The Task Force comprises 20 expert advisors from across the country who will build a set of policy recommendations for rebuilding Canada’s prosperity and future economic resilience. The group is also supported by a coalition of more than 25 industry associations, unions, professional organizations and Indigenous organizations representing the energy, manufacturing, transportation, forestry and construction sectors. Collectively, the Task Force represents more than a quarter million businesses and three million workers across Canada.
The group will act quickly, intending to complete its package of policy measures by the end of July. These recommendations will be presented to key federal government decision-makers, as well as to the Industry Strategy Council, a federal initiative launched in response to the economic effects of COVID-19.
The Task Force is being convened by Resource Works, a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization committed developing Canada's resources in a manner that is inclusive of Indigenous peoples and maintains a clean and healthy environment.
The COVID effect
According to Statistics Canada, the Canadian economy shrank by 11.6 per cent in April 2020, the largest monthly drop on record that followed a 7.5 per cent contraction in gross domestic product in March. This economic downturn will result in lost tax revenue. Federal finance minister Bill Morneau's recent fiscal snapshot showed the federal government's deficit is expected to hit $343 billion this year.
Job growth is expected to be uneven and slow well into 2021, but the Task Force believes with the right policies in place Canada’s recovery can be steady and long-lasting.
Resource Works’ executive director Stewart Muir comments, “Resource industries are rising to the challenge of articulating a future that shows they understand society's high expectations and are providing meaningful solutions.
“Building our economy means identifying areas of real opportunity and pursuing them. Canada must actively leverage our advantages in the recovery effort, especially our capacity to produce low-emissions natural resource commodities under robust environmental, social and governance conditions. These are key components of a broader resource ecosystem that is the engine of Canada's future."
Familiar faces bring expertise to the table
Among the Task Force members are:
Lori Ackerman - currently serving her third term as mayor of Fort St. John, B.C. In this role she has been a champion for the resource industry as an economic engine for remote communities. In 2019 she was named Energy Person of the Year.
Mac Van Wielingen - an energy executive, private equity investor, corporate director and philanthropist. He is the vice-chair and founding member of the Business Council of Alberta.
Karen Ogen-Toews - a founding member and current CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance and served as elected chief of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation for six years. She now sits on the nation’s elected council.
Alan Arcand - chief economist for the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME).
Sheri Somerville - CEO of the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce (ACC), representing more than 16,000 businesses through its network of 93 chambers and 25 corporate partners.