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Council of Canadians supports the call for 1 million climate jobs


The Council of Canadians is a member of the Green Economy Network.

A Canadian Labour Congress media release states, “On the eve of the March 3 First Ministers’ meeting in Vancouver, the CLC is proposing a plan that will help Canada reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by one third by creating over one million sustainable climate jobs, allowing workers to transition away from fossil fuels. The CLC – as part of the Green Economy Network – helped develop the plan called One Million Climate Jobs: A Challenge for Canada. …The GEN plan lays out a framework for job creation in various sectors that would help lift many Canadians out of unemployment or underemployment, while reducing Canada’s carbon emissions, and helping to move the country towards a low-to-zero carbon economy.”

The Green Economy Network says, “Canada’s federal government, together with the provinces and municipalities, could achieve One Million New Climate Jobs, while reducing its annual Greenhouse Gas emissions by 88 to 261 million tonnes, more than 35 percent of Canada’s average annual GHG emissions. Invoking such a plan in 2016 would set the stage and create impetus for Canada to meet more ambitious climate targets by 2030. Also, Canadian industry would thus more easily bear the burden of change, in the short and medium term.”

The plan has four key points to it:

  1. Clean Renewable Energy – By investing $23.3 billion in public renewable energy (e.g., solar, wind, geothermal power) over five years, Canada could create 290,000 jobs (person job years), while reducing this country’s overall GHG emissions between 44 and 110 million tonnes (Mt);


  2. Energy Efficiencies/Green Buildings – By investing $30.0 billion to increase the energy efficiency of Canada’s building stock (i.e. residential, commercial, public) over a five-year period, we could generate another 438,000 jobs which, at the same time, would reduce the country’s overall GHG emissions between 32 and 126 Mt;


  3. Public Transit – By investing a further $17.6 billion to improve and expand public transit for moving people within our cities and towns, we would create another 223,000 jobs which, in turn, would contribute to a further reduction in GHGs between 11 and 20 Mt;


  4. Higher Speed Rail Transport – By investing $10.0 billion to begin stimulating the construction of higher speed public rail to move people and freight between cities within urban corridors (e.g. Windsor to Quebec City; Edmonton to Calgary; Vancouver to Seattle), we could generate another 101,600 jobs while initially reducing GHG emissions between 1 and 5 Mt.

The Council of Canadians has also endorsed the Leap Manifesto which similarly says:

  1. A 100 per cent clean economy is possible by 2050, we demand that this shift begin now;

  2. We want a universal program to build and retrofit energy efficient housing, ensuring that the lowest income communities will benefit first;

  3. We want high-speed rail powered by just renewables and affordable public transit to unite every community in this country;

  4. We want training and resources for workers in carbon-intensive jobs, ensuring they are fully able to participate in the clean energy economy.

In December 2009, the Council of Canadians and the Canadian Labour Congress jointly released a paper titled Green, Decent and Public. The paper argued that reducing emissions and addressing the climate crisis as an engine for green job creation. Authors Andrea Harden-Donahue and Andrea Peart stated, “As many as 18,000 jobs are created for every $1 billion of investment in energy conservation and renewable energy systems. The average renewable energy investment creates four times as many jobs as the same investment in the fossil fuel economy.”

They proposed, “The federal government should provide an economic stimulus of at least $10 billion over each of the next two years. Such a program, mainly directed to energy efficiency and renewable energy projects including building retrofits and public transit, would create at least 200,000 jobs.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to spend $60 billion on infrastructure projects over the next ten years on top of what the previous government had promised for a total of $125 billion. This is a key political moment for public investments in clean renewable energy, energy efficiency, public transit and higher speed rail transport that would create one million sustainable climate jobs.

The first ministers meeting on climate change is today, while the federal budget will be delivered on March 22.