovation, a global initiative aimed at accelerating clean energy research and technology development, and under the North American Clean Energy and Environment Agreement to advance clean energy and integration of energy resources (including renewables), improve energy efficiency, accelerate clean energy innovation and strengthen the reliability, resilience and security of the North American electricity grid; and
- Improve understanding of the cumulative effects of natural resource development and to inform climate change adaptation efforts.
Increase trade and foreign direct investment
Canada’s vast resource endowment comes with both intergenerational responsibilities as well as significant opportunities. Working closely with other federal partners, domestic and international governments, and stakeholders in Canada and abroad, NRCan will promote trade and investment as well as greater access to foreign markets to maintain Canada’s overall natural resources advantage.
Key priorities for 2017-18 are to: foster relations with the new US administration to support joint trade and infrastructure priorities; support the application of interim principles guiding Government of Canada decisions on major resource projects; work with international partners on science; and complete the implementation of Canada’s obligations under the Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act, part of a global initiative to increase accountability and combat corruption.
Improved relationships with, and outcomes for, Indigenous peoples
The Prime Minister has asked all Ministers to do their part to support a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership. This renewed relationship is essential for moving forward on a national reconciliation agenda.
In 2017-18 and beyond, NRCan will support this priority by: expanding engagement with Indigenous peoples including through the development of joint monitoring environmental committees for pipeline and major projects; supporting necessary boundary clarification for Indigenous land rights through the work of the Surveyor Generalii and promoting economic partnerships.
Greater safety and security for Canadians
Natural hazards such as floods, earthquakes and forest fires can have devastating impacts on the lives of Canadians, as well as the security of Canada’s natural resource infrastructure and overall economy. In order to help ensure Canadians have information to manage their lands and natural resources and are protected from related risks, NRCan’s 2017-18 priorities are: advancing the Canadian Wildland Fire Strategy, and collaborating with Transport Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) to support the implementation of the Oceans Protection Planiii.
NRCan will also continue work on pipeline and offshore safety, including: using its science and R&D to inform the development of new codes and standards applied to pipeline safety and integrity; certifying individuals in the energy industry to conduct non-destructive testing on materials used in pipelines (and other applications); acting on recommendations for the modernization of the National Energy Board (NEB); and using NRCan-produced mapping data to inform planning and regulatory decisions on pipeline proposals.
For more information on NRCan’s plans, priorities and planned results, see the “Planned results” section of this report.