Energy, Mines and Resources

Government's role in oil and gas development

Considering public interest and the benefits of development

The discussions around how the public benefits from natural resource development are often difficult. Much of the time, the focus of these discussions revolves around the environment.

While environmental stewardship is a primary consideration, government is also responsible for considering the social and economic benefits of any proposed development project.

Sustainable development requires a balance between environmental, social and economic considerations, often called the three legs of a stool. While other groups may focus strictly on the environmental aspects of development or the economic considerations, governments must represent the broader public interest in seeking the best sustainable path for developing publicly owned resources.

The Yukon government’s role is to ensure that benefits are maximized while carefully mitigating and managing any potential effects on people and the environment. There are many laws, regulations and policies to guide these decisions.

In exploring these benefits, history has demonstrated that it reaches further than the direct jobs created.

Benefits actually come in the form of jobs + services + economic diversification + expanded tax base + royalties + innovation + healthy communities.

Jobs are an obvious benefit. In the early stages of exploration and development, jobs may be somewhat limited, but as a sector matures so does the local talent pool.

Yukon has a very talented service sector base that already supplies the existing natural resource development sector. These businesses are the early benefactors. The larger the service sector, the more resilient it is to changes in the economy and the more it can keep the economy stable.

Establishing new businesses brings new tax sources for government, which in turn shares the tax load with personal, commercial and industrial sources.

The resource owner (Yukon or First Nation government) not only receives rent from natural resource development companies but also royalties, which are a portion of the sale of the natural resource. This is in addition to other payments such as land and sales taxes.

One of the most under-recognized benefits of a responsible natural resource project is the pride and dignity afforded to those who find employment. These local residents are able to support families, learn new skills and abilities, possibly work closer to home, and expand their future employment opportunities. While this may be slow going at first, employment opportunities progress as the natural resource sectors mature.

As mentioned, sustainable development requires a balance between environmental, social and economic considerations. The benefits outlined are part of what governments consider when seeking the best sustainable path for developing publicly owned resources.

Learn more about the benefits of oil and gas development

Questions or comments? Contact us: 


Oil and Gas Resources
Phone: 867.393.7042
Toll-free: 1.800.661.0408 ext. 7042
Email: oilandgasconversation@gov.yk.ca