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Ottawa Launches Regional Energy and Resource Tables Initiative

Published on
June 2, 2022

Yesterday afternoon in Vancouver, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, launched the first phase of the Regional Energy and Resource Tables.

The Regional Tables initiative is a partnership between the federal and provincial and territorial governments centred on three goals:

  1. to identify and accelerate a common list of the top two-to-four key economic growth priorities in each province and territory;
  2. to engage with Indigenous governments and groups to reflect their priorities and perspectives on regional opportunities; and
  3. to seek input from municipal governments, experts, industry, labour, non-profit organizations and others.

The first milestone will be to identify and agree on a small number of high potential clean growth opportunities for each region, such as critical minerals, clean fuels and hydrogen, non-emitting electricity and transmission, carbon capture and removal, sustainable forestry and nuclear technologies.

Next, in each region, a joint action plan will set a path forward for active collaboration between the federal and provincial/territorial governments over the next two years. Each joint action plan will focus on tangible actions to align resources and investment, regulatory and permitting processes, policy tools, identification of key issues and barriers to be overcome.

In addition to addressing key economic opportunities associated with a low-carbon transition, the Regional Tables will provide a forum to discuss how Canada can work together to ensure that electrical generation capacity and provincial and regional electrical grids will be capable of meeting the requirements of decarbonization and of increased demand associated with broad electrification.

The initial phase of engagement begins with British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador and Manitoba. Discussions between Canada and Saskatchewan and Canada and Alberta are also getting underway, with the remaining provinces and Territories to follow. All 13 Regional Tables will be established by early-2023. At the federal level, the initiative is led by Natural Resources Canada and involves multiple federal institutions, including the Regional Development Agencies and the Canada Infrastructure Bank. It will help to inform project funding decisions within the many federal funding mechanisms currently in place, including:

  • the Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways Fund;
  • the Clean Fuels Fund;
  • the Strategic Innovation Fund-Net-Zero Accelerator;
  • the Electricity Pre-Development Program;
  • the Low-Carbon Economy Fund;
  • Business Development Corporation;
  • Canada Infrastructure Bank;
  • Funding for Canada’s Critical Minerals Strategy that was included in Budget 2022; and
  • the Canada Growth Fund announced in Budget 2022.

In the coming months the Government of Canada will also announce the details of the Pan-Canadian Grid Council, a technical advisory group with a mandate of removing barriers to providing clean electricity to every region of Canada by 2035. The Council will feed into the Regional Tables process.

The Regional Tables initiative provides an opportunity to inform the federal-provincial-territorial recognition and prioritization of sustainable natural resources development opportunities. Recognition of a project, technology type, or regulatory barrier in a joint action plan will motivate action from both the provincial/territorial and federal governments.

Sussex will track this opportunity closely as the process for non-government stakeholder engagement is made clearer. Sussex will also track federal and provincial/territorial participants as they are named to each Table.

Happy to help.

As the Regional Tables initiative develops, Sussex stands ready to help clients get their projects, technologies and regulatory hurdles recognized and prioritized. Please reach out to the Federal Government Relations team or your Sussex advisor for more information or to kick-start your engagement.

Chris Benedetti, Managing Partner, cbenedetti@sussex-strategy.com

Robyn Gray, Principal and Environment Practice Lead, rgray@sussex-strategy.com

Devin McCarthy, Senior Vice President and Federal Practice Lead, dmccarthy@sussex-strategy.com

Bonnie Hiltz, Vice President and Energy Practice Lead, bhiltz@sussex-strategy.com

Eric Johnson, Vice President, Federal, ejohnson@sussex-strategy.com

Roberto Chavez, Senior Associate, Federal, rchavez@sussex-strategy.com

Dan Lovell, Senior Associate, Federal, dlovell@sussex-strategy.com

Liam Daly, Senior Associate, Federal, ldaly@sussex-strategy.com

Ingrid Ravary-Konopka, Senior Associate, Federal, iravary-konopka@sussex-strategy.com

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