Clean Energy Canada | The Canadian Sustainable Jobs Act is a compelling plan, but delivery will determine its success
June 15, 2023

a worker in yellow vest and blue hard hat photographed installing solar panels in front of a backdrop of spinning wind turbines and mountains

OTTAWA — Ollie Sheldrick, program manager at Clean Energy Canada, made the following statement in response to the federal government’s newly tabled Canadian Sustainable Jobs Act:

“The transition to clean energy can create hundreds of thousands of jobs across Canada, but realizing that possibility—in a way that maximizes potential and leaves no one behind—will require a thoughtful strategy.

“The Canadian Sustainable Jobs Act tabled today, which builds on the federal government’s interim Sustainable Jobs Plan announced earlier this year, sets out a clear and compelling plan to bring along workers while delivering on the enormous economic potential of a clean energy future. Modelling recently carried out by Clean Energy Canada shows that a net-zero 2050 could have as many as 700,000 additional Canadian energy jobs compared to today, as growth in clean energy employment outpaces the inevitable decline in fossil fuels.

“The three pillars of the Act—a Sustainable Jobs Partnership Council, an Action Plan, and a Secretariat—preliminarily appear to address the biggest challenges facing any jobs plan: ensuring it is responsive to the real needs of Canadian workers and businesses. That includes providing a clear plan with deliverables and measurements for success while coordinating across the many federal departments involved in delivering related policies and programs. We also welcome the commitment to centring Indigenous voices and those most affected by the energy transition.

“The principles look sound, but of course it is the practice that will define the success of the act, and some important decisions are still to be made. For example, we would like to see the final 15 members of the Sustainable Jobs Partnership Council include labour and industry representatives from our highest-emitting and hardest-to-abate sectors, including transport, agriculture, energy, and the heavy industries, as well as those responsible for skills and training. It will also be important to include Indigenous representation and policy expertise from the academic and think tank community.

“There is also a question of pace and urgency. The act commits to delivering the first true action plan by December 31, 2025, a long time for an economy already in the midst of a rapid transition. 

“The Canadian Sustainable Jobs Act provides a thoughtful framework, but it cannot stand on its own. A consideration for workers must be integrated into our broader climate efforts. We saw this in Budget 2023, where investment tax credits for clean technologies were conditional on specific labour conditions. We hope the Canadian Sustainable Jobs Act can deliver on its holistic approach and maximize the potential of Canada’s skilled and highly educated workforce. It is an encouraging step.”


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