ALBERTA

Groups Urge Alberta, Federal Government To Address Oilsands Expansion Risk

11/13/2013 04:04 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
Bloomberg via Getty Images
CANADA - MARCH 06: The Mildred Lake upgrader, on the grounds of The Syncrude Project in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada is pictured from the air Monday, March 6, 2006. An upgrader is part of the process in extracting useable oil from oil sands. The Syncrude Project is a joint venture operated by Syncrude Canada Ltd. and owned by Canadian Oil Sands Limited, ConocoPhillips Oilsands Partnership II, Imperial Oil Resources, Mocal Energy Limited, Murphy Oil Company Ltd., Nexen Inc., and Petro-Canada Oil and Gas. (Photo by Norm Betts/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
MONTREAL - The federal and provincial governments need to do more to offset risks and regional disparities stemming from rapid expansion of the oilsands, says a new report by a think tank and an environmental group.

The report, titled "Booms, Busts and Bitumen: The economic implications of Canadian oilsands," indicates that most of the economic benefits of the development will flow to Alberta and that even the United States will get more job opportunities than the rest of Canada.

The document by the Pembina Institute and Equiterre indicates the rest of Canada outside of Alberta will only get 14 per cent of the job opportunities created by the development.

It also suggests that such side-effects of the boom could include a higher dollar that would make it more difficult for Canadian manufacturers to compete globally.

"The manufacturing sectors of Ontario and Quebec have been, and are still, suffering greatly from the rapid increase in the value of the Canadian dollar," Steven Guilbeault, Equiterre's senior director, said in a statement.

"Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to register with the federal government. A truly national economic and energy plan would benefit communities and industries across the country, not just in one region."

The report recommended both the federal and Alberta government ensure that one-time resource wealth be used to create long-term benefits, such as through a savings fund or investments to reduce dependency on fossil fuels.

It also says there should be full consideration of costs and benefits of rapid oilsands development included in the project review and approval process.

The report also calls for a federal study on maintaining competitiveness in the face of a higher dollar and a move to low-carbon industries across Canada.

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