The future is unbuilt

Resource Work is proud to sign this open letter offering pragmatic solutions to help Canada achieve environmental and economic goals through regulatory reform.

The Future is Unbuilt is a campaign led by the Business Council of Alberta, supported by Resource Works, proposing ways the federal government can improve the regulatory system in order to achieve environmental, economic, and reconciliation goals.

Time is ticking. 

Canada is facing critical challenges on its path towards achieving ambitious emissions reduction targets, and unprecedented levels of investment in technology and infrastructure are required to achieve the proposed targets.

Canada’s current regulatory system stands in the way.

The existing processes are time-consuming, unpredictable, and complex, hindering our ability to approve and build the necessary projects. Inadequate participation of Indigenous communities further exacerbate the problem, with barriers to accessing capital and skills development opportunities slowing the growing progress represented by partnerships between Indigenous communities and natural resource industries.

Without improving its systems, Canada risks missing out on crucial low or zero carbon initiatives, strategic investments, and thousands of jobs.

2023 has already seen the federal government acknowledge the need for change and a commitment in the federal budget to streamlining approval timelines and improving regulatory frameworks.

That’s a positive development, and one Resource Works hopes continues. That’s why Resource Works has signed the Alberta Business Council’s Future Unbuilt open letter, to call on the federal government to continue this movement towards regulatory excellence.

We encourage our supporters to read the full text of the letter below, and explore the Future Unbuilt website.

Open letter: Canada’s future is unbuilt

The federal government has set ambitious targets for emissions reduction by 2030 and a goal to be net zero by 2050.

The reality is that to meet these ambitious targets of net zero by 2050, we need to invest in technology and infrastructure at a scale and pace never before seen in Canadian history. 

This will require record levels of investment in many areas including critical minerals; power generation and transmission; hydrogen manufacturing and export capacity; low carbon energy; and small modular reactors. 

With our current regulatory systems, Canada will not be able to approve, let alone build, the projects we need to achieve our targets. 

Canadians support responsible and sustainable development. This includes working with Indigenous communities to co-develop economic opportunities and ensure their participation throughout a project’s lifecycle. We must ensure that review and permitting processes for major projects achieve these outcomes. 

However, Canada’s existing regulatory review and permitting systems are not up to the challenge of meeting our climate targets. They are time-consuming, unpredictable, and complex. They don’t always fully enable the necessary engagement and participation of Indigenous communities. 

Consequently, Canada is not seen as a place that can get projects built—and that has a big cost. If we cannot improve the process, our country will likely lose out on important low or zero carbon initiatives, strategic investments, and tens of thousands of jobs across the country. 

In Budget 2023, the federal government noted that it should not take 12 years to build a critical minerals mine. 

We agree. We cannot accept the status quo. It is time to make projects happen faster in Canada. 

A growth strategy for Canada that enables major development to support both our environmental and economic goals must have efficient, practical, and responsible regulatory structures at its foundation. 

We are encouraged by the initial steps the federal government has committed to taking to improve Canada’s regulatory framework, streamline approval timelines, and create efficiencies within regulatory bodies. 

And we are committed to working with the federal government to help improve the participation, predictability, and process of major project approvals, and to ensure major projects get built with the rigour, safety, and inclusive approach Canadians demand. 

We believe that Canada can create a world-class regulatory system that safeguards the Indigenous, health, safety, cultural, and environmental imperatives of responsible development. 

We believe that we can create a system that not only enables Canada to meet its climate objectives but can be a competitive advantage to attract investment and seize economic opportunities that will improve the quality of life of all Canadians. 

Building this will take a whole of government effort. We are a coalition of business, Indigenous, labour, environmental, and policy groups. Each of us is committed to advancing regulatory excellence. While we come from diverse perspectives, we collectively agree that Canada’s regulatory system needs improvement and stand ready to work with government to do it. 

Let’s ensure our future is built. Together.

Resource Works is a proud signatory of this open letter. For more information on the Future Unbuilt, please visit their website and read their report.

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