Resource Works: Four out of five Canadians say natural resources are good for the economy

April 8, 2021

An overwhelming majority of Canadians believe that natural resource development is an important contributor to the economy and investing in it will help the nation’s post COVID-19 recovery, according to a poll released today, done on behalf of Resource Works and the Task Force for Real Jobs, Real Recovery. 

Ipsos conducted the poll of 2,000 adult (18+) Canadians from March 17 to 22, 2021. The work was done on behalf of Resource Works and the Task Force for Real Jobs, Real Recovery.


  • 81 per cent agreed natural resource development (oil, gas, renewable energy, forestry, mining, agriculture and fishing) is good for Canada.
  • 83 per cent believe Canada’s natural resource sector is an important contributor to the Canadian economy today.
  • 73 per cent agree investment in Canada’s natural resource sector will help Canada’s post COVID-19 economic recovery with only 15 per cent disagreeing.

Said Stewart Muir, executive director of Resource Works: “This survey is a reminder that most Canadians connect the dots between the high quality of life they enjoy, and the natural resource sector that remains in 2021 an economic driver we cannot do without.”

The Task Force for Real Jobs, Real Recovery has urged the federal government to utilize Canada’s abundant natural resource opportunities to enable a return to normal economic activity after the pandemic.

Economic modelling conducted for the Task Force for Real Jobs, Real Recovery by Dr. G.K. Fellows shows that the right success conditions for natural resources and manufacturing could result in improved capital productivity and reduced trade costs. This points to up to 2.6 million new jobs and as much as a 17 per cent jump in real GDP, yielding nearly $200 billion in potential increases in labour earnings – at a time when Canada’s economic future is uncertain due to the impacts of COVID-19.

The task force outlined opportunities in carbon capture, hydrogen, forestry, chemistry and mining that combine economic growth and environmental protection.

“Continued use and development of natural resources will generate good jobs, provide government revenues and result in innovations that reduce their climate impact,” said Muir.

On the question of transitioning to a low-carbon economy, Canadians are split on how long this will take. Currently, about 19% of Canada’s energy comes from renewable sources. Ipsos asked poll respondents how long it will take for renewable energy sources to provide the majority (50%+) of Canada’s energy.

About two fifths said this transition will take 30 years or more while two fifths said 20 years or less.

Generation Z respondents were most likely to think a rapid transition will take place in two decades or less.

“Given the strong support for natural resources overall, that is where we can be looking for answers to society’s most challenging problems. That’s also where the most strategic reductions in Canada’s emissions are possible,” said Margareta Dovgal, Resource Works’ director of research and Task Force coordinator. “I can see youth my age asking the right questions about when this transformation can take place. Where we see a generation gap, there is an opportunity to broaden the dialogue about how Canada can get there.”

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