Ottawa Unveils Just Transition Plan for Coal Workers and Communities
The Canadian government has released terms of reference for a just transition task force that will meet with coal communities and work forces, talk to companies in the coal, cleantech, and finance industries, visit communities affected by the country’s accelerated coal phaseout, and report back within nine months.
The nine members of the yet-to-be-named task force will include experts in work force development and sustainability, alongside representatives from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Canadian Labour Congress, the electricity sector, a labour federation in an affected province, and representatives of unions involved with coal extraction, coal-fired generation, and skilled trades related to coal power.
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“We know the environment and the economy go hand in hand, so we’re committed to making the transition a fair one for coal workers and communities,” Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna said in a release.
The task force will dig into the front-line impacts of the phaseout, new economic opportunities for affected workers, use of infrastructure or economic development funds to support the transition, and any policy or program gaps, the federal terms of reference state. Then the members will “provide options and recommendations to the Minister on what could be included in a just transition plan for coal power workers and communities, to enable workers and communities affected by the phaseout to identify economic opportunities for the future, capitalize on those opportunities, and minimize impacts as the transition is made.”
Climate Action Network-Canada hailed the announcement as “a testament to the dedicated efforts of Canadian unions and coal workers who have been calling for it since 2016.”
CAN-Rac “is committed to working with its members and allies in the labour movement to ensure that climate action in Canada is strongly grounded in principles of just transition, recognizing the needs of Indigenous communities, workers, and communities from coast to coast to coast,” said Executive Director Catherine Abreu.
“Once substantive progress is made on its initial attention to coal phaseout, we expect the mandate of the Task Force to evolve toward supporting a just transition out of other high-emitting sectors and into the clean energy economy.” [Disclosure: Energy Mix Productions is a member of CAN-Rac.]