A national coalition of businesses, unions, professional organizations, including the Surrey Board of Trade, and Indigenous advocacy organizations has joined together to draw up a blueprint for Canada’s economic recovery as the country emerges from the COVID-19 crisis. The Task Force for Real Jobs, Real Recovery includes 23 member organizations from the energy, manufacturing, transportation, forestry, construction and industrial maintenance industries and represents over a quarter of a million businesses and over 2.5 million workers across Canada.
The Task Force is convened by Resource Works, a non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to the responsible development of Canada’s resources while maintaining a clean and healthy environment. Resource Works Executive Director Stewart Muir says Canada has to keep its competitive edge to create jobs in the post-pandemic recovery.
“Canada must not only maintain our competitive advantages, but also actively leverage them in the recovery effort,” says Muir.
“Chief among these is our capacity to produce low-emissions natural resource commodities under robust environmental, social and governance conditions. These are key components of a broader resource ecosystem that is the engine of Canada’s future.”
The work of the Task Force is to develop a package of policy measures by the end of July to be presented to key government decision-makers, as well as to the Industry Strategy Council, a recent federal initiative in response to the economic effects of COVID-19. The Real Jobs, Real Recovery advisory group is continuing to meet and is in the process of preparing its report and recommendations.
“Government leaders have been asking for ideas, and we are responding,” says Muir. “Resource industries are rising to the challenge of articulating a future that shows they understand society’s high expectations and are providing meaningful solutions. I’m persuaded that all Canadians can be inspired by the incredible possibilities for natural resource activities and products to enrich our lives and protect the environment, and I look forward to discussing this with others.”
A broad national coalition
With job growth likely to be uneven and slow, whole sectors will remain effectively mothballed, maybe well into 2021. Building real jobs means identifying areas of real opportunity. Fortunately, we already know where we have unassailable strategic advantages. It will make sense to start the recovery efforts by targeting areas within our control where markets are already waiting for the goods and services that result from people getting to work.
The Task Force membership, mandate and other information is available on the Task Force for Real Jobs, Real Recovery website (realrecovery.ca).
“Canada’s resource companies are in position to be key drivers of Canada’s economic recovery and lay the foundations for the world’s transition to a lower carbon economy. But to achieve this, the sector needs more targeted measures to support existing projects within the regulatory system and for government to conduct a sober assessment of the costs that new regulatory standards are creating for the sector during this fragile period. We remain hopeful that government will recognize that Canada’s resource sector will be the cornerstone of a real economic recovery for all Canadians.”
— Perrin Beatty is president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce
“Canada is a leader in responsible energy development, and we have the resource base that can grow to meet energy demand globally. Canada can leverage these advantages as the rest of the world recovers, too. Emissions reduction and environmental sustainability are key priorities. However, the idea that we can relaunch our economy without oil and natural gas ignores reality. Energy needs to be transported to where the demand is and pipelines are the safest, most responsible way to move oil and natural gas.”
— Chris Bloomer, president and CEO of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association
“Canada owes its economic prosperity to large volume exports of commodities and resource-based manufactured goods, especially crude oil exports. As we rebuild and recover, we’ll need to grow our traditional resource-based industries, maintaining and improving their cost and carbon competitiveness, while at the same time developing new industries to diversify our economy. It may be time for Canada to think about moving to major Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology or the hydrogen economy, but it’s not a small thing, requiring a great deal of time and money. As a country which specializes in energy exports, Canada is well positioned for this form of innovation and its deployment in industry, but it would require a major policy push.”
— Patricia Mohr, is a former Vice-President, Economics and Commodity Market Specialist at Scotiabank and member of several Boards that finance GHG reduction and green technology.
“Canada’s forests are among our country’s most precious natural resources. Canada is home to some 9,000 trees for every Canadian. Through our world leading approach to keeping our forests as forests forever and the GHG benefits of the carbon storing products we produce, our sector is ready to play a leadership role in Canada’s economic recovery and plan to build for the future.”
“During the pandemic we have seen first-hand the immeasurable value of using sustainably Canadian sourced pulp to make medical masks, hospital gowns, and sanitary paper products. As we push through COVID-19 and look to build back better, we have an opportunity to use Canadian wood products and what would otherwise be wood waste from our sawmills to make biomaterials and bioenergy to help build up and power lower carbon communities.”
“In seizing our natural Canadian advantage and our commitment to sustainable forest management we can at the same time drive economic opportunity in rural and northern Canada by growing family-supporting jobs in over 600 communities – at a time when these jobs are so desperately needed.”
— Derek Nighbor, President and Chief Executive Officer, Forest Products Association of Canada
● Aboriginal Skilled Workers Association
● Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association
● Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors
● Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
● Canadian Chamber of Commerce
● Canadian Energy Pipelines Association
● Canadian Fuels Association
● Christian Labour Association of Canada
● Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
● Canada West Construction Union
● Canada Works
● Chemistry Industry Association of Canada
● First Nations LNG Alliance
● Forest Products Association of Canada
● Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of BC
● Indigenous Resource Network
● International Brotherhood of Boilermakers
● Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC)
● Progressive Contractors Association of Canada
● Resource Municipalities Coalition
● Resource Works Society
● Surrey Board of Trade