A Just Transition in Canada’s Path to Decarbonization

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently announced more ambitious climate targets during an April 2021 climate summit hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden. While the much-anticipated federal budget initially included a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 36% below 2005 levels, the federal government is now pledging 40% to 45%. While this is lower than pledges made by many other countries, Canadian oil and gas union Unifor is concerned that these ambitious goals will have major socio-economic impacts without a clear transition plan in place. The union supports further emissions reductions; in fact, they even agree with Environmental Defence’s push for Canada to aim for 60%. However, their concern is centred on whether the federal government is planning a just transition. In 2019, Trudeau pledged the creation of a Just Transition Act while the Ministry of Natural Resources recently reaffirmed that such legislation is in the works. A Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report asserts that strong government intervention will be required to ensure no workers are left behind. Such supports would include funding for retraining along with further investment in alternative energy industries to ensure the availability of new jobs.

Photo by Zoran Ocik from Getty Images/Canva

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