Expectations for Canada on delivering a just transition at COP27 from Jamie Kirkpatrick, BLUE GREEN CANADA and Aliénor Rougeot, ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE.
Toronto | Traditional territories of the Huron-Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Chippewas and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation –Today is Energy and Action for Climate Empowerment & Civil Society Day at COP27, and it is a perfect opportunity for Canada to demonstrate its plans to collaborate and get moving on its long-delayed Just Transition Act.
Canada has a track record of promising a just transition abroad and failing to deliver at home. Canada notably signed on to COP24’s Just Transition Silesa Declaration and COP26’s Just Transition Declaration, yet in April 2022 the Commissioner on the Environment and Sustainable Development in the Office of the Auditor General found that “The federal government was not prepared to support a just transition to a low-carbon economy”. The scathing remarks from the Auditor General highlight the inconsistency between Canada’s international promises and its domestic achievements. as the audit reads “The government had made a commitment to support a just transition and established a lead department. However, it did not have a plan, had not established any formal governance mechanisms, had not completed national consultations with Canadians, and lacked a system to track results.”
The recent Fall Economic Statement demonstrated that the federal government is waking up to the massive challenge that lays ahead them to address the economic transition that is needed to accelerate climate action. Still, it did not commit to building the structures, policies, and accountability mechanisms needed to make the promise of a just transition real for people. Nice words don’t pay the bills and keep the lights on.
“Workers and environmentalists stand ready to build the transition strategies our communities need,” said Jamie Kirkpatrick, Senior Program Manager with Blue Green Canada. “We urgently need our governments and employers to join us at the table, to bring the dollars and build the structures to maintain good jobs as we decarbonize the Canadian economy.”
Canada is already behind its European, American and New Zealand counterparts on enacting just transition policies. It is time for this government to table robust just transition legislation that sets up the right governance and accountability structure, with a specific focus on real social dialogue.
“Canada must raise its climate ambition at COP27, but it is equally important for Ministers Wilkinson and O’Regan – who have the mandate to implement a just transition act – to deliver a transition plan here at home.” said Aliénor Rouget, Climate and Energy Program Manager at Environmental Defence, “Climate ambition and planning for the transition must take place simultaneously to ensure that no one is left behind”
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