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Federal Policy in Natural Resources

Natural Resources Canada

Samples of materials taken from an Alberta mine.Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) has created an innovation policy framework that calls for the creation and sharing of scientific research, training and attracting skilled knowledge individuals, support for commercialization, and business/market development. NRCan asserts that the overall level of Canada’s innovation will be strengthened by solutions from the resource sector.

Canada's high amount of natural resources has allowed the country to become one of the world’s most successful economies. Currently, in 2003, the natural resources sector is a major contributor to innovation in the country, spending more than $34 billion per year on advanced technology and related fields. Their expenditures account for 22 percent of Canada's expenditure on research and development—more than any other sector of the Canadian economy. According to NRCan, the application of innovative ideas and technologies will result in social, economic, environmental, health and social benefits, ensuring a high quality of life for all Canadians.

Alberta engages a policy of sustained yield management, which means the amount of timber harvested is based on what the forest will grow rather than the size of the industry.The opportunities for growth in resource-related areas are very promising. Paper and paperboard products is expected to grow by 40 percent by 2010, geomatics industries are expanding by approximately 20 percent per year, oilsands production is expected to increase by 50 percent per year between 2001 and 2004, and robotics in the mining industry is expected to grow by as much as 50 percent per year. NRCan argues that Canada can benefit greatly from these innovative opportunities by investing in research and development in these fields.

NRCan's vision for Canada is to transform the country's natural resource industries into a world leader in production, using sophisticated techniques to ensure maximum efficiency. Alongside increasing levels of production comes sustainable development. NRCan envisions Canada at the forefront of environmental conservation resulting from investments in research and development. This long-term strategy ensures Canada will remain a world leader in natural resources, both protecting the environment and utilizing the country’s resources as efficiently as possible.

NRCan devotes an estimated two-thirds of its expenditures to science and technology research. These science and technology activities are essential for the sustainable development of Canada’s resources. NRCan works in partnership with industry, government departments, aboriginal groups and university researchers across the country to ensure that both economic and environmental factors are being considered in all decisions.

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