Minister McKenna announces members of Just Transition Task Force for coal workers and communities

News release

April 25, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario

The Government of Canada is delivering on its promise to fight climate change and grow the economy because it understands that pollution has a real, tangible cost, which puts stress on the health of our communities, on our economy, and on Canadians themselves. Phasing out traditional coal power reduces pollution, and it is the right thing to do for our health, our economy, and the environment.

The Government of Canada is committed to making the transition from coal power to cleaner energy a fair one for Canadian workers and communities. The Just Transition Task Force will advise the government on how best to ensure that those affected by the coal phase-out have the support they need in the transition to a clean-growth economy.

Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced the members of Canada’s Just Transition Task Force, and she met with the members ahead of their first national meeting.

The Government of Canada’s Just Transition Task Force will be co-chaired by the President of the Canadian Labour Congress, Hassan Yussuff, and the Executive Director of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, Lois Corbett. Including the co-chairs, the Task Force has eleven members, of which seven were nominated by the Canadian Labour Congress, Unifor, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Four members were selected by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change for their expertise in sustainable development, workforce development, and the electricity sector.

The terms of reference for the Just Transition Task Force were published in February 2018, along with updated regulations accelerating the phase-out of traditional coal-fired electricity, by 2030.

Budget 2018 identified $35 million, which will complement the work of the Just Transition Task Force by supporting skills development and economic diversification for workers and communities in the western and Atlantic regions.

The Task Force’s work will include meeting with communities, workers, and other stakeholders. Its members will make site visits to coal plants and communities that will be affected by the accelerated phase-out of coal power in Canada. Their mandate is to make recommendations to the federal government on how to help workers and communities identify economic opportunities for the future, seize those opportunities, and minimize impacts in the transition away from coal power.

The Just Transition Task Force will provide a final report to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, by the end of 2018.


Quotes

“Phasing out coal is good news for our climate, our health, and our kids. As we take the next steps in powering past coal, in Canada, we are working to ensure the transition away from coal power is a fair one for coal workers and communities. I’m thrilled to have such a strong group of experts giving us their best advice as we ensure that the environment and the economy go hand in hand.”

– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“By striking this important task force, the government has demonstrated a commitment to supporting workers and their communities as Canada transitions away from coal power. We have the opportunity to set an international example on how to reduce carbon emissions while putting people at the centre of progressive climate policy. I look forward to working collaboratively with the government and members of the Task Force.”

– Hassan Yussuff, Just Transition Task Force Co-Chair and President of the Canadian Labour Congress

“Moving toward a coal-free Canada is a smart step for protecting Canadians’ health and safety and building strong, sustainable communities in a changing climate. I’m looking forward to working with the Minister and my colleagues on the Task Force, to help workers and communities—from Belledune, in northern New Brunswick, to HR Milner, in western Alberta— move smoothly and fairly into stronger local economies in the fast-growing renewable energy sector.”

– Lois Corbett, Just Transition Task Force Co-Chair and Executive Director of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick

Quick facts

  • Employment and Social Development Canada is working closely with the Province of Alberta to assist people impacted by changes in the coal-fired electricity and the coal-mining sectors.

  • The Government of Canada is working with partners to share internationally what it learns about ensuring a just transition for affected workers and their communities, including with the over 60 government and business partners in the Powering Past Coal Alliance.

  • In December 2017, Canada and the World Bank announced a partnership to accelerate the energy transition in developing countries and provide analysis of best practices in ensuring a just transition away from coal.

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Associated links

Contacts

Caroline Thériault
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
613-462-5473
caroline.theriault2@canada.ca

Media relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
ec.media.ec@canada.ca
Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Twitter page
Environment and Natural Resources in Canada’s Facebook page


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