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Sustainable Development Strategy 2007- 2009
Achieving Results

Appendix 1: Departmental Mandate and Organization

Natural Resources Canada is an economic, science-based department with a mandate to: promote the sustainable development and responsible use of Canada’s mineral, energy, and forest resources; develop an understanding of Canada’s landmass; and, collect and disseminate knowledge on sustainable resource development. The Department conducts research and technical surveys to assess Canada’s resources, including the geological structure and legal boundaries. NRCan is also authorized to: provide the national framework of reference for spatial positioning; prepare and publish maps; conduct scientific and economic research related to energy, forestry, mining and metallurgical industries; and establish and operate scientific laboratories for these purposes.

By legislation, the Minister of Natural Resources is responsible for:

  • Coordinating, promoting, recommending and implementing policies, programs and practices pertaining to the mandate of NRCan;
  • Fostering the integrated management and sustainable development of Canada’s natural resources;
  • Helping in the development and promotion of Canadian scientific and technological capabilities;
  • Gathering, compiling, analyzing coordinating and disseminating information respecting scientific, technological, economic, industrial, managerial, marketing, and related activities and developments affecting Canada’s natural resources;
  • Improving remote-sensing technology and promoting the development of the Canadian remote-sensing industry;
  • Encouraging the responsible development and use of Canada’s natural resources, and the competitiveness of Canada’s natural resource products;
  • Working to widen and promote markets for Canada’s natural resource products and geomatics industries, both at home and abroad; and,
  • Working in partnership with provincial/territorial governments and non- governmental organizations in Canada, and promoting cooperation among nations and international organizations.

Departmental Mandate

NRC is responsible for federal resource policies, and science and technology that support the sustainable development and competitiveness of the energy, forest, minerals and metals sectors, and their allied industries. The Department enables the Government of Canada to address resource issues in a comprehensive manner, from a national perspective.

Other Entities

NRCan maintains a special relationship with nine entities which report to Parliament through the Minister of Natural Resources. These entities include: two Crown corporations (Atomic Energy of Canada Limited and the Cape Breton Development Corporation); four regulatory tribunals (the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the National Energy Board, the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board); two departmental agencies (the Northern Pipeline Agency and the Energy Supplies Allocation Board); and one foundation (Sustainable Development Technology Canada).

These entities are not included in the Sustainable Development Strategy of the Department.


NRCan is organized into seven sectors and three branches, and also includes the Shared Services Office and the Office of the Chief Scientist.

The Strategic Policy Sector is NRCan’s centre for strategic policy leadership, expertise and advice for departmental and portfolio priorities, horizontal policy issues and initiatives, and sustainable development in Canada and internationally. It leads the development and implementation of the Sustainable Development Strategy.

The Earth Sciences Sector is the Government of Canada’s principal agency for earth science knowledge and information. Geomatics Canada provides a reliable system of surveys, remotely sensed data as well as geographically referenced information describing the Canadian landmass. The Geological Survey of Canada is a principal contributor to Canada’s comprehensive geoscience knowledge base. The Polar Continental Shelf project contributes to scientific research in our Arctic regions by providing comprehensive logistics support.

The Canadian Forest Service promotes the sustainable development of Canada’s forests and the competitiveness of the Canadian forest sector for the well-being of present and future generations of Canadians. As the premier forestry S&T research and national policy coordination agency in Canada, the Canadian Forest Service plays a pivotal role in building consensus on key forest issues, in shaping the national and international forest agendas, and in generating and transferring knowledge through its Canada-wide world-class forestry research centres.

The Minerals and Metals Sector promotes the sustainable development of Canada’s minerals and metals resources industry by integrating economic, social and environmental objectives. It provides policy advice, S&T, as well as commodity and statistical information in support of decision making. It is also the federal government’s primary source of expertise on explosives regulations and technology.

The Energy Policy Sector (EPS) is comprised of the Electricity Resources Branch, the Petroleum Resources Branch, the Office of Energy Research and Development, and the Domestic and International Policy Branches. EPS is responsible for the development of policies related to energy issues in areas of federal jurisdiction, working closely with provincial and territorial governments, industry and other stakeholders. EPS is also responsible for: enhancing and advancing the government’s energy interests and concerns, both domestically and internationally; and providing corporate leadership for developing broad strategic directions for the federal government’s objectives with regard to climate change and air quality.

The Energy Technologies Programs Sector (ETPS) is comprised of the Office of Energy Efficiency and the CANMET Energy Technology Centre. ETPS provides Canada’s leadership in developing and implementing energy S&T and energy efficiency policy and programs for NRCan. ETPS focusses on clean energy supply, clean air, energy security and energy efficiency through: energy S&T, technology demonstrations, market transformation, outreach, and stimulating engagement. An integrated set of information programs, regulations and S&T activities plays a key role in meeting policy objectives for the sustainable production and use of Canada’s energy resources.

The Corporate Management Sector provides NRCan with a systematic, directional and guiding approach to achieve its strategic and operational objectives through leadership in the areas of finance, human resources, health and safety and emergency management, information management, information technology, access to information and privacy, and real property.

The Communications Branch, the Audit and Evaluation Branch and the Legal Services Branch contribute to improved accountability as well as an increased understanding of NRCan’s mandate and programs among Canadians, clients and employees.

The Shared Services Office (SSO) provides timely, reliable and efficient administrative services to support clients in achieving NRCan’s objectives. SSO provides services to the Department in a range of operational areas: finance, procurement and contracting, records and forms management, information technology, human resources, mail and messenger, fleet management and parking operations, accommodation management, and telecommunications.

The Office of the Chief Scientist is responsible for positioning Natural Resources Canada as a leader in the performance of science and technology. The Office works closely with the departmental science sectors as well as other science-based departments and agencies, both nationally and internationally, to ensure the excellence and relevance of our laboratories and science programs. The Office of the Chief Scientist also oversees the NRCan On-Line secretariat, which enables NRCan to deliver its programs and services to Canadians through the Internet.

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