Saskatchewan Announces $10 Million Fund to Help Coal Communities Diversify
Saskatchewan is making good on a Throne Speech promise last fall to direct C$10 million to coal communities to help them diversify into new economic development opportunities.
The funds will be divided between two cities hit hard by the commitment to phase out coal-fired generation in Canada by 2030: Estevan will receive $8 million, Coronach $2 million. The national policy affects three power stations and several mines in Saskatchewan, along with hundreds of jobs in the southeastern part of the province, The Canadian Press reports.
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“This is a commitment to engage with the community to work through these next few years,” Premier Scott Moe said during an event in Estevan last week.
Moe “said the money could be used to retrain workers for other industries. It could also be used for business development in consultation with local groups,” CP says. The premier said federal subsidies to Estevan’s carbon capture and storage plant would also help prop up the local economy.
Estevan Mayor Roy Ludwig said Ottawa should also provide training and transition funding to help coal workers—himself included—make the shift into new jobs. “With the carbon tax they put in place, with the fact that they feel that coal is black, so therefore, ‘we can’t use it, it’s dirty’,” he told CP, “we feel that their responsibility should be like pension bridging.”
Government officials said recent federal budgets allocated $35 million in 2018 for skill development and economic diversification in affected communities, followed by $150 million in 2019 to support priority infrastructure and diversification projects.