THUNDER BAY – Federal Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver states, “Our plan for Responsible Resource Development has an entire component dedicated to ensuring Aboriginal consultations are consistent, accountable, meaningful and timely. We are committed to action that ensures Aboriginal peoples fully benefit from these emerging economic opportunities.” The Minister addressed the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association’s 20th Anniversary Conference in Toronto on Monday.
The Minister highlighted the importance of Responsible Resource Development to jobs for Aboriginal peoples and Canada’s economy. The Minister discussed how the Federal Government’s plans will contribute to further increasing Aboriginal people’s participation in the mining and exploration sector.
“The Harper Government is fully committed to supporting Canadian jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity,” said Minister Oliver. “Our plans support the 31,000 Aboriginal peoples employed in our natural resources sector and will result in opportunities for thousands more.”
The Mining Association of Canada estimates that 7.5 percent of Canadians employed in mining are Aboriginal — making mining Canada’s largest private employer of Aboriginal peoples.
“This government is demonstrating leadership that is resulting in new economic opportunities for Aboriginal communities across Canada,” said Oliver, “Our commitment to creating new markets and keeping taxes low is contributing to an estimated 600 projects over the next 10 years that will increase Aboriginal jobs and economic benefits.”
The mining sector expects to hire approximately 100,000 additional workers over the next decade to coincide with new natural resources projects. Responsible Resource Development strengthens support specifically for Aboriginal peoples by:
- Investing more than $690 million to support skills development, education and infrastructure to ensure that more Aboriginal peoples are prepared to take advantage of these opportunities;
- Increasing the integration of Aboriginal consultations into the new environmental assessment and regulatory processes; and
- Allocating over $13 million to further improve First Nations consultations to ensure their rights and interests are protected.
Responsible Resource Development also further strengthens protection for the environment by imposing a mandatory requirement for double-hulled tankers, mandatory pilotage of vessels and increased navigational tools and by increasing the number of inspections by the National Energy Board for oil and gas pipelines by 50 percent annually.