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431-00177 (Employment and labour)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English

PETITION TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS IN PARLIAMENT ASSEMBLED

Whereas:

  • Canada has signed on to the Paris Agreement, which includes in its text the principle of a Just Transition;
  • It is the government's responsibility to ensure a fair deal for oil and gas workers who, by no fault of their own, are losing their jobs as the Canadian economy transitions to renewable energy;
  • The skills of oil and gas workers can easily be transitioned to jobs in renewable energy with the proper allocation of resources; and,
  • Employment in the sector of renewable energy has already surpassed rates of employment in oil and gas, and continues to grow.

We, the undersigned citizens and residents of Canada call upon the House of Commons in Parliament assembled to:

  • Working alongside oil and gas workers, create a plan for a Just Transition for oil and gas workers in Canada and include in it the 10 recommendations put forward by the Task Force on Just Transition for Canadian Coal Power Workers and Communities.

Response by the Minister of Natural Resources

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Mr. Paul Lefebvre

The Minister of Natural Resources would like to thank the petitioner for the submission regarding a just transition for oil and gas workers.

The Government of Canada shares a commitment to supporting Canadian workers and communities during the global transition to a low-carbon economy. This includes helping affected Canadians prepare for, find, and act upon new opportunities for sustainable employment in a clean-energy future. For example, the government has announced new investments made in Budgets 2018 and 2019 to ensure no one is left behind as Canada phases out coal-fired electricity generation across the country. These investments include:

  • $35 million towards the Canada Coal Transition Initiative for skills development and economic diversification in Canada’s coal regions; and
  • A $150-million infrastructure fund (2020/2021) to support priority projects and economic diversification in affected communities.

 

All of this is further captured in the Prime Minister’s mandate letter to the Minister of Natural Resources, including a specific request for the Minister and his department to work with other ministers and key partners to advance legislation that supports “the future and livelihood of workers and their communities in the transition to a low-carbon global economy.” As part of this, Natural Resources Canada is working closely with other government departments and relevant stakeholders – including Employment and Social Development Canada; Labour; Environment and Climate Change Canada; and Regional Development Agencies – to ensure the government delivers on this commitment. These efforts will include building on recommendations from the Just Transition Task Force, as well as lessons learned from the phasing out of coal-fired electricity.  

In addition, the Government of Canada is exploring how best to ensure that oil and gas workers and their communities share in the jobs and opportunities that will come from increased investments in sustainable energy sources, clean energy technologies, and infrastructure. This includes making sure that affected workers have the right tools and skill sets for tomorrow’s good, well-paying jobs so that no one is left behind in the global energy transition.

COVID-19 and the recent collapse of the price of oil have fundamentally altered the speed and trajectory of the measures required to support energy sector workers as they transition to work in the low carbon economy. The pandemic has changed the world, but not the government’s resolve to advance the transition to a clean energy future, including continuing to strive towards achieving net zero by 2050. 

The federal government is rolling out unprecedented measures to support workers and businesses in the energy sector impacted by COVID-19, including:

  • $1.7 billion to clean up orphan wells – an initiative expected to help maintain up to 5,200 jobs in Alberta alone;
  • $750 million emissions reduction fund, with a focus on methane, to create jobs through efforts to cut pollution;
  • The Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility, designed to provide bridge financing for large employers with annual revenue of over $300M including energy companies trying to keep afloat during the pandemic but unable to secure credit through conventional financing; and,
  • An additional $962 million to help smaller employers in rural areas that do not have access to traditional financial institutions like banks and credit unions.

The Government of Canada has also recently launched a new Industry Strategy Council as an advisory board to assess the scope and depth of COVID-19’s impact on business. It will help government to better understand the challenges some sectors are facing as it pivots towards a recovery and a more sustainable future.

Presented to the House of Commons
Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
May 7, 2020 (Petition No. 431-00177)
Government response tabled
July 20, 2020
Photo - Elizabeth May
Saanich—Gulf Islands
Green Party Caucus
British Columbia

Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.

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