Statement from Aliénor Rougeout, Program Manager, Climate and Energy

Toronto | Traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Huron-Wendat – We are encouraged by the proposed sustainable jobs legislation. With this act, the federal government is making a credible commitment to include affected workers and communities in the preparation for the energy transition.

However, Members of Parliament will need to work together in the coming months to strengthen the legislation and avoid dangerous pitfalls such as greenwashing, ignoring obligations towards Indigenous peoples, and taking a one-size-fits-all approach to the transition.

The legislation proposes a dedicated body, the Sustainable Jobs Secretariat, set up to anticipate disruptions and deliver programming throughout the transition. This will allow Canada to seize the opportunities of the shift while proactively supporting those at risk of being negatively impacted.

Similar bodies were key elements to successful fair transitions in other jurisdictions – alongside independent advisory bodies like the proposed Partnership Council, which will allow those affected by the transition to guide the government’s policies and ensure their needs are met.

The legislation fails to meet the urgency of the climate crisis, at a time when communities across Canada are experiencing its devastating impacts. We can not afford to direct workers and resources towards dead-end sectors like carbon capture for increased oil production.

It would be more strategic and compassionate to link the definition of “sustainable jobs” to effective climate solutions such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean transportation and other low-carbon industries.

Finally, Canada will not succeed with a one-size-fits-all approach to the transition. The legislation is missing a nation-to-nation transition mechanism that allows Indigenous communities to have sovereignty over their economic diversification plans. It also fails to provide a guarantee of federal support for local plans that align with a nationwide strategy.

ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE ( Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

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For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Alex Ross, Environmental Defence,