2017 Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference

BACKGROUNDER – Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference 2017 – Energy

This year's Energy and Mines Ministers' Conference (EMMC), hosted by New Brunswick, gave federal, provincial and territorial ministers an opportunity to discuss current opportunities and challenges facing Canada's energy sector. Energy ministers acknowledged the importance of Canada's energy sector in meeting federal, provincial and territorial clean growth objectives while ensuring that energy remains affordable, creates jobs and supports competitive industries.

Energy ministers acknowledged the success of collaborative actions that support the provincial and territorial led Canadian Energy Strategy (CES) and the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change (PCF), including improving energy efficiency, transitioning to low carbon sources of energy, strengthening electricity transmission and advancing technology and innovation.

Following on the ministers' commitment to enhance partnership and collaboration on international energy issues at EMMC 2016, federal, provincial and territorial governments established an International Energy Collaboration Working Group. Through this mechanism, governments are working to enhance energy trade and investment opportunities internationally by developing joint initiatives in priority markets and exploring opportunities to share information and align energy policy priorities, where possible. Ministers also committed to explore mechanisms and opportunities for provinces and territories to collaborate in international fora, joint missions and discussions on energy, including Mission Innovation. This past year, governments collaborated on missions abroad, including those to India, Mexico and China, as well as on a series of projects deepening energy collaboration with North American partners. Moving forward, this work will continue as the federal government works towards enhancing energy cooperation  and renegotiates the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The ministers also noted the recommendations submitted by energy industry associations, focusing on: 

  • efficient regulatory regimes and a transparent, evidence-based and comprehensive decision-making process that enhances competitiveness;
  • continued outreach to the United States on energy policy; and
  • facilitating closer collaboration on innovation.

Key Energy Deliverables:

Enhancing Public Confidence in Canada's Energy Sector

At the 2017 Energy and Mines Ministers' Conference, energy ministers committed to take action to build public confidence in Canada's energy sector. The ministers committed to further explore the impact of policy decisions on public confidence and to strengthen actions that increase public confidence. The ministers announced the publication of common principles for engagement and participation in energy and mineral development and a fact sheet highlighting government efforts to strengthen public confidence for interested governments to consult. In addition to these publications, ministers discussed how evidence-based communication and transparency can be supported through the use of social media and innovative tools and approaches.

Energy and mines ministers committed to collaborate in the ongoing review of federal regulatory processes. The Government of Canada is committed to consulting and working with provinces and territories to identify the best path forward, including any potential legislative, regulatory or policy changes required.

Energy Efficiency

Ministers highlighted the need for a collaborative approach to act on climate change through significant, long-lasting improvements to the buildings sector, now and for the future. Two reports were tabled to demonstrate planned and current work underway across federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions.

Build Smart: Canada's Buildings Strategy is a communications-oriented, interactive document that spells out the vision and the road ahead for Canada's Building Strategy by translating policy into actions. The report captures aspirational goals leading to 2030, as outlined in the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.

Market Transformation Strategies for Energy-Using Equipment in the Building Sector outlines federal, provincial and territorial aspirational goals for three equipment areas (windows, space and water heating) that represent ambitious yet achievable energy performance levels from now to 2030 and beyond.

Markets and Trade (Oil and Gas)

The Role of Natural Gas in Canada's Low-Carbon Economy explores the potential contribution of Canada's conventional and renewable natural gas (RNG) resources in relation to renewable energy alternatives by assessing the potential role for natural gas to replace higher-emitting energy sources in specific end-use sectors (i.e., electricity generation, transportation and heating).

Electricity Infrastructure

Integration of Variable Output Renewable Energy Sources: The Importance of Essential Reliability Services highlights energy reliability challenges and opportunities as we increase the integration of intermittent renewables into our electricity mix. The report is intended to assist policy-makers and regulators in understanding the fundamentals of electricity planning and power system operations and the essential services that ensure system reliability.   

Clean Technology

Advancing Energy Technology and Innovation: Enhanced Strategic Collaboration between Federal, Provincial, and Territorial Governments profiles examples of new strategic collaboration in the area of energy technology and innovation between Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), provincial and territorial governments and other partners. Collaboration on research, development and demonstrations (RD&D) of energy technologies plays a significant role in advancing innovation in Canada's energy sector. The report provides examples of effective mechanisms through which governments can continue collaborating on energy technology innovation to accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy and to enhance the competitiveness of Canada's energy sector.