CHARLOTTETOWN, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND--(Marketwire - Sept. 11, 2012) - Federal, provincial and territorial energy and mines ministers agreed this week at their annual conference to pursue collective action to strengthen Canada's position as a global energy and mining leader. The annual Energy and Mines Ministers' Conference, co-chaired by the Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources, and the Honourable Wesley Sheridan, Prince Edward Island's Minister of Finance, Energy and Municipal Affairs, focused on actions needed to realize the economic potential of Canada's energy and mining sectors.
The ministers emphasized the enormous importance natural resources play in Canada's economy. In 2011, the natural resource sectors accounted for 15 percent of Canada's nominal GDP and directly employed nearly 800,000 Canadians. An equal number of Canadians are employed through related sectors such as construction, technology, manufacturing and financial services. Major resource projects currently underway or planned over the next 10 years are estimated to represent some $650 billion in capital investments.
"Few countries in the world are bringing on energy and mining projects of this scale or at this pace - creating a truly once-in-a-generation opportunity for Canadians," Minister Oliver said. "But we cannot take these investments for granted. We must do more to diversify Canada's access to global markets while ensuring world-class environmental protection, including strong pipeline and marine safety regimes."
"Our discussions over the last two days have reinforced our collective desire to solidify our country's reputation as a global leader when it comes to innovative and responsible approaches to energy," said Minister Sheridan. "The federal, provincial and territorial governments are committed to working together to achieve that goal."
In a roundtable discussion, the ministers agreed on the fundamental importance of capital, market growth and diversification for all of Canada's energy resources. The ministers also recognized the related need for infrastructure to transport our resources to market and for innovation to reduce costs, improve environmental performance, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and create new global market opportunities. The ministers agreed on the need to work in partnership to advance Canada's energy priorities while respecting each other's jurisdiction and recognizing regional strength. They also recognized the significant progress made on regulatory reform and the opportunity to capitalize on measures in the Government of Canada's plan for Responsible Resource Development to further reduce duplication.
To continue improving collaboration across governments on shared energy priorities, the ministers committed to further work in the areas of regulatory reform, labour markets, markets and international trade, energy efficiency and innovation. The ministers also committed to strengthening outreach efforts to ensure Canadians that have the facts about these important issues, which impact Canada's economy and our quality of life. Officials will report back to the ministers on the progress in these areas at the next annual Energy and Mines Ministers' Conference, which will be hosted by the Government of the Northwest Territories in Yellowknife in August 2013.
In the absence of a Quebec Minister responsible for natural resources, Quebec is not taking a position on those issues.
The backgrounder, Canada's Annual Energy and Mines Ministers' Conference, is available at www.scics.gc.ca.