Frequently asked questions
Got a question about Resource Works? This is the place to find the answers. We are committed to two-way conversation and transparency about our origins and intent. We welcome your help in building a respectful, well informed discourse about natural resources in British Columbia.
- Where did Resource Works come from?
- Who funds Resource Works?
- What does Resource Works seek to accomplish?
- How can I get involved with Resource Works?
- What does Resource Works do?
- Is Resource Works committed to transparency?
Resource Works was inspired in part by the findings of a 2013 appraisal of British Columbia's economic future initiated by the Business Council of British Columbia and the British Columbia Chamber of Commerce, although Resource Works is independent of these two organizations.
Called the Shared Prosperity project, the appraisal began with a diverse group of community leaders — from academia, business, non-governmental organizations, entrepreneurs and labour — who consulted across the province about the concerns of BC families, many of whom have accumulated higher levels of debt and feel themselves to be under increasing financial pressure in their day-to-day lives.
The group, chaired by former provincial finance minister and Simon Fraser University chancellor Carole Taylor, supervised seven regional workshops to ensure regional voices were heard. They came back with a number of findings, organized around three themes:
1. Creating prosperity
A broad consensus emerged around the importance of creating new economic opportunities in order to ensure continued prosperity. This involves adapting to new economic conditions, moving boldly to capture emerging opportunities that support companies and governments to make smart investments to strengthen the province’s long-term productivity and competitiveness.
2. Participating in prosperity
There was also widespread agreement that simply generating prosperity is insufficient; BC must also ensure that its benefits are shared in an appropriate manner. Understandably, there are conflicting ideas about how this might best be done, particularly concerning how far the government should go to redistribute wealth.
3. Improving the public discourse
Throughout the agenda process, there was strong agreement about the need to improve the state of public discourse in BC. This is a multi-faceted challenge that places considerable demands on government to find the balance between dialogue and action that occurs in a timely fashion. And for groups advocating on specific public issues, there is a need to base arguments in fact, respectful dialogue, distinguishing between vested interests and broad interests, and engaging in a manner that seeks resolution, not endless confrontation.
In a province like BC where three-quarters of goods exports consist of resource commodities, there can be no question that the issues raised by the Shared Prosperity project are intimately linked to our relationships with natural resources. This is how the Shared Prosperity findings found a place in the founding concept for Resource Works.
In Fall 2013, author and journalist Stewart Muir began to develop a strategy for a research, communications and advocacy organization that would make the connection between the resource economy and the needs and concerns of British Columbia residents. This became Resource Works. With his background in British Columbia culture, conservation and communications, Stewart was the ideal person to spearhead the project.
Resource Works was registered as a society in March 2014. The next month, Resource Works was launched with a news conference where its first economic study was released.
The Business Council of British Columbia provided the Resource Works Society with funds to commence operations. Resource Works actively solicits donations from organizations and individuals who believe that an organization with the unique and legitimate mission of Resource Works is needed in British Columbia.
As a non-partisan research-driven group, we are open to funding partnerships with foundations, granting agencies, companies, trade unions and other organizations.
Resource Works has a small staff and relies on volunteers for much of its work. As a non-profit it must search for funds to enhance its activities.
We wish to improve the state of public discourse on natural resource topics relevant to BC and all Canadians. We root our discussion in facts and respect, distinguishing between vested interests and the public interest, and engaging in a manner that seeks resolution, not confrontation.
Broadly speaking, what we do divides into three categories:
- Finding the facts
- Talking about the facts
- Building networks of engaged people who support our goals
Resource Works is committed to transparency. At our launch news conference in April 2014, Resource Works publicly acknowledged the financial support of the Business Council of British Columbia and thanked the organization for this support. Without it, the fresh new perspective that Resource Works has created through its independent work would not be possible.
Resource Works publishes the names of its Board and Advisory Council members and is in compliance with the requirements of its British Columbia society status.
In its first year, Resource Works sought to build a portfolio of activities through its research, communications and consultation. We plan to continue to enhance our capacity to do this work and be transparent in how we conduct it.
Shortly before launching Resource Works, we sent a delegation to Victoria to meet with MLAs and ensure that they were aware of our intentions. We met with both the Government and the Opposition caucuses and in both cases received an enthusiastic welcome. Executive director Stewart Muir gave an account of the project plans and introduced the CEO of the Business Council of BC, Greg D'Avignon, to ensure all were aware that Resource Works had secured the support of a broadly recognized voice of business.
Stewart Muir in conversation with BC Liberal MLAs Linda Reimer and Mike Bernier at government caucus presentation.
Greg D'Avignon with John Horgan at the BC NDP caucus presentation. Mr. Horgan later became leader of his party and premier of BC.