Canada’s Building Trades Unions Executive Director, Sean Strickland, has released the following statement:
“On behalf of the 600,000 members of Canada’s Building Trades Unions, many of whom work in the oil and gas sector, we applaud the thoughtful approach that the Government of Canada is taking towards transitioning our economy to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. This is no small task and is a transformative adjustment for the Canadian economy that must strike a balance between combatting climate change and enduring the continuation of good, middle-class jobs to ensure no one gets left behind.
We are encouraged by the Government of Canada’s introduction of the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan which includes $9.1 billion in investments, including an additional funding of $400 million for zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) charging stations. The Plan included moving forward on the Atlantic Loop – a regional power grid that will help to transform Canada’s energy landscape and put Canadians to work, and commitments to expanding new green technologies such as carbon capture, utilization and storage. While today’s announcement is a step forwards to help achieve Canada’s net-zero objectives, it remains clear that a team Canada approach is needed.
The Government of Canada needs to ensure a move to net-zero is just for all stakeholders – including Canada’s skilled trades workers. Moving forward, in addition to the supports announced today, the Government needs to:
- Update and develop, as needed, government policies and programs that support transitioning workers including continued support for programs like the Union Training and Innovation Program, Apprenticeship Services Program and Sectoral Initiatives funding.
- Conduct labour market analysis to determine how employment opportunities in oil and gas will be impacted by the transition to net-zero emissions to determine and ensure how feasible it would for workers in oil and gas to transfer to a job in clean energy.
- Invest in large-scale infrastructure projects to bridge the gap during this transformative transition period until new energy technologies come on stream in.
- Invest in new technology including Carbon, Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS), hydrogen and small modular reactors.
- Ensure workers voices are represented on any Just Transition or net-zero advisory groups.
Canada’s Building Trades Unions stand committed to working with the Government to ensure a Just Transition includes the voice of workers, recognizing that the good, middleclass jobs found in the oil and gas sector will be most impacted by our changing economy.”
See Canada’s Building Trades Unions full recommendations on a Just Transition found here.