New Job Opportunities Don’t Match Losses in Canada’s Oilpatch
Efforts to move unemployed Canadian oilpatch workers into green energy and other alternative careers aren’t keeping up with the employment needs of more than 100,000 people laid off since 2014, two fossil lobby groups assert.
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and the Canadian Society of Unconventional Resources (CSUR) reached the estimate of layoffs—roughly a third of the industry’s pre-2014 workforce—after surveying 864 current and former fossil employees, three-quarters of whom were Albertan. More than a quarter (27.5%) had been out of work for a year, and more than a fifth (22.5%) for two.
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“Energy prices are recovering,” columnist Claudia Cattaneo reports across the U.S.-owned Postmedia newspaper chain, “but many [workers] are still out of a job, gave up looking for work, retired early, or are starting over in entry-level positions in other industries at a fraction of their previous salaries.”
She adds that “government efforts to reintegrate displaced oil workers have been slow and minimal next to the legions of jobless made redundant by the new priorities,” citing the lobbyists’ report. Meanwhile, “green and other new economy jobs promised by governments as part of their push toward renewable energy have been slow to materialize, and usually go to better-qualified candidates from other industries.”
While job losses have slowed since the worst of the downturn, the columnist writes, “people are still losing their jobs as international companies pull out of Canada.” While previous cycles of unemployment ended when prices recovered, this time, “the jobs seem to have gone for good,” she adds, citing CSUR President Dan Allan, who represents tar sands/oil sands interests.
Predictably enough, the two fossil lobby groups, whose members collectively receive billions of dollars in annual subsidies from Canadian taxpayers, called for additional federal and provincial policies “to encourage upstream oil and natural gas investment,” in order to revive oilpatch employment.