Canada’s unions release roadmap for workers to see a path forward in Canada’s changing economy

December 14, 2023

OTTAWA––The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) has partnered with the Pembina Institute to release the second in a series of reports offering a blueprint for the creation of good, sustainable jobs.

The latest report, Putting workers and communities at the centre of Canada’s net-zero energy economy, funded by Natural Resources Canada, outlines actions and investments that governments should make to support workers in the shift to a sustainable economy.

“Canada stands at a crossroads. People across the country and around the globe are experiencing the impacts of climate change in their work and their everyday lives to a degree that’s unprecedented,” said Bea Bruske, President of the CLC. “Our economy must adapt in order to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, but it must also be positioned to take advantage of the massive industrial and economic opportunities that come with a global shift to net-zero. To accomplish that, we must ensure workers have a seat at the decision-making table.”

“Countries around the world are racing to secure their place in a net-zero future,” said Chris Severson-Baker, Executive Director of the Pembina Institute. “At the same time, a people-centered energy transition and industrial decarbonization strategies have the potential to create a host of co-benefits that can improve the everyday lives of Canadians — boosting the economy, creating new livelihoods, improving health outcomes, and creating a better future for equity-deserving groups.”

“This report rightly puts skills development and training at the heart of a blueprint needed to achieve Canada’s climate targets and carve out new sources of competitive advantage in a net-zero world,” said Pedro Barata, Executive Director of the Future Skills Centre. “The recommendations point to the need for place-based and sectoral approaches that bring together stakeholders – including workers – to co-design and implement solutions to the challenges facing Canadian workers, starting now, in the places where they will be felt first and most acutely.”

The report shows that 2 million people will be working in the Canadian clean energy sector by 2050, that investing in workers and regional economies can increase GDP by a cumulative $55 billion between 2040 and 2050, and supports for accredited, non-profit training can drive down unemployment and increase wages for workers in resource sectors.

“We absolutely cannot afford to let these opportunities pass Canada by,” added Bruske.

Canada can either be a leader with a plan to train workers, decarbonize industries, support economic diversification, and ensure our workers are leaders in a net-zero global economy, or miss this golden opportunity.

“A framework for international and national just transitions is needed. It must address equity, social, economic, and environmental dimensions, aligning with the ILO guidelines adopted by governments at the ILC in June on Just Transition,” said Diana Junquera Curiel, Acting Director of the Just Transition Centre. “Labour rights, social dialogue, and social protection are being pushed by unions into the climate discussions, emphasizing the need for international justice for a Just Transition and workers at the table in Just Transition policies.”

Decision-makers across the federal government, provinces, territories, the Sustainable Jobs Partnership Council and Sustainable Jobs Secretariat will find in this report recommendations to support workers with skills and training, income security, engagement and labour rights, as well as economic-focused actions to optimize and leverage the energy transition for the good of workers and their communities. The sustainable blueprint for Canada will provide a roadmap to ensure workers can see a path forward for their future.

ABOUT:

The Canadian Labour Congress is the largest labour organization in Canada, bringing together dozens of national and international unions, provincial and territorial federations of labour and community-based labour councils to represent more than 3 million workers across the country.

The Pembina Institute is a charitable thinktank working to solve today’s greatest energy challenges — reducing the harmful impacts of fossil fuels while supporting the transition to an energy system that is clean, safe and sustains a high quality of life.

The Future Skills Centre (FSC) is a forward-thinking centre for research and collaboration dedicated to driving innovation in skills development so that everyone in Canada can be prepared for the future of work. The FSC is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Program.

The Just Transition Centre was established in 2016 by the ITUC and partners. The Centre brings together workers and their unions, businesses and governments in social dialogue and stakeholder engagement with communities and civil society to ensure that labour has a seat at the table when planning for a Just Transition to a low-carbon world.

ENGLISH VERSION

The full report can be accessed here.

FRENCH VERSION

Because of the dense nature of this report and the policies proposed, a French version of this report will be released in January. For now, the full English report can be accessed here.

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To arrange an interview, please contact:

CLC Media Relations
media@clcctc.ca
613-526-7426

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