Canadian Manufacturing

Canada’s resource industries facing ‘devastating’ devaluation in face of further regulation, report says

Energy sector at risk as calls for industry certification mount

CALGARY—The environmental movement’s push to regulate and certify the “so-called dirty oil” of the oilsands could cause significant devaluation in the industry and economy as a whole, a Frontier Centre for Public Policy report says.

In the early ’90s the forest certification movement, which saw a system implemented that would manage forests as well as responsibly source and produce wood products, led to a drawdown in the value of the resource by between 40 and 60 per cent, the report says.

“Certification, which was forced on a fully modern industry, has set forestry back a generation,” the report says.

And with environmental groups now targeting Canada’s energy and resource industries, the same certification-related devaluation could occur.

Noting environmental NGO’s push to initiate certification in Ontario’s aggregate industry, as well as the movement against pipelines, the oilsands and fracking, the report says a certification model similar to the one seen in the forestry industry could one day be present in the resource sector as well.

And given the effect certification had on the forestry industry, the effect on Canada’s energy and resource sectors could be “devastating,” the report says.

“This will occur at a most inconvenient time: when Canada needs to grow its economy in order to meet its debt and unfunded liabilities, particularly those of universal health care and the aging population,” the report’s author, Elizabeth Nickson, said.

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