Issue 3: Land, water, and air impacts of natural resource development

In Canada, there is vast resource and economic potential from energy to mineral extraction. Consequently, many of these resource development projects have both negative and positive social and environmental consequences to its surrounding communities.



The variety of species in the world or in a particular habitat or ecosystem.

Land Impacts

  • Risk of losing biodiversity
  • Risk of species loss - from indicator species to endangered species
  • Loss of land diversity
  • Degradation of land due to erosion - may result in decrease agricultural output, changes in irrigation systems for crops, changes in diet for animals and humans due to implications on native plants, increase in salinity in soils

Water Impacts

  • Risk of losing aquatic species
  • Chemicals/by-products spillage into canals, reservoirs, and waterways
  • Thermal pollution from processes in lakes and rivers

Air Impacts

  • Decline in air quality due to pollution  
  • Contribution to climate change due to increase of greenhouse gases

Social Impacts

  • Loss of Indigenous way of life
  • Environmental racism  
  • Increase in health issues
  • Cost of treating illnesses increases
  • Boom and bust economy
  • Economic development in Indigenous communities
  • Disportionate impacts on woman, as discussed in Issue 2

Key Stakeholders

Who is affected?

  • Everyone - a low carbon future affects all of us!
  • Indigenous communities
  • At risk northern communities
  • Local, provincial, and federal governments
  • Private companies seeking economic opportunities

Decision Makers and Responsibilities:

What are Parties saying?

What is being done now?

The Federal Sustainable Development Strategy

Several other government acts are relevant to impacts of resource development:

Natural Resources Canada also provides access to a wide variety of publications on natural resources and their impacts, to assist with transparency and risk mitigation of firms. More information on sustainability related to natural resources.


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