Canada’s abundant natural resources are the backbone of our economy.
This country has an enormous wealth of natural resources: from the world’s third-largest proven oil reserves to vast natural gas fields, tremendous hydroelectric capacity, massive tracts of forests and an abundance of minerals and metals.
Our natural resources and the wealth they generate help give Canadians a quality of life that is second to none.
It’s no exaggeration to say that the resource sector is the cornerstone of Canada’s economy. Natural resources account for nearly 15 percent of our gross domestic product (GDP) and 50 percent of our exports. When you include the spin-off industries that provide goods and services to the sector, natural resources account for nearly 20 percent of our GDP.
The energy, mining and forestry industries provide over $30 billion a year in revenue to governments — money that supports critical social programs such as health, education and public pensions. That $30 billion is equal to half of all spending by governments on hospitals in Canada last year.
About 800,000 Canadians currently work in natural resource sectors. Another 800,000 in every province and territory work in industries that service the sector. That’s a powerful economic engine, creating 10 percent of all jobs in Canada.
Natural resources jobs are in every part of Canada from coast to coast to coast — in rural communities, in the North and in Aboriginal communities. The natural resource sectors employ about 32,000 Aboriginal Canadians, making the natural resource sector the largest private sector employer of Aboriginal people. In the oil sands, about 10 percent of the workforce is Aboriginal. To help bolster Aboriginal participation in resource development, Budget 2012 allocated $691.8 million to support Aboriginal skills development, education and infrastructure.
Natural resources are driving economic growth across the country. They are creating good jobs, not only directly but also indirectly, in manufacturing, clerical work, skilled trades and financial services.
Today, Canada stands on the doorstep of a historic new opportunity to capitalize on its natural resource advantage.
There’s a potential for massive investments in resource sectors in every region. An estimated $650 billion could be invested in more than 600 major resource projects over the next 10 years. These investments will generate enormous economic growth and create hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs in communities across Canada.
To seize this opportunity, our Government has put in place its plan for Responsible Resource Development.
Responsible Resource Development achieves the right balance to unleash the potential of our resource sectors to create high-value jobs across Canada while strengthening safety and environmental protection.