Final Report by the Task Force on Just Transition for Canadian Coal Power Workers and Communities: section 8

Part 3: A subsequent phase of consultation and analysis on just transition

More than ever before, Canada and countries around the world are finding ways to become cleaner and greener. The transition away from coal-fired electricity is only one piece. Projections suggest that Canada will decrease its use of fossil fuels starting as early as 2020Footnote 36 . Wood Mackenzie, a global leader in energy data and research, projects that global demand for oil will peak in 2036.Footnote 37

At the same time, countries, sub-nationals like provinces and cities, and businesses are all taking serious action to reduce emissions in the face of the devastating impacts of climate change. The Government of Canada is implementing over 50 measures to fight climate change, increase resilience to the impacts of a changing climate, and support economic clean growth.Footnote 38 

These efforts will provide concrete economic opportunities for Canadians.

Opportunities identified by Canada’s Generation Energy CouncilFootnote 39 

The Generation Energy Council’s recent report identifies four main pathways to reach a low-carbon future and associated opportunities:

  1. wasting less energy will result in thousands of new jobs in the energy efficiency sector and could significantly contribute to Canada’s emissions reduction target
  2. switching to clean power will attract businesses that put a premium on clean power, including technology companies, and support the creation of manufacturing jobs related to electric vehicles and batteries in Canada
  3. using more renewable fuels will support the growth of Canada’s renewable fuel sector, creating new jobs and export opportunities that take advantage of Canada’s plentiful natural resources
  4. producing cleaner oil and gas will help garner public support in Canada for new infrastructure projects that will result in local jobs and economic growth, while also renewing the reputation of Canadian oil and gas abroad

The global and Canadian transition away from fossil fuels will impact all Canadians, but particularly those workers and communities who directly rely on the fossil fuel industry. To do so, the Government of Canada could undertake a subsequent and broader phase of consultation and analysis on just transition in Canada with industries beyond coal. This process could take several forms, including on a policy-by-policy basis—following our Task Force’s approach—or on a sector-by-sector basis. Any approach should involve Indigenous peoples, consistent with Canada’s commitment to renewing nation-to-nation relationships.

Establishing an independent task force of experts is a model to consider going forward. Many representatives saw us as fair and sincere brokers, who would report back to government openly and honestly. The creation of our Task Force, and our engagement approach, was valuable and important. It should be considered as a model going forward.

While workers and communities appreciated meeting with our Task Force, there were repeated calls to also meet with the Government of Canada, including before a decision is made and as actions are taken.

In moving forward on just transition the Government of Canada can take different approaches, including another Task Force. Regardless of the process, any further consultation and analysis must follow the Task Force’s Seven Principles for a Just Transition. Doing so will put us on the right path to prosper throughout the global transition to clean growth and a low-carbon economy.

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