Panther Drilling Rig 3, working in southeast Saskatchewan on June 18, 2023. Will this federal plan for a “just transition” help workers like these? Photo by Brian Zinchuk

 

The House of Commons Natural Resources Committee tabled its report on “Creating a Fair and Equitable Canadian Energy Transformation” late in the day on Monday, June 19, just a few days before Parliament is expected to rise for the summer break. 

The introduction notes, “Canada will be better prepared to manage a net-zero transition if its governments, industries, workers and communities have a better understanding of what the transition is and where it is taking them. The following sections of this report describe the concepts and principles that are relevant to this transition, as well as steps the Government of Canada can take to better measure its progress toward a net-zero future.”

However, the Conservative dissenting report said, “The Liberal Just Transition plan is a dangerous government-mandated threat to kill 170,000 direct Canadian jobs, displace 450,000 workers directly and indirectly working in the energy sector, and risk the livelihoods of 2.7 million Canadian workers, negatively and disproportionately impact sectors, occupations and regions, disproportionately harm different provinces and communities, and drive up energy costs, while undermining energy security, for all Canadians.”

These are the 19 recommendations of the committee, presented verbatim as part of the report. The Conservatives and Bloc Quebecois both included dissenting reports. There will be extensive coverage from all the above from Pipeline Online in the coming days. 

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Recommendation 1

That the Government of Canada set clear targets for getting to net-zero with a clear plan to meet these targets.

Recommendation 2

That the Government of Canada collaborate with provinces and territories, municipalities and communities, businesses, organized labour, Indigenous governments and communities and other partners to:

  • conduct industry-by-industry analyses, disaggregated by region, that assess the potential labour market impacts of a net-zero transition;
  • identify individuals and groups who are disproportionately vulnerable to negative effects from a net-zero transition; and
  • publish the results of these analyses

Recommendation 3

That the Government of Canada set clear goals and principles based on Canada’s international climate obligations and responsibilities to Indigenous peoples, in partnership with workers, communities and other stakeholders, and that these principles reflect:

  • Canada’s obligation to address the climate crisis; and
  • the need to ensure that Canadian workers and communities, and Indigenous peoples, benefit from investments in a clean technology future
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Recommendation 4

That the Government of Canada take a broad approach to assessing the risks and opportunities associated with a net-zero transition, emphasizing the needs of workers while also identifying the indirect opportunities and impacts of the global net-zero transition on other individuals, groups and communities.

Recommendation 5

That the Government of Canada recognize that the transition to net-zero, while being a huge opportunity for growth in the clean tech sectors, must also work to alleviate negative impacts on regions and communities, and wherever possible, promote local production while supporting workers in dependent industries and affected domestic supply chains.

A dragline southwest of Bienfait, mining coal. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

Recommendation 6

That the Government of Canada implement all 10 recommendations from the Task Force on Just Transition for Canadian Coal Power Workers and Communities, and report on the implementation of those recommendations.

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Recommendation 7

That the Government of Canada commit adequate financial resources and establish robust policy and legislative frameworks necessary to lay out a clear path to a sustainable net-zero economy focused on job creation, skill development and making use of Canada’s advantage in clean tech resources, while respecting the jurisdiction of the provinces and territories.

 

Recommendation 8

That the Government of Canada end fossil fuel subsidies and establish a sustainable investment plan to develop a net-zero economy.

Recommendation 9

That the Government of Canada establish region- and sector-specific planning and reporting requirements in supporting the growth of sustainable jobs and that progress reports on the implementation of these plans be reported to Parliament on an annual basis

Recommendation 10

That the Government of Canada adopt a tripartite-plus approach (all orders of government, including Indigenous governments and affected municipalities; employers; and workers) that employs strong, ongoing social dialogue and an equity focus to establish standards, policies and programs related to labour.

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Recommendation 11

That Natural Resources Canada develop measures to enable greater Indigenous participation in—and ownership of—clean energy and natural resources projects.

Recommendation 12

That the Government of Canada establish clear rules to ensure companies that receive public money for net-zero investments have obligations to ensure domestic jobs with good employment standards and obligations for Indigenous involvement while considering the need to maximize economic benefits for communities.

Recommendation 13

That the Government of Canada legislate a dedicated government body to plan sustainable jobs initiatives and engagement for the ongoing development of a net-zero economy.

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Recommendation 14

That the Government of Canada make project approvals more efficient and strengthen Canada’s business case as a first-choice destination for investment in low-carbon resource and energy projects

Recommendation 15

That the Government of Canada ensure that nuclear energy projects are classified as clean energy projects and made eligible for sustainable finance.

Recommendation 16

That the Department of Finance Canada assess the scope and effectiveness of current tax measures, such as tax credits, for companies producing low-carbon and renewable fuels in Canada and include assessment of effectiveness of wage obligations and apprenticeship commitments and make changes to these measures as needed.

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Recommendation 17

That the Government of Canada work with the hydrogen industry, research and training organizations, Indigenous governments and communities, and provincial, territorial and municipal governments to develop a low-carbon hydrogen industry and national expertise in this field by:

  • implementing the Hydrogen Strategy for Canada;
  • allocating specific funding envelopes for low-carbon hydrogen production and related infrastructure; and
  • helping to build hydrogen hubs in close proximity to production sites and markets where demand for hydrogen could increase.

Recommendation 18

That the Government of Canada, while respecting provincial jurisdiction, collaborate with territories, educational institutions, businesses, trades associations, labour and Indigenous communities to:

  • identify the key skill sets needed in a net-zero transition;
  • prioritize historically marginalized or disadvantaged groups for reskilling and upskilling initiatives;
  • develop training curricula tailored to these skills sets and groups; and ensure training programs be developed in partnership with organized labour, who have established clear mechanisms for job training
  • and upgrades.

Recommendation 19

That the Government of Canada, while respecting provincial and territorial jurisdiction, work with them to assess the effectiveness and resilience of Canada’s benefits system in the context of a net-zero transition, by taking measures such as:

  • analyzing existing gaps in Employment Insurance system, including gaps that may emerge or widen in a net-zero transition;
  • exploring new income supports, including pension bridging, for individuals affected by net-zero transition; and
  • considering increases to existing income and training supports, including the Canada Training Benefit, and expanding communications support for the trades sector and credential recognition programs for immigrants to help address labour shortages.

 

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Jim Warren: Freezing in the Dark, 2023 Version. How many Canadians do Justin Trudeau and Steven Guilbeault anticipate the “just transition” will kill?

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