How do you turn around Canada’s national economy after months of a pandemic shutdown that’s devastated many businesses – large and small – and left millions unemployed across the country?
That’s an issue that’s top of mind for Canada’s business, community, and political leaders. And the Task Force for Real Jobs, Real Recovery is confident they can come up with the answer.
They’re busy developing a blueprint for Canada’s economic recovery with a focus on our natural resources. To find out more, we checked in with Stewart Muir, who leads Resource Works, the organization convening the Task Force.
Resource Works is a British Columbia based, non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to the responsible development of Canada’s resources, while maintaining a clean and healthy environment.
“Resource Works seeks to de-polarize conversations that are happening around resource development,” says Muir. The Task Force for Real Jobs, Real Recovery came out of a study called Team Canada for the Rebuild, which was conducted by Resource Works during the first days of the pandemic. Its aim was to generate early thinking about a recovery strategy. “One suggestion from that study was to gather a diverse coalition to examine and present options for rebuilding the economy,” says Muir.
The Task Force is a national coalition of businesses, unions, Indigenous advocacy groups, industry and professional organizations representing a quarter of a million businesses and more than three million workers across Canada. The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) is among the 34 industry groups involved.
The report with proposed measures for recovery will go to federal decision-makers, including the Canadian government’s Industry Strategy Council, by the end of July. That Council is a recent initiative established in response to the economic effects of COVID-19. The Task Force report will also go to provincial and territorial governments.
“Canada’s resource sector has many advantages that can help our economy recover quickly,” says Muir.
The ideas we send to the government must meet three conditions… they must be competitive, clean and inclusive.
Canada’s capacity to produce low-emissions natural resource commodities under robust environmental, social and governance conditions is a big part of our competitive advantage.
Muir points to a growing awareness that many early recovery discussions seemed to exclude a meaningful role for natural resources. “You cannot build an economic recovery plan for Canada without natural resources as a central part of it,” says Muir. “The resource sector is full of opportunity – we don’t have to invent new industries or create big subsidies for initiatives that may or may not pan out. What we have to do is find ways to pursue those opportunities with achievable conditions for quick transition from potential to reality.”
And that’s the reason for the emphasis on “real” jobs and “real” recovery in naming the Task Force. “The focus is on creating jobs that are attached to real and immediate opportunities.”
Muir is confident Canadians will accept the Task Force’s recommendations for natural resource activities that are environmentally sound. “The Task Force is laying the foundations for a new era where Canada’s natural resource sector leads the way for economic recovery and long-term prosperity,” says Muir.
CEPA is excited to be representing its members as part of the task force identifying and pursuing areas of real opportunity for Canada’s economic recovery. Canada’s pipelines keep delivering critical energy when we need it the most. And they will be an essential part of how we come back even stronger.