Operating context: conditions affecting our work

Natural resources are an important factor in Canada’s history and future. The Government of Canada’s inclusive clean growth and low-carbon agenda involves investing in infrastructure and innovation to deepen Canada’s relationships with developed and emerging markets. These actions are helping drive the sector’s transformation and competitiveness in a low-carbon world, while also getting our resources to market.


  • World’s third-largest per capita resources endowment, with significant untapped resources in Canada’s North;
  • World’s top destination for non-ferrous mining exploration;
  • World’s third-largest forest area, and the global leader in forest certification;
  • Amongst the world’s cleanest and lowest-cost producers of electricity – over 80 percent non-GHG-emitting;
  • Global leader in public geoscience; and
  • A vibrant, growing clean technology sector that generates $11 billion in annual revenues

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is predicting a 3.7 percent global growth rate from 2018 to 2021. This growth will be driven in part by rising demand in emerging markets, albeit at slower rates than these countries have experienced over the past number of years. Although the global economy continues to regain momentum and the US is experiencing its longest expansion since 2008 along with a strengthened US dollar, global growth projections continue to slow. China’s economy is following an uneven path of economic rebalancing as it expands its domestic supply chains, while reducing its dependence on imported goods.

Canada has felt the recent impacts from a weaker global economy and lagging demand for its natural resources. However, Canada is positioning itself to take advantage of these shifting geopolitical conditions and emerging markets abroad. The IMF has identified Canada as having the greatest growth prospects amongst the G-7 from 2017 to 2021. Canada has a stable investment climate, strong regulatory regime that attracts investment, and some of the world’s most attractive resource assets. Canada also has the advantage of being a trading nation in close proximity to the world’s major markets for natural resources.

Building the necessary infrastructure to deliver Canada’s vast energy resources to markets abroad is increasingly imperative as our traditional market of the US becomes more reliant on domestic sources and energy demand in Asia continues to grow. The Government is engaging Canadians, working with Indigenous peoples and basing its decisions on science and evidence to restore the public confidence necessary to ensure Canada has the modern energy infrastructure capacity needed for current and future generations.

In December 2016, Canada put into place in partnership with provinces and territories, the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change (PCF)x, to transition to a low-carbon economy. A progressive, flexible and predictable approach to pricing carbon across Canada will help create clean jobs and new economic opportunities. After doubling between 2005 and 2014, the global clean technologies market is widely expected to triple by 2020 to a value of $3 trillion. The measures put in place through the PCF will make a difference in creating a clean growth economy for Canada that advances environmental and economic interests.