The clock is ticking on one of the most important promises in the last federal budget – a commitment to produce “a concrete plan to improve the efficiency of the impact assessment and permitting processes for major projects” by the end of this calendar year.
Planning to have a plan isn’t exactly the level of urgency this issue deserves. But solving a problem often begins with acknowledging you have one – and Canada has a very big problem indeed with respect to permitting efficiency, or lack thereof.
We have an incredible endowment of energy and other natural resources in this country. And whether it’s low-carbon conventional fuels, emerging energy solutions like hydrogen, or a range of critical minerals, global markets are clamouring for them.
Yet the federal government has an almost cavalier attitude to the nation-building opportunities before us, and is seemingly determined to tie up projects in regulatory complexity that slows them down and adds costs. In more cases than not, projects simply don’t proceed at all.
It’s little wonder then that our ability to attract needed investment capital – and to thereby maintain and improve our living standards – is faltering badly. So much so that outbound investment has exceeded inbound investment every year for nearly a decade.
The solutions involve clarity, common sense, and regulatory innovation. Other countries are doing it and so can we. The world needs our resources and Canada deserves the economic opportunity those resources represent. There is simply no more time to waste.