Canada’s 2013 Budget a ‘mixed bag’ for miners – MAC – by Henry Lazenby ( – March 22, 2013)

TORONTO ( – Mining Association of Canada (MAC) on Friday said the new federal Budget for 2013 is a mixed bag when it came to its impacts on the Canadian mining industry.

MAC said it was encouraged by the significant new measures announced to address skills shortages, including the establishment of a Canada Job Grant, support for more paid internships, the reduction of barriers in apprenticeship accreditation, the reallocation of funds to promote education in high-demand fields, and funding for Yukon College’s Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining.

The association added the Canadian mining sector appreciated government’s enhanced Aboriginal training-to-employment programmes and a boost in scholarships and bursaries, which is proportionally the largest private sector employer of Aboriginal peoples in Canada.

MAC also welcomed the government’s proposal to provide $37-million over the next two years to support research partnerships with industry through the granting councils.

“As an industry that will require an estimated 145 000 new workers over the next ten years, we are pleased that skills and labour training emerged as a key theme of the federal budget. This attention underscores the incredible opportunities before Canadians for well-paying jobs, but also the current skills gap that acts as a barrier for workers in finding employment, especially for positions that are highly-skilled or technical in nature,” MAC president and CEO Pierre Gratton said.

Mining Industry Human Resources Council executive director Ryan Montpellier added the budget supported the priorities championed by the council’s stakeholders as necessary to mitigate the skills shortage – skills development, Aboriginal training and robust labour-market information.

“This is essential to keep our industry sustainable as we move forward in addressing the mismatch of skilled workers with available jobs and the huge exodus of retiring workers in the next ten years,” he said.

The Budget extended the 15% Mineral Exploration Tax Credit (METC) for an additional year, an important tax incentive for the junior exploration sector. Its renewal is critical at this time, given market jitters and the challenges faced by junior companies in raising high-risk capital.

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