That’s the key finding of a new Blue Green Canada report, More Jobs, Less Pollution. Blue Green Canada is an alliance of labour unions, environmental groups, and civil society organizations—including Clean Energy Canada at Tides Canada.
The report arrives just as the Province of Ontario kicks off public consultations on its Long-Term Energy Plan.
The alliance recommends the province look to conservation as a means to create jobs, grow the economy, and protect public health. It also suggests the province set an ambitious energy conservation target, develop a strategy to harness the jobs and economic benefits of conservation, and put in place the right financial signals for industry, businesses and homeowners to save energy.
More Jobs, Less Pollution is rooted in work at the Centre for Spatial Economics. Researchers found that a 25 per cent reduction in energy use by 2025 would also result in a $3.7 billion increase in GDP, as well as a provincial and federal deficit reduction of nearly $2 billion.
“Saving energy can put people to work doing things like building windows and doors, making our homes more efficient and designing new, green buildings. It’s not just good energy policy; it’s good economic policy,” said Mark Rowlinson of United Steelworkers, a Blue Green Canada member.
If implemented, the recommendations are expected to grow Ontario’s manufacturing sector by 1.6 percent, the researchers concluded. Further, the province would slash 19 million tonnes of carbon pollution.
“According to our recent polling, eight out of 10 Ontarians rank conservation as a ‘top or high’ priority of any long-term energy plan,” said Merran Smith, director of Clean Energy Canada at Tides Canada. “The people are already on side; it’s up to government to make it happen with supportive policy.”