Oil and Gas extends lifespans, spawns energy efficiency and backstops most Canadians’ pension plans: Government Report

June 12, 2014

Ottawa, ON – Canada’s oil and gas industry has extended our country’s average lifespans, an expert witness says in a new report tabled yesterday by Leon Benoit, Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources.

“Every indicator of human well-being (from life expectancy to income per capita, hunger and infant mortality to child labour and education) improved dramatically as soon as the use of carbon fuels became widespread,” University of Toronto geography professor and author of “The Invisible Green Hand”, Pierre Desrochers said. He urged Canada to share these benefits with the rest of the world – especially developing economies.

The report also illuminates the fact that almost all Canadians’ pensions are heavily invested in the oil and gas industry’s future, added Calgary Centre MP Joan Crockatt, who initiated the study.

"Canadians might not know that the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan have been two of the largest investors in Syncrude - in the Oil Sands. “The benefits really are widespread.” But to realize Canada's energy future, we have to act now.

Kelly Block, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Natural Resources and a member of the committee, that undertook the 4 month study, emphasized: “This report demonstrates how the oil and gas industry benefits all Canadians from coast to coast to coast, which is something that many Canadians may be unaware of.”

Environmental technologies that make Canada a leader in the world were jumpstarted by the oil and gas industry, according to the report. These include water recycling and reuse, and world-leading greenhouse gas reduction technology now are utilized across many industries. As a result, ninety per cent of the oil used in the oil sands can be recycled.

Moreover, Canada has seen a resurgence in reforestation due to oil and gas use. Professor Desrochers testified that “our planet is much greener because of fossil fuels”. This is because Canada now extracts many of its natural resources from underground, as opposed to from the surface of the earth. Most interesting, was a statistic explaining that air pollution in Toronto a century ago was actually worse than that in present-day Beijing.

“We have long seen the impacts of the oil and gas industry in Central Alberta,” added Earl Dreeshen, MP for Red Deer, “not only for the jobs created directly and indirectly by the industry, but also the impacts on our quality of life by using these products. The oil and gas industry is truly the economic driver for Alberta and Canada and I am pleased to see this report recognize the widespread benefits for all Canadians.”

The imperative to act was underscored by Natural Resources Canada officials. Jay Khosla, Assistant Deputy Minister, Energy Sector. He testified that “Canada has a huge economic opportunity, but needs to act quickly.” According to him, “many argue that this is a time-limited window.” He noted that “economic experts agree on the tremendous importance and potential of Canada's energy sector.”

The report can be found online at: