The Liberal government has unveiled its “just transition” plan, claiming it will not lead to massive job losses in energy-dependent towns.
Released on Feb. 17, the “Sustainable Jobs Plan” seeks to create “sustainable jobs” in each region of Canada as the country moves towards a “net-zero world.” According to the report, oil and gas will continue to be used post-2050, but mainly for non-combustion applications such as petrochemicals, asphalt, lubricants, solvents, carbon graphite, and waxes.
The interim plan lacks many specifics, but outlines in broad terms how the minority government will help preserve and create energy jobs, as well as transfer workers to net-zero jobs as needed. This includes creating a “central” governance body to oversee the Liberals’ “just transition” plan from 2023 to 2025. Training programs and indigenous consultation will also be included.
The action plan does not offer any forecast on how many jobs it will create, though it stresses that labour shortage will be a more concerning issue than unemployment. According to the Royal Bank of Canada, the net-zero transition could create up to 400,000 new jobs in Canada by the end of this decade alone.
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith has expressed skepticism of the Liberals’ claims and urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to halt the introduction of his “just transition” legislation and oil and gas emissions cap. She also expressed “grave concerns” over the lack of recognition in the plan that provinces have constitutional rights over their own natural resources and labour force.