The federal government’s legislation intended to assist the fossil fuel workforce in transitioning to a greener economy is the topic of debate in Canada’s western oil patch, but the union, as well as community leaders, are alerting that politicisation of the Just Transition bill obfuscates the needs of workers.
The Liberal administration of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is anticipated to introduce its long-awaited and anticipated workforce transition law this spring, ahead of anticipated economic shifts as they seek aggressive goals to reduce climate-warming emissions.
The legislation, according to the government of Alberta, which produces the majority of Canada’s petroleum, will destroy the oil and gas sector, which accounts for 5% of the country’s GDP.
The phrase “Just Transition” connotes the elimination of jobs, which is not feasible for Alberta. Danielle Smith, the conservative premier of Alberta, posted on Twitter last week.
Around 185,000 people are employed in the oil and gas industry, thus the measure is a hot topic in Alberta before a provincial campaign in May.
Although she has come under fire for misestimating the number of jobs that may be in jeopardy, Smith is leveraging the prospect of job losses to criticise Trudeau and energise her conservative constituency.
The Trudeau administration is attempting to allay worries over the measure, which was first proposed in 2019.
Creating jobs and establishing guiding principles for decision-making would be the focus of the law, according to a government source with knowledge of the case who is not authorised to talk publicly.
The quicker Alberta’s “political establishment” realises the future is nothing to fear, Trudeau said in a recent interview.
Gil McGowan, who is the President of the renowned Alberta Federation of Labour, stated that this shouldn’t be a political issue but rather one about what is actually occurring in the world economy (AFL).
McGowan believed the emphasis should be on assisting towns in adapting to significant industrial shifts and economic diversification, using Alberta’s recent phase-out of coal as a case study.
Alberta’s final coal-fired power plant will switch to natural gas later this year as part of an expedited energy revolution first planned in 2015 that will be completed seven years early.
In 2015, the province’s thermal coal sector employed about 3,100 people. A number of people took early retirement, while others relocated to other industries or the oil region in the north or found work in mine rehabilitation or newly renovated gas power plants.
Leading author Ian Hussey now claims that the Parkland Institute research center’s 2019 projection that up to 3,500 new employment will be produced in renewable power and coal-to-gas power station transitions were far too low.
When we conducted that research, the amount of renewable investment in Alberta had not even been considered.
Energy Safety Canada reports that although there is a skills shortage in the oil and gas industry at the moment due to the tight labour markets around the world, the present workforce is 18% fewer than the 225,900 high in 2014.
By 2030, 200,000 new employment in the sustainable energy sector might be created, according to think tank Clean Energy Canada.
If properly implemented, the measure may promote innovations like carbon capture and hydrogen production and serve as Canada’s response to the $430 billion green power subsidy package known as the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, which was approved last year.
Len Austin, a former coal miner who now oversees a government-funded centre for former miners, praised lawmakers for their efforts in creating initiatives like retirement bridging, resettlement aid, and C$12,000 ($8,945.21) retrain vouchers.
However, there was little financing for infrastructure and economic diversification initiatives within coal areas to generate new opportunities, and he added that governments needed to be aware that not everyone could work in renewable energy.
The judgement that comes with the thought of losing your livelihood, according to Austin, is 100% not really that simple to go from generating $100,000 to $40,000 in Canada.