Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Good afternoon, committee members.
As the chair mentioned, my name is Paul Hébert. I'm the vice-president, government relations, with the Mining Association of Canada. I bring regards from my president, Pierre Gratton, who was invited to appear but had to be in London at meetings today.
To get things started, I'd like to begin by telling you a little bit about the Mining Association of Canada. We are the national voice of the mining industry in Canada. We represent some 35 members active in the full range of commodities, from iron ore to gold, diamonds, oil sands, steel making, coal, base metals, and uranium. We also have some 50 associate members active in engineering, environment, and finance. Our members are engaged in exploration, mining, smelting, semi-fabrication, and supply in the mining sector.
I have a few words about the industry's domestic contribution. The mining industry is one of the engines of Canada's economy, with some 306,000 employees. Average weekly wages are in the neighbourhood of $1,600, which is 30% to 60% above that of other sectors.
The Canadian mining sector includes over 220 producing mines as well as 33 smelters and refineries. In 2010 the sector paid $8.4 billion in taxes and royalties to governments. To give you some perspective, that's about the equivalent of the taxes paid by one million Canadians.
On average, the sector invests about $20 billion in capital investment annually, and the trend we've been seeing over the last few years and that we're forecasting in years to come is substantially higher than that.
We are the largest private sector employer of aboriginal Canadians, and I'll have a little bit more to say on that.
We are also a core supplier to the clean technology sector in Canada.
In 2010, we contributed $36 billion to Canada's GDP.
Talking about capital investment, over the next five years we have tabulated that industry plans to invest some $140 billion in new projects and in project expansions across the country from coast to coast to coast. So the industry is enjoying very healthy times, driven in large part by demand from China. Prices are quite buoyant. Although access to capital is sometimes challenging, the need for the raw materials is there.
This translates into a huge opportunity for Canadians in general and for aboriginal people in particular. The human resources challenge is one of the key challenges facing the mining industry in Canada to take advantage of this opportunity before us. We know that the mining and exploration sector will need over 110,000 new workers by 2021, so that equates to roughly 50% of the workforce turning over in less than 10 years.
We need all kinds of workers, from physical scientists and geoscientists to miners, tradespeople, people in finance, in health care, and support staff. There is really quite a broad range of opportunities.
Aboriginal people have quite a strong history of mining and tend to be ideally located to take advantage of rewarding careers in mining. Many communities are located in very close proximity to mining projects, and mining companies are doing an increasingly good job of engaging with those communities and reaching agreements with communities to make sure those economic benefits do accrue to the broader group.
Some aboriginal mining statistics: We are the largest private sector employer. Aboriginal workers accounted for about 7.5% of the mining workforce in 2006, the most recent census data we have, and we strongly suspect that number is higher now. That 7.5% translates into roughly double what the aboriginal population constitutes of the total workforce. So it's a success, but it's also an opportunity when you consider how close we are to those communities. We are doing a good job and need to continue doing an even better job of engaging with those aboriginal groups. That 7.5% also marks a doubling in a period of 10 years.
In 1996, only about 3.6% of the workforce came from the aboriginal community. In 2006, it was 7.5%, of which 14% are women. That equates to about 4,500 aboriginal people working in the mining industry in 2006. One challenge that exists in aboriginal engagement is the positions that those aboriginal people hold. Less than one percent of aboriginal people are in supervisory or management positions. They tend to be in entry-level positions. The challenge is to deliver training and establish career paths that will allow people to access the full range and strata of positions in the mining industry.
Concerning impact benefit agreements, in the deck that was sent to you, it says that there are over 170 agreements. In fact, the latest tabulation we've got is that there are 183 impact benefit and other agreements in place between mining companies and aboriginal communities across the country. In the deck you’ll see a list of a few notable agreements, from the Raglan Mine–Makivik agreement in 1995, to some of the more recent impact benefit agreements between Copper Mountain and the Upper Similkameen, and Imperial Metals’ Huckleberry Mine and the Williams Lake band. These have evolved into quite sophisticated agreements with the communities that include employment agreements, training and development, contracting, environmental land use...really quite broad and sophisticated agreements in their construction and in their administration.
We commend the government for some strong actions that have helped in the mining industry's engagement with the aboriginal community. One program is the aboriginal skills and employment partnership program, or ASEP, which happens to be sunsetting in about three or four days. We do know there are other funds through the strategic partnership initiative and the skills partnership fund that are going to fund those kinds of partnerships. I'll tell you a little bit more in the next slide.
We are also grateful for the support of the sector council program. Ryan Montpellier's organization, the Mining Industry Human Resources Council, has done and continues to do a lot of good work in the area of labour market intelligence and credentialling, which is very important in a time of pretty dire recruiting needs in the sector.
The ASEP program has gone to fund aboriginal mine training organizations across the country, and these are true public-private partnerships. Government funding has leveraged millions of dollars from the private sector, from provincial governments, and from aboriginal communities. From 2008 to 2012, over 3,000 aboriginal people were trained as a result of this program and 1,600 were placed in mining-related jobs through mining training organization programs. These are programs that deliver pre-employment and employment training, ranging from pre-screening to life skills to job search skills, some very job-specific technical training, mentoring, and on-the-job follow-up and coaching.
Mining ASEP programs really have been the highlight of the ASEP. They have been very successful, from B.C. all the way out to Voisey's Bay, to diamond mines in Ontario, and in the far north as well.
Now I'd like to turn the mike over to Ryan Montpellier. He'll tell you a little bit about the tools and resources they provide to the mining industry in order to diversify their workforces.