Canada’s Natural Resource Industries: Getting us through the COVID-19 Crisis – and beyond


In this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of Canada’s natural resource industries in our everyday lives has been magnified. Key sectors such as petroleum, electricity, forestry and mining are supporting essential services, producing critical supplies, and keeping us safe – in our homes, our hospitals, and our communities. When we get through this, our abundant natural resources will also be vital to our future prosperity. This text was written by Natural Resources Canada: download the pdf here.

Your Home

As each of us does our part to contain the virus by staying home, Canada’s resource industries continue to support us by keeping our lights on, our houses warm, and our families safe. For example:

  • Petrochemicals and their derivatives – such as isopropanol – are essential ingredients in our hand sanitizers, as well as various pharmaceutical drugs and some protective gear.
  • Critical minerals are the backbone of new technologies that are making our homes smarter, safer and more energy efficient.
  • Clean electricity and natural gas are powering our appliances so we can keep our homes well-stocked, our families fed, and our clothes virus-free.
  • Hygiene and sanitary products — including tissues and toilet paper — begin in our forests.

Your Hospital

If you or a loved one needs to visit a hospital, Canada’s resource industries will be with you there too, powering essential medical equipment, providing fuels for the backup generators, and supporting our healthcare workers’ heroic efforts. Sometimes, our natural resources will even show up in places you might never have imagined. For example:

  • Stainless steel is used in ventilators and radio-isotopes are essential for medical imaging and sterilization.
  • Copper and silver, which have antiviral and antibiotic properties, are used in everything from door handles and bedrails to wound dressings and topical antibiotics.
  • Many medical products are made by our petrochemicals industry, including plastics for IV bags and sterile packaging, and butadiene for nitrile gloves, as well as nitrous oxide for medical gases and even the petroleum-based molecule phenol for aspirin.
  • Wood and its derivatives can be found in everything from surgical masks to gowns, as well as pharmaceutical packaging and many medical technologies.

Your Community

Canada’s resource industries are helping to keep us safe, secure, connected, and fed in our communities. For example:

  • Critical minerals are powering our smart phones and computers so that we can work from home and stay connected to our friends, colleagues, and loved ones.
  • Some pharmaceutical feedstock derived from our petrochemicals could hold the keys to a potential vaccine, enhanced treatments and better testing for the coronavirus.
  • Metals and minerals are supporting our food supply chain – everything from potash for agricultural fertilizers to uranium for the nuclear energy that powers our greenhouses.
  • Fuels are driving those food supply chains too, as well as the airplanes, trains, and delivery trucks that are bringing food to our grocery stores and the emergency vehicles that our first responders are relying upon.

Your Future

As the pandemic has shown, Canada’s resource companies are a particularly vital source of infrastructure, equipment and logistical support in remote and northern communities. We need to make sure our energy, mining and forestry sectors remain strong and sustainable for the future. This includes Canada’s petroleum sector, which is facing historic low oil prices.


  • Resource industries are among Canada’s largest employers, our top exporters and a leading source of wealth generation and government revenues. We need to ensure that once this crisis clears, these sectors are still able to help kick start our economy, provide good jobs for Canadians, and fund our clean-growth future.
  • A strong energy sector is central to all of that. This includes the oil industry that currently fuels 97 percent of Canada’s transportation system; the Canadian LNG industry that has the potential to displace less clean sources of energy in use around the world; and of course, the country’s clean energy producers (such as wind, solar and hydropower) that are helping to lead our transition to a low-carbon economy.
  • Canada’s critical minerals will be essential for vital manufacturing sectors, such as defence, aerospace communications, automotive and clean technology.
  • And there will be no climate-action plan that does not include our forest sector and the wood and wood products it produces.


Source: Natural Resources Canada

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