Evidence of meeting #31 for Indigenous and Northern Affairs in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was companies.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Paul Hébert  Vice-President, Government Relations, Mining Association of Canada
Ryan Montpellier  Executive Director, Mining Industry Human Resources Council
Philip Bousquet  Senior Program Director, Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada
Scott Cavan  Program Director, Aboriginal Affairs, Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Conservative Palliser, SK

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I'm going to add my voice. Welcome to the panel. Thank you for sharing part of your day with us.

In what ways does your organization work with aboriginal communities to improve environmental stewardship in mining activities? Can you highlight a couple of those for us?

4:35 p.m.

Vice-President, Government Relations, Mining Association of Canada

Paul Hébert

Sure. Members of the Mining Association of Canada are bound to participate in a program called Towards Sustainable Mining, or TSM for short. TSM outlines a number of performance standards in a number of areas, ranging from tailings management to GHG emissions and energy use, to community consultation and aboriginal engagement.

That program is overseen by a community-of-interest panel, which includes representation from civil society and a number of groups, including first nations groups. They provide governance and administration input to the program at an oversight level. That translates on the ground into how our member companies apply and use TSM in their environmental management and increase their environmental performance.

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Conservative Palliser, SK

What would you say are your best practices in this regard?

4:35 p.m.

Vice-President, Government Relations, Mining Association of Canada

Paul Hébert

I would point to TSM. It is an award-winning program. As recently as a couple of weeks ago, at the PDAC, we won an award. We won awards from the GLOBE Foundation. We've had recognition from Five Winds.

TSM is exceptional, in that it requires companies to publicly report against all of these protocols. Every three years they must submit to third-party independent verification. I would point to that as a best practice of a program that's really leading to increased performance from industry, in partnership with communities.

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Conservative Palliser, SK

Thank you.

Typically, who is responsible for monitoring and reporting on the social and environmental impacts of mining activities throughout the life of a mine? Who's the boss from start to finish?

4:35 p.m.

Vice-President, Government Relations, Mining Association of Canada

Paul Hébert

It has definitely become part of the culture of mining companies now to report on an ongoing basis on corporate social responsibility, community engagement, and environmental performance. It's part of the annual reporting culture, and it's often on more than an annual basis. They realize it is integral to their social licence to operate, so they need to report on it and demonstrate continuous improvement on an ongoing basis.

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Ray Boughen Conservative Palliser, SK

Thanks, Mr. Chair.

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Chris Warkentin

Thank you, Mr. Boughen.

Mr. Bevington, you have five minutes.

March 27th, 2012 / 4:35 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Good afternoon, and thanks for being here today.

Of course, in my riding mining is huge, and we want to keep it that way.

I know you have great issues around expanding employment, and I understand that.

I'm a little curious about some of the statistics. On the 300,000 employees you mention in your handout, is that the total industry?

4:35 p.m.

Vice-President, Government Relations, Mining Association of Canada

Paul Hébert

Correct. That's exploration, mining, smelting, and refining. Semi-fabrication is captured within that as well.

4:35 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Within the aboriginal mining statistics, you say they account for 7.5% of the mining workforce. But it's less than that, isn't it? You only have 4,500 people working there. You must be talking about a particular section of the mining industry.

4:35 p.m.

Vice-President, Government Relations, Mining Association of Canada

Paul Hébert

Yes. The way the workforce is sliced and diced differs according to StatsCan definitions of national occupational classifications.

4:35 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

You'd need 22,000 aboriginal workers to make up 7.5% of 300,000. You must be talking about a particular section. That's what I'm trying to get at.

4:35 p.m.

Vice-President, Government Relations, Mining Association of Canada

Paul Hébert

It's a more modest definition of the sector that doesn't include semi-fabrication, for example. That's a substantial portion.

4:35 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Right. That's 200,000 to 250,000 people.

4:35 p.m.

Vice-President, Government Relations, Mining Association of Canada

Paul Hébert

Do you know what the baseline number is for the 7.5%?

4:35 p.m.

Executive Director, Mining Industry Human Resources Council

Ryan Montpellier

The definition of the industry that we use for our labour market information is approximately 200,000 people for the mining sector, and aboriginal people constitute about 7.5% of the mining industry.

4:40 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

But you've got 4,500 people there. That would make an industry of about 60,000, if that was 7.5%. So you're talking about a section of the industry that's 60,000 people.

4:40 p.m.

Executive Director, Mining Industry Human Resources Council

Ryan Montpellier

That number is probably focused exclusively on extraction.

4:40 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Okay, so we're talking about extraction here.

Do you have any statistics for all the other fields?

4:40 p.m.

Vice-President, Government Relations, Mining Association of Canada

Paul Hébert

No, we don't at this time.

4:40 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Okay. What percentage of the 60,000 people would be management or supervisory?

4:40 p.m.

Executive Director, Mining Industry Human Resources Council

Ryan Montpellier

I can give you a ballpark, and it depends again how you quantify it, but if you look at the engineering and geoscience side of the extraction industry, it's about 10%. That tends to be the mine managers and the supervisors. I would give you a ballpark of 10% to 15% of that.

4:40 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

And aboriginal people make up 1%. That would be 45 people across Canada who are management or supervisory in that whole industry. Within the Northwest Territories, surely we must have at least half of those. I can probably name half of those people. Is the rest of the industry really so devoid of management and supervisory people?

I'm really curious about that number. My experience in the Northwest Territories is that we're doing far better than that, that there are far more than 1%. Maybe you could illuminate that for us.

4:40 p.m.

Executive Director, Mining Industry Human Resources Council

Ryan Montpellier

When you look at the definition of the mining industry by NAICS and NOC-S, and you define the mining industry under a certain statistical lens, there are not a significant number of aboriginal people, who self-identify as aboriginal people, in supervisory roles. That I do believe is increasing, but for a number of reasons the mining industry has not had a tremendous amount of success at moving aboriginal people into supervisory roles. A number of supervisory occupations do require a significant amount of post-secondary education. Most of the people in supervisory roles in mining are engineers, either mining engineers or geoscientists, and that has been a barrier for aboriginal advancement, there's no question.