Permit Times for Mining Exploration: How Long Are They?

In general, based on the perceptions of respondents, there is room for improvement across Canada. Ontario appears to be a laggard. Respondents indicated that not only were they waiting longer to receive their permits there than in competing provinces such as British Columbia and Quebec, but Ontario also offered less transparency and certainty throughout the permitting process. Northwest Territories and Nunavut also need to improve. At the other end of the scale is Saskatchewan, which tended to perform relatively well when it comes to limiting the time it takes to receive permits, as well as ensuring that the process is highly transparent.

On one aspect of permit-times that we asked respondents to assess—how long it takes to receive the necessary permits—Saskatchewan performed particularly well; 87 percent of respondents answered that they received the necessary permits in six months or less. This compares to 80 percent of respondents in British Columbia, 76 percent of respondents in Quebec, and only 64 percent of respondents in Ontario.

Respondents were also asked to indicate how often governments met their own established timelines/milestones for permit approval decisions. Fifty-three percent of respondents in Saskatchewan reported that government met its approval timelines more than 80 percent of the time. This compares to 38 percent in British Columbia, 28 percent in Quebec, and 22 percent in Ontario.

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