Natural resources strategy sought in Ontario

P&PC staff
May 28, 2018
By P&PC staff
The panel behind the round-table discussion.
The panel behind the round-table discussion.
May 28, 2018 – With the Ontario provincial election a little more than a week away, leaders from the Aboriginal, mining, prospecting, foresty, local government and broader business community want a provincial natural resource strategy created, outling specific actions.

"Today, 52 per cent of all Canada's exports come from our natural resources sector – energy, mining, forestry, and agriculture," Derek Nighbor, president and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada, said. "All our industries are transforming in their own ways to keep pace in this rapidly changing global economy. We need government to work closely with our communities so that our people and businesses in northern and rural Canada can sustain themselves and grow in the face of this disruption."

Nighbor was among the various business leaders who discussed the strategy at a round table meeting today in Timmins. The focus of the meeting, convened by the Timmins Chamber of Commerce, was to develop the strategy that included stimulated thinking of priorities and opportunities for growth. Joining Nighbor were Mayor Steve Black, Timmins; Rocco Rossi, president and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce; Paul-Emile McNab, director, Business Development and Strategy Initiative, Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business; Chris Hodgson, president and CEO, Ontario Mining Association; Bill MacRae, vice-president operations, Ontario Prospectors Association; Tom Laughren, director corporate responsibility, Tahoe Resources Canada; Kevin Edgson, president and CEO, EACOM Timber Corporation; and Nick Stewart, manager of policy, research and communications, Timmins Chamber of Commerce.

The participants agreed that Ontario businesses face many challenges that need to be addressed to support economic growth and stability for the province. Resource industries are the backbone of Ontario's economy, the panel noted, representing an important source of greater living standards and well-being for all, however, the cumulative regulatory and financial burden associated with this sector is threatening its competitiveness.

With the resources sector keen to engage with government on solutions to address some of the unique challenges facing Northern Ontario, the scope and breadth of the issues will require collaboration from several provincial ministries. By developing a natural resource strategy, government would ensure coordination of efforts across ministries, stakeholders and communities.

To that end, the group is recommending that the incoming government consider the following as part of a broader natural resource strategy:

• Reduce energy costs

• Address regulatory and administrative burden

• Improve skills training and talent availability

• Build capacity in Aboriginal communities

• Support Northern Ontario infrastructure

The Forest Products Association of Canada provides a voice for Canada's wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs.

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