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ARCHIVED - RPP 2006-2007
Natural Resources Canada

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Section I - Overview

Minister's Message

The Honourable Gary LunnI am pleased to present the 2006-07 Report on Plans and Priorities for Natural Resources Canada (NRCan).

Natural resources are at the heart of Canada's economy, society and place in the world, particularly when it comes to energy production where we are fast becoming an energy superpower. We focus on core Government of Canada responsibilities, ensuring the responsible development and use of our energy, minerals, metals and forests. This work results in economic opportunities, as well as environmental and social benefits for present and future generations.

In the past year, the natural resources sectors continued to be an engine of Canada's economy, contributing no less than 13 percent to our gross domestic product, a record $93.4 billion to our trade surplus, and were responsible for 40 percent of our total exports. Canada's energy, forest, minerals and metals sectors had the highest average productivity growth of all industries, and continue to be an important source of employment for Canada's Aboriginal peoples.

In the coming months, NRCan will be working hard to advance this government's agenda. Whether our focus is improving the productivity and competitiveness of Canada's resource sectors, advancing energy efficiency and conservation, or conducting leading-edge scientific research to support responsible development and use, NRCan is committed to providing the resources and support needed to ensure that the year ahead is a productive one.

The Government of Canada recognizes that some resource sector activity, such as energy production, increases greenhouse gas emissions. Canada has a responsibility to help lower these emissions and that is why my department will be contributing to a "Made-in-Canada" approach to clean up our air and to ensure the environmental footprint of resource development is much smaller. We will also continue to show Canadians how to decrease their energy consumption with NRCan-developed technology that is energy-efficient and ready for market.

The protection and safety of all Canadians are also among NRCan's priorities for the year ahead. Protecting Canada's energy supply will be at the forefront, but we will also focus attention on improving our response to natural hazards and enforcing stricter regulations for the use of explosives.

We will continue to support development the vast economic opportunities in Canada's North and work to ensure that Northerners benefit from these opportunities. This includes helping to create stronger Aboriginal communities by poroviding them with the science, information and tools they need to pursue opportunities in Canada's natural resources sectors.

The vastness and diversity of Canada's natural resources are matched by few other countries. They contribute significantly to economic growth, social benefits and quality of life at home and abroad. To that end, NRCan will continue to provide Canadians with the highest level of service in contributing to the strength and sustainability of Canada's natural resources sectors.


Gary V. Lunn

Management Representation Statement

I submit, for tabling in Parliament, the 2006-07 Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP) for Natural Resources Canada.

This document has been prepared based on the reporting principles contained in the Guide to the Preparation of Part III of the 2006-07 Estimates: Report on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Report.

  • It adheres to the specific reporting requirements outlined in the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) guidance.
  • It is based on the department's approved accountability structure as reflected in its Management Resources and Results Structure.
  • It presents consistent, comprehensive, balanced and reliable information.
  • It provides a basis of accountability for the results achieved with the resources and
    authorities entrusted to it.
  • It reports finances based on approved planned spending numbers from the TBS.

Cassie J. Doyle
Deputy Minister

Summary Information

NRCan's mandate is to develop, implement and deliver policies, programs, science and technology (S&T) for the sustainable development and responsible use of Canada's mineral, energy and forestry resources. The department is also responsible for developing an understanding of Canada's landmass and collecting and disseminating information on resource development. NRCan also maintains key roles related to the safety and security of people and natural resources, including security of natural resource infrastructure and supply.

NRCan's Minister is responsible for, or has responsibilities under, more than 30 Acts of Parliament. The core powers, duties and functions are set forth in the Department of Natural Resources Act, the Resources and Technical Surveys Act, and the Forestry Act. The remaining Acts set out the terms for the management of Crown lands and of Canada's natural resource policies, including energy and nuclear policy.

Our work is concentrated in areas of core federal jurisdiction, which includes:

  • international and inter-provincial trade;
  • natural resource-based science and technology in support of federal objectives related to economic development, environmental protection, supply security and resource-related health and safety;
  • natural resource management on Crown lands, the North and offshore areas; and
  • uranium and nuclear power.

In carrying out these responsibilities, NRCan works closely with other federal departments with resource-related responsibilities, and supports the federal role in regional development and Aboriginal affairs in matters related to the resource sectors. NRCan also works in areas of shared responsibility with the provinces.

Financial and Human Resources

2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
$1,470.9 M /  4,456 FTEs $1,217.6 M /  4,276 FTEs $1,041.2 M /  4,154 FTEs

Departmental Priorities Relationship to Government Policy Areas

Departmental Priorities Government Policy Areas Type Planned Spending
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Strategic Outcome – Canadians derive social and economic benefits from the assessment, development and use of energy, forest and mineral resources, and have the knowledge to mitigate environmental impacts and respond effectively to natural and man-made hazards.
Improve resource-sector productivity and competitiveness Economy ongoing 133.2 116.2 105.6
Advance resource efficiency and conservation Economy ongoing 463.6 297.6 218.6
Ensure the safety and security of people and resources Economy; International; Social ongoing 37.7 24.7 15.6
Provide science, information and tools for decision making and support responsible development of Canada's North Aboriginals; Social ongoing 69.1 69.3 68.6
Enhance NRCan's capacity to deliver policies, programs, science and technology   ongoing n/a* n/a* n/a*
Total Departmental Priorities     703.6 507.8 408.4
Other supporting and enabling initiatives/services**     208.6 204.7 215.1
Statutory programs – Atlantic offshore     558.7 505.1 417.7
Total NRCan     1,470.9 1,217.6 1,041.2
* The resources for this priority are distributed across all program activities and departmental priorities. A breakdown will be possible in future RPPs. ** Planned spending is explained in Section II-B, on page 40.

Operating Environment

Over the past several months, NRCan has been developing a corporate strategic plan, which will tell the story of how our department is working to leverage Canada's comparative advantage in natural resources to improve the quality of life for Canadians. NRCan's Strategic Plan 2006-2011 will provide a profile of Canada's natural resource sectors and the major trends that are shaping the department's operating environment over the coming years. A summary of these trends is provided in the following paragraphs. The strategic plan will also outline our departmental vision and mission statements, which are being revisited as part of the strategic planning process, and will articulate the departmental priorities that will be the focus of our policies, programs and S&T over the planning period. A preview of our departmental priorities is included within this section to frame the activities outlined in our 2006-07 Report on Plans and Priorities.

Several external trends will significantly impact Canada's natural resource sectors over the next few years:

  • The rise of emerging economies such as China and India, coupled with continued demand for natural resource commodities from the United States, will continue to put upward pressure on commodity prices and increase demand for Canada's natural resources. At a macro level this presents short-term benefits for Canada which may, or may not, be prolonged given that commodity booms are cyclical.
  • The increasing demand for natural resources puts Canada in a very strong economic position as its natural resource sectors continue to drive economic growth and job creation. This is particularly true for the energy sector where Canada has become a global energy superpower. At the same time, economic and social benefits from this growth will require concrete action to reconcile them with their accompanying environmental realities. Reducing energy demand, minimizing the footprint of conventional energy sources and increasing the supply of clean energy are three examples of such action. Through effective partnerships and the development of clean energy technologies, reductions of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and pollution can be achieved while safeguarding the prosperity of Canada's resource sectors.
  • Several rapidly developing economies – Brazil, Russia, China – are creating an increasingly competitive environment for Canada's natural resource industries. This places a stronger emphasis on the need for Canadian natural resource companies across the value chain – from exploration, extraction and production to manufacturing and services – to act smarter, build global alliances, generate new ideas, diversify products and services, and use highly knowledge-intensive processes and technologies to stay competitive. Canada must have the right systems in place – including research and development (R&D) partnerships, regulatory regimes, resource management systems and accessible public geoscience – in order to maintain its advantage in this competitive environment. Some of these systems require government to play a distinct role in terms of strategic investment. With reference to R&D, this includes a small number of large-scale energy transformational projects such as CO2 capture and storage in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
  • Our ability to stay competitive in the global economy also depends on access to sufficient labour resources. Significant labour shortages – particularly in the skilled trades – are predicted for the natural resource sectors because of increased demand. While these shortages are a major constraint to growth in the natural resource sectors, they also present opportunities for resource-based employment.
  • Terrorist attacks, naturally-occurring public health crises (e.g. the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or Avian Bird Flu), and the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters have raised safety and security imperatives at the international level. Close to home, forests are challenged by incidences of mountain pine beetle outbreaks, while foresters are increasingly preoccupied by wildfires across Canada. These bring issues of natural resource security and supply top-of-mind.

With respect to our organizational environment, NRCan is experiencing some significant challenges. For example, the department has to maintain its key physical infrastructure when about 77 percent of its real property – largely in the National Capital Region – is more than 35 years old. On the information management and information technology side, there are real challenges in remaining technologically current and meeting certain administrative and knowledge management requirements. Moreover, NRCan has challenges in attracting and retaining highly qualified personnel. Currently, the annual recruitment rate is 7.9 percent with an annual separation rate of 8.6 percent. It is estimated that one-quarter of the department's workforce will be eligible to retire by 2011.

Departmental Plans and Priorities

NRCan's strategic priorities provide the links between our departmental activities with the priorities of the Government of Canada and our strategic outcome. These priorities stem from inter-related issues of importance to Canadians, and shape our policies, programs and S&T. The management priority recognizes that the appropriate human and financial resources, tools, infrastructure and management processes are critical corporate enablers that need to be in place to effectively deliver on our mandate. The priorities are:

Improve resource-sector productivity and competitiveness – Productive and efficient natural resource development and use is critical to Canada's future prosperity. Productivity improvement is crucial to the viability of communities, environmental quality, and the competitiveness of the Canadian economy. Upgrading and applying NRCan's S&T expertise in a strategic manner to promote innovation will be a vital part of this effort, as will creating greater regulatory harmony.

Advance resource efficiency and conservation – Sustainable development is about having and using the right knowledge and technology tools which permit integrated decision making that considers economic, environmental and social factors. It is a legislated requirement that environmental considerations of natural resource development continue to be a departmental priority. Addressing high profile national issues and government priorities for clean air and clean water, alternative energy, clean energy technologies and energy efficiency, will help minimize the negative impacts of natural resource sector activities.

Ensure the safety and security of people and resources – The imperative of safety and security will be an increasingly important public policy driver that NRCan must address strategically. This will entail not only the department's specific regulatory mandate, but also keen attention paid to the safety and security of individual livelihoods, community stability, emergency management, and national natural resource supply strategies. It is anticipated that issues related to the security of natural resource supply and infrastructure, particularly in relation to energy, will continue to be a major concern for government, the private sector and consumers.

Provide science, information and tools for decision making and support responsible development of Canada's North - Effective decision making that integrates social, economic and environmental considerations is a prerequisite for strong cities and communities. Building community capacity is about fostering the conditions for advancing development by improving communities' ability to make better decisions. NRCan science is essential in ensuring that this decision making is informed and effective. There is, therefore, an imperative for NRCan to continue to build the national knowledge base of Canada's land-based and offshore resources, and to develop and improve the tools and technologies that will enable communities to use this knowledge effectively.

Canada has many reasons for adopting a more strategic approach to its support for the development of the northern natural resource base. Declining base metal and conventional energy reserves, coupled with growing global demand for these natural resources, has led to an increased awareness of the potential opportunities for natural resource development in Canada's North. Access to sound NRCan science will be key to making the most of these opportunities. However, the exploration and extraction of tremendous, but non-renewable resources, must proceed hand-in-hand with community advancement, and must not compromise environmental integrity.

Enhance NRCan's capacity to deliver policies, programs, science and technology – Canadians want good governance. They want to know that government programs are managed with honesty and integrity and in a manner that is open and transparent. This priority requires strong corporate management which ensures that the department has the right people, tools and structures to deliver on its mandate, mission and departmental priorities.