Business coalition asks Ottawa to lean into natural resources to recover from COVID-19

A national coalition of business associations has released a plan to re-launch the Canadian economy post-COVID - and it calls for digging deeper into Canada’s natural resources.

The group - calling itself the Task Force for Real Jobs, Real Recovery - said while the plan flies counter to the push by many government officials to promote more value-added and tech-based industries to boost the Canadian economy, natural resources remain the easiest path to success.

“The world needs Canada for products that it cannot do without,” the group said in a release of its economic relaunch plan, calling on Ottawa and the provinces to lean more into the natural resources sector such as energy, forestry, mining and agri-foods. 

“By putting our strongest efforts into developing the opportunities that are close at hand, we will have the best chance of a speedy and strong recovery,” the statement continued. “Natural resources account for much of the social success of Canada, providing employment, a specialized supply chain through the entire economy, and large revenues to government.”

The coalition is convened by B.C. resource industry advocacy group Resource Works and include members such as the BC Chamber of Commerce, the BC Construction Association, the Surrey Board of Trade and the Prince George Chamber of Commerce.

The plan calls for “advancing regulatory efficiency” to attract capital investment to Canada’s resource industries that would then accelerate innovation while aligning environmental actions of resource development in Canada. If followed, the coalition said it could bring up to 2.6 million new jobs and a 17% jump in the national GDP (although no clear timeline was established).

Ottawa has been reluctant to broadly support the resources sector in recent years due to environmental commitments, but the Resource Works coalition said its plan does not mean the abandonment of such directives.

Rather, the plan calls for Ottawa and the provinces to “rationalize the cumulative cost of the Clean Fuel Standard” within greenhouse-gas emission pricing systems while fast-tracking low-emission innovations for sectors who are “best positioned” to accelerate Canada’s economic recovery.

“The Task Force recommends that the federal government publicly and vocally endorse the Canadian natural resource brand,” the report said. “Work in partnership with industries to improve policies, processes and regulations; establish an integrated    table for investment and major projects to ensure workable long-term solutions to COVID-19 economic impacts.”

The full plan can be read at