A just transition for workers and communities is the key to unlocking the ambition we need to meet our net-zero emission commitments.
Canada has already passed legislation mandating emissions reduction milestones, committing Canada to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050.
And the Canadian government is now consulting on just transition legislation. Getting this legislation right will be key to ensuring resilient and thriving communities and realizing the good job potential in ambitious climate action.
Workers must be at the table. The heart of just transition has workers at the table: nationally as we plan the transition of the whole of our economy to net-zero emissions, but also importantly, sector by sector, because we know different sectors will have unique challenges and opportunities, and community by community.
What is a just transition?
Social protection is key. From enhanced employment insurance and sick leave to health care, pension and quality public services including education and skills training, social protection gives workers and communities security during economic and social transitions.
At the same time, the government must implement just transition legislation that makes investments in high quality, low carbon union jobs, both in and outside the energy sector, and provide pathways for displaced workers to move into those jobs.
Just transition includes both measures to reduce the impact of job and livelihood losses and industry phase-out on workers and communities, and measures to produce new, low emissions and decent jobs and livelihoods as well as healthy communities.
Making sure the new jobs are good jobs is as important as making sure affected workers are not left behind.
What workers need most out of just transition is a good job. They want to know where are the new jobs? Which jobs most closely match their current skills set, and where is the training they need to get from here to there? They want to know they will be able to enjoy the dignified retirement they are working for, and they want their kids and neighbours to also have a future in thriving and resilient communities.
So what is a just transition? It’s a sector, region or economy-wide process that produces the plans, policies and investments so that:
It’s time for the Canadian government to deliver just transition legislation and bold investments for workers and communities.