OTTAWA, ON, Oct. 13, 2022 /CNW/ – Canada’s abundant natural resources and its ability to develop them — sustainably and inclusively — are a significant comparative advantage in the global transition to a net-zero economy. That transition presents a generational economic opportunity for Canadians from coast to coast to coast. A key question on which Canada must collectively focus on is how to build on its regional comparative advantages in a manner that will create good jobs, economic opportunity and prosperity for all Canadians.
A significant part of the answer to that question is the Regional Energy and Resource Tables.
Today, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, announced five more provinces and territories are formally joining the Regional Energy and Resource Tables initiative, which is a partnership between the federal and provincial and territorial governments to support strong communities and job creation in every region of Canada.
With the addition of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories, and the Yukon, a total of eight provinces and territories are now participating in the Regional Energy and Resource Tables — after British Columbia, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador helped launch Phase 1 on June 1, 2022. The federal government is setting up these tables during the next several months with the goal of establishing them with all 13 provinces and territories by early 2023.
At the federal level, the Regional Tables are an initiative led by Natural Resources Canada, involving multiple federal institutions, including Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada, the Regional Development Agencies and the Canada Infrastructure Bank. The Regional Energy and Resource Tables are collaborative fora that will bring the federal, provincial and territorial governments together with Indigenous partners, union partners, municipalities, industry, workers, experts and civil society to advance the top economic priorities in the natural resources space in every region of Canada through the development of place-based economic strategies. The Regional Energy and Resource Tables will gather input from relevant partners and seek to align resources, timelines and regulatory approaches to capitalize on key regional opportunities and priorities.
This collaboration will significantly advance the realization of economic opportunities that could range from mining critical minerals for made-in-Canada electric vehicles and batteries, to hydrogen in several regions across the country, to building small modular reactors. Other initiatives might include developing biofuels, making greater use of technologies such as carbon capture, utilization and storage, or advancing wind projects on the East Coast to generate clean electricity.
The Regional Energy and Resource Tables will help ensure that federal funding from existing sources are directed toward top regional priorities and projects, including the $8-billion Net Zero Accelerator, the $35-billion Canada Infrastructure Bank and the $3.8 billion allocated in Budget 2022 to implement Canada’s first Critical Minerals Strategy. The Regional Energy and Resource Tables will also identify areas in which incremental resources may be required.
At the federal level, the Regional Energy and Resource Tables are being led by Natural Resources Canada while involving multiple federal institutions, including Innovation, Science and Development Canada; the Regional Development Agencies; and the Canada Infrastructure Bank.
By working together, Canadians will create the good jobs and enduring prosperity that will come with the unprecedented economic opportunities of building a net-zero world.
“Just as any successful business must be capable of interpreting and reacting to changes in the business environment, countries must also be capable of thoughtful response and action to sustain and enhance their level of prosperity. This initiative will enable provinces, territories, the federal government and key Indigenous partners to collectively accelerate economic activity and position Canada as an economic leader in the global shift toward a low-carbon future.”
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Natural Resources Canada, Government of Canada
“With the highest tides and some of the best offshore wind in the world, we’re using our natural resources to our advantage in Nova Scotia to develop our renewable energy markets. Through the Regional Energy and Resource Tables, we look forward to further collaboration with our colleagues across Canada to reach our ambitious climate change goals and create green jobs here at home.”
The Honourable Tory Rushton
Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables, Government of Nova Scotia
“As a province, we are very clear that our transition to net zero is a top priority. We know we require more resources to achieve our ambitious climate goals and look forward to working with the federal government and key partners to ensure a sustainable future for Prince Edward Island. We have unique circumstances in the Atlantic region, and we anticipate important discussions surrounding battery storage, carbon capture, electrification and other innovative ideas and technologies we can implement on the path to net zero.”
The Honourable Steven Myers
Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Action, Government of Prince Edward Island
“We look forward to the Table discussions and applaud Minister Wilkinson for this important initiative, which will help us align with the federal government on our provincial priorities such as small modular reactor development and hydrogen production and provide an opportunity for our key stakeholders to give input as we transition our economy to a net-zero world.”
The Honourable Mike Holland
Minister of Natural Resources and Energy Development, Government of New Brunswick
“The Northwest Territories is well positioned for economic growth and prosperity while deploying the energy solutions we need to make a successful transition to a low-carbon economy that runs on reliable, affordable energy. The territorial 2030 Energy Strategy advances several transformational energy projects such as transmission lines to bring clean hydro to diesel communities and the Taltson hydroelectricity expansion project to develop NWT clean energy potential. Through the spirit of collaboration and partnership at the Regional Energy and Resource Tables with all levels of government, including Indigenous leadership, we can advance priorities important to all 33 communities in the Northwest Territories, create lasting economic opportunities, and promote the well-being of northerners for generations to come.”
The Honourable Diane Archie
Minister of Infrastructure, Government of the Northwest Territories
“The Northwest Territories’ resource sector is at an exciting moment in its history. With a rich supply of critical minerals and a regulatory framework that places environmental protection and Indigenous rights at the centre of decision-making, we are at the heart of ESG-I and future green energy solutions. We will continue working with our partners to create a strong, responsible resource sector that contributes to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in Canada and supports our goal of becoming a leader in Canada’s low-carbon economy.”
The Honourable Caroline Wawzonek
Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, Government of the Northwest Territories
“The Yukon has many of the resources needed for the transition to a low-carbon economy and our government is proud to be advancing the territory to a green future. We look forward to continuing to work with the federal government, First Nations and all partners through the Regional Energy and Resource Tables to support a responsible and sustainable resource sector that keeps our environment and the generations to come in mind.”
The Honourable John Streicker
Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, Government of Yukon
- Budget 2022 included $25 million to launch the Regional Energy and Resource Tables to work with provinces, territories, Indigenous partners and relevant stakeholders to advance regional economic growth opportunities, accelerate energy transformation priorities and create sustainable jobs. This initiative was referred to in the Budget as Regional Strategic Initiatives.
- The Regional Energy and Resource Tables will build on work done by the Industry Strategy Council, which brings together business leaders to offer experienced perspectives from key sectors of our economy and to engage with a diverse set of businesses and stakeholders from coast to coast to coast, including labour and Indigenous Peoples. In its report “Restart, recover, and reimagine prosperity for all Canadians” released in 2020, the Council provided recommendations to:
- support all natural resource sectors in becoming global Environmental, Social Governance suppliers and product innovators;
- leverage clean technology strengths to accelerate exports and domestic adoption and decarbonize key industrial sectors; and
- incentivize all sectors to meet Paris commitments with a cost- and time-optimal decarbonization pathway.
- In the coming months, the Government of Canada will announce the details of the Pan-Canadian Grid Council, a technical advisory group with a mandate of removing barriers to providing clean electricity to every region of Canada by 2035. The Council will feed into the Regional Energy and Resource Tables process.
- The Government of Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan: Canada’s Next Steps for Clean Air and a Strong Economy is a detailed plan that lays out an achievable sector-by-sector path toward Canada’s emissions reduction target of 40–45 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050.
The Regional Energy and Resource Tables are a collaborative initiative between the federal government and the provinces and territories designed to identify, prioritize and pursue opportunities for sustainable job creation and economic growth in Canada’s natural resource sectors as the world transitions to net zero.
Phase 2 of the Regional Energy and Resource Tables was launched on October 13, with New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon.
Progress to date under Regional Energy and Resource Tables Phase 1
Since the launch of Phase 1, the Government of Canada has engaged in regular discussions — at multiple levels — with the participating provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as with Indigenous partners and organizations in those three provinces.
These efforts have led to the identification of a number of shared priorities, the creation of work streams and the first steps toward developing action plans to align resources, timelines and regulatory approaches to seize those opportunities.
The following are snapshots of the early progress made through Phase 1:
- British Columbia — Priority areas in discussion include critical minerals, sustainable forestry, clean fuels (including hydrogen), electrification, carbon capture and removal, and collaboration on regulatory processes. Following Minister Wilkinson’s speech at the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, work on a joint action plan has begun and trilateral Indigenous engagement is being explored along with efforts to coordinate support for opportunities that align with the joint priorities of both B.C. and Canada.
- Manitoba — Discussions are underway to identify the top priority areas for the province. As part of those efforts, Minister Wilkinson also visited Winnipeg, where he spoke at the Chamber of Commerce and engaged with some of the province’s leading industry representatives. Planning for trilateral Indigenous engagement is being explored and expected to be finalized this fall.
- Newfoundland and Labrador — Priority areas in discussion are wind-generated electricity to produce hydrogen and the broader electrification of the economy, as well as critical minerals and carbon capture, utilization and storage. Minister Wilkinson highlighted these opportunities during his July 5 speech to the St. John’s Board of Trade. The work of the Regional Tables also aligns well with the visit by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador in August 2022 to create a transatlantic Canada–Germany supply corridor for Canadian hydrogen exports by 2025. Planning for trilateral engagement with Indigenous partners is being explored and expected to be finalized this fall.
In addition, the federal government and all three provincial governments remain committed to working in close collaboration with relevant experts and key stakeholders such as industry partners and labour representatives.
Roll out of Regional Energy and Resource Tables Phase 2 and Next Steps
In the coming months, officials from the Government of Canada and provincial and territorial governments will engage formally to:
- enlist the expertise of industry leaders, union partners and workers;
- carry out trilateral Indigenous engagement related to regional priorities;
- develop regional action plans;
- support priority projects and initiatives; and
- continuous engagement and revisiting work done to date.
Through the Regional Energy and Resource Tables, the federal government will continue to work with the provinces and territories to grow the economy, create sustainable jobs and lower emissions from coast to coast to coast.
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SOURCE Natural Resources Canada