Canada’s Natural Resource Sector Lost $196 Billion in Investment Over 5 Years

Canada’s Natural Resource Sector Lost $196 Billion in Investment Over 5 Years

It’s hard to fathom just how much a lost investment of $196 billion is. But thanks to a newly released policy brief by Canadian think tank SecondStreet.org, it’s much easier to put that figure into context.

Unfortunately the circumstances under which the report uses comparisons to help us grasp just how much $196 billion is is alarming to say the least. Alarming for all Canadians that is.

After scanning government websites, industry reports and media stories, SecondStreet.org calculated that Canada’s oil and gas and mining sectors lost about $196 billion in investment between March 2014 and March 2019.

That’s in addition to tens of billions in foregone tax revenues and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs across the country.


Putting $196 Billion into Perspective

oil and gas companies divesting from Canada since 2015

What could $196 billion buy? According Second Street’s report, that’s roughly the cost of a brand new NHL-sized arena every day for a full year.

Here’s a glance of various infrastructure projects that could have been funded many times over with $196 billion in cash:

  • 15 Muskrat Falls Dams – Newfoundland and Labrador
  • 35 Scarborough Subway Extensions – Ontario
  • 45 Champlain Bridge Corridors (Montreal) – Quebec
  • 140 Pattullo Bridges – British Columbia
  • 290 Rogers Place (Oilers arena) – Alberta
  • 600 Mosaic Stadiums (Roughriders stadium) – Saskatchewan
  • 780 IG Fields (Blue Bombers stadium) – Manitoba

Top 10 Lost Investment Opportunities by Canada

  • Pacific Northwest LNG (BC) - $36 billion
  • Prince Rupert LNG Aurora (BC) - $28 billion
  • WCC LNG (BC) - $25 billion
  • Steelhead LNG (BC) - $18 billion
  • Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Project (NT) - $16.10 billion
  • Energy East Pipeline (AB-NB) - $15.70 billion
  • Grassy Point LNG (BC) - $10.00 billion
  • Trans-Mountain Pipeline Expansion* - $9.30 billion
  • Northern Gateway Pipeline (AB-BC) - $7.90 billion
  • Black Thor Project (ON) - $4.40 billion

*started as private sector initiative and future remains unclear

See the full list of Cancelled / Delayed Projects in Canada here. Or here:

196 billion in investment lost by Canada's natural resource sector Second Street acknowledges that this list isn’t necessarily all-inclusive. Also see the phrases section below that some investors have simply pulled the plug before making any investment decision public.


5 Key Findings from SecondStreet.org

“As global demand for natural resources is expected to increase for years to come, Canada is missing out on enormous economic opportunities. If Canada doesn’t provide the petroleum products, mining materials and wood products necessary to make cell phones, bicycles, new homes and other commodities, the world will simply find those materials elsewhere.”

In addition to lost jobs and opportunities for Canadian companies, the stalled or cancelled natural resource projects we identified represent billions of dollars in tax revenue – funds which could be used to pay down government debt, lower taxes, build hospitals, schools and more.”

“… investment decisions are often not discussed publicly. We were told, “I believe your list could be a lot longer. The reality is there are lots of projects where proponents did not go public on, but they were trying to raise capital but were basically shunned because of the reputation that Canada has right now.”

“Why is it that Canada, a country with among the most stringent environmental, health and safety, labour, and human rights laws and regulations in the world, is facing continued pressure to restrict resource development and losing jobs and economic opportunity in the process?”

“Canada is missing out on enormous economic opportunities when it comes to natural resource development. Government policies restricting natural resource projects and investment have, in many cases, obstructed the creation of thousands of direct and indirect jobs. Unlike government megaprojects, the aforementioned jobs do not require government subsidies. Policy makers would be wise to prioritize efforts to address the barriers that are holding up development of Canada’s natural resource sector.”


Take Action for Canada’s Future

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