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A just transition means no worker left behind

Take action to strengthen the Sustainable Jobs Act (Bill C-50)

Since 2019, the Liberal government has been promising to table legislation to support a just transition away from fossil fuels and towards a post-carbon future. In June 2023, they finally introduced the Sustainable Jobs Act to fulfill that mandate. But while the Act contains some important gains for climate justice, it falls significantly short in scope and ambition and is far from what it needs to be to support workers, communities, and Canada’s climate commitments. Read our analysis about the initial bill here.

The Sustainable Jobs Act has just gone through its second reading, which means it has been debated in the House of Commons and is now headed to committee for amendments. This is a key moment to demand the Sustainable Jobs Act that we need by asking for some key amendments that will: (click on the following to read more)

1. Ensure stronger alignment with Canada’s climate commitments

The Act must ensure that all planning, programs, and mechanisms related to sustainable jobs as laid out in the legislation will advance Canada’s climate commitments, including the emissions reduction targets in Canada’s Net Zero Emissions Accountability Act and the international goal to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

2. Enable and support bottom-up regional and sectoral transition planning

Provincial and Indigenous governments are directly impacted by the energy transition and must be key players in planning. The federal government must enable local, regional, and sectoral transition planning by providing technical, financial, and administrative support to those who want to develop projects in line with the objectives of the legislation. To this end, the Act should include the mechanism of direct bilateral agreements to support this type of bottom-up planning.

3. Increase ambition through accountability, transparency, and action requirements

Lessons from previous economic transitions, including the coal transition, have emphasized the importance of mandated accountability mechanisms and action plans to ensure best practice and adherence by all stakeholders. This should be accomplished by ensuring that the Action Plan is aligned with the Act’s guiding principles, coordinates with federal climate plans, and includes accountability features such as indicators, timelines, and progress tracking.

4. Strengthen the guiding principles and integrate them in the body of the legislation

The guiding principles of the legislation set the foundation for all work undertaken through the Act. In order to provide clear direction to the federal government and other stakeholders, guiding principles must be moved from the preamble into the body of the legislation. These principles must address Indigenous peoples and rights, the climate crisis and other environmental considerations, and key economic and social considerations of the transition to a post-carbon economy.

5. Ensure a more inclusive and equitable governance framework

Workers and communities will be the most impacted by the implementation of the Action Plan and subsequent job creation and economic development activities. As such, all mechanisms should prioritize and support the involvement of workers, communities, and especially Indigenous peoples at all levels and stages of energy transition planning.

Take action now by sending a letter to the committee members responsible for considering and amending the legislation, and demand that these key amendments be incorporated into the Sustainable Jobs Act.