Outsiders are often surprised by the sheer volume of different industry associations in Canada’s energy sector. There is an organization for drilling engineers, another focused on safety and an association dedicated to workforce planning - just to describe a few of the 31 listed on this page.
Behind the acronyms
When it comes to oil sands development, four high-profile associations include:
- Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), which represents energy producers in general
- Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) to represent pipeline companies
- Mining Association of Canada for the miners, including those active in oil sands
- Canadian Fuels Association, which serves companies active in upgrading and selling petroleum-based fuels to business and private consumers
These organizations play an important role in representing different sectors of the energy industry, advocating on behalf on their member companies. Through member sub-committees and other mechanisms, industry associations facilitate knowledge sharing and standardization of practices.
They also provide forums for members to help create alignment on industry issues and drive efficiencies in how industry interacts with stakeholders, including governments and regulators.
Informing the debate
As Canada’s energy debate has intensified, some energy associations have stepped up to help inform society about energy needs and practicalities. CAPP and CEPA in particular have done this through marketing and advertising campaigns. These organizations have also been publicly responding cogently and robustly to industry critics, and participating in public policy processes and on-going lobbying activity. This helps inform governments and policymakers on matters ranging from market access to environmental impacts to global energy demand.
Some in the energy debate are concerned about industry association participation in the public policy process. CAPP, for example, has been criticized by some for “being in the government’s back pocket.” Others say CAPP has too much influence on policy, citing overlap between industry and government positions on some energy matters.
From our point of view, elected and appointed government officials need to understand how our industry operates within the broader energy system. We feel it's important to provide expertise from industry for use in helping inform policy development. That’s why we believe it’s valuable to have CAPP and other industry associations at the policy table. We think it's useful other perspectives are heard and inform policy development too.
Whether it’s through communication, advocacy or policy participation, industry associations help make Canada’s energy conversation richer and more engaging.
We’re grateful for industry associations, and for the other excellent and often unsung work they perform on our behalf.