MONTRÉAL, June 8, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - As the 21st edition of the Conférence de Montréal opens, the (CPQ) Quebec Employers Council is unveiling the second in a series of studies being conducted in conjunction with the PROSPERITE.QUEBEC campaign; the latest study is entitled "Québec's natural resources: A natural source of prosperity".
This analysis mainly focuses on three natural resources sectors: forestry, minerals and metals, and energy – including the extraction and transformation activities relating to them. The study demonstrates the benefits from responsible exploitation of natural resources on Quebecers' standard of living and quality of life.
"It is possible to harmoniously combine the development of natural resources with efficient environmental and social policies," stated Employers Council President and CEO, Yves-Thomas Dorval. "While a social dialogue is essential to be entirely cognizant of this fact, we first need to appreciate, at its full value, the positive contribution made by companies in this sector and the potential Québec has to become a veritable world-class leader."
International comparisons show that the exploitation of natural resources contributes to our prosperity through various economic dynamics
"Businesses operating in the natural resources activity sphere contribute to our collective prosperity in many ways," stated Norma Kozhaya, the Employers Council's Vice-President of Research and Chief Economist. "These companies are above average in productivity, they raise our standard of living, the jobs are higher paying than the average, they participate in the diversification of the economy and regional development and they helps in reducing economic disparities. Moreover, the dynamics of international trade enhances our prosperity."
While Québec's natural resources sector declined over the last few years compared to the services sectors, it still managed to make a substantial economic contribution. In 2013, it represented about 11% of GDP, 5% of employment and 42% of exports. Meanwhile, contrary to certain beliefs, the contribution of natural resources transformed in the province of Québec is sizable. Natural resources transformation activities comprise 45% of the sector's total production, they provide more than two-thirds of the jobs and represent more than 88% of the exports.
Unleash Québec's potential so it can compete with the major players
Québec is most fortunate to have an abundance and diversity of natural resources on its territory, whose economic potential is yet to be fully developed. In terms of GDP, Québec's forestry sector is bigger than in any of the other Canadian provinces, with the exception of British Columbia. Québec ranks second in the mining and minerals sector, behind Ontario, and is also second in the energy sector, well behind Alberta.
Two aspects are interdependent and inseparable. Firstly, natural resources are an economic lever that help create thousands of jobs, drive regional economic development and help finance a substantial share of public services through government revenues that are generated. On the other hand, the exploitation of natural resources must be done responsibly with respect to the environment and the communities while ensuring the sustainability of development for future generations.
"Québec lags behind the Canadian average in terms of GDP and disposable income," said Mr. Dorval. "Natural resources can help to close this gap and provide the means to better meet the needs of citizens' quality of life, notably in the areas of health, education and social protection for the most underprivileged."
The study is available on the PROSPERITE.QUEBEC website.
About the Employers Council: The Quebec Employers Council brings together many of Québec's largest companies and the vast majority of sector-based employers' groups, making it Québec's sole employer federation. It represents directly and indirectly more than 75,000 employers of all sizes in both the private and public sectors, with operations in Quebec.
SOURCE Conseil du patronat du Québec
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