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Poll: Atlantic Canadians overwhelmingly want shift from fossil fuels, support for workers and equity-seeking groups

HALIFAX / K’JIPUKTUK — More than 4 out of 5 people in the provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador want to see a transition to renewable energy and energy efficiency, which would include training and income support for affected workers, according to regional polling conducted in spring 2021 by The Atlantic Quarterly and commissioned by the Council of Canadians, Sierra Club Canada Foundation, and the Ecology Action Centre.

The polling also revealed widespread agreement that any post-pandemic recovery must prioritize support for people who have been made vulnerable by the current economy.

  • 85% of Nova Scotians and 80% NL residents agree that, as the provinces recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, priority should be placed on moving away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy and efficiency systems, which would include training and income support for affected workers.
  • There is also agreement among 78% of people in Nova Scotia and 77% of NL residents that priority should be placed on women, people of colour, Indigenous people, and other groups made vulnerable by the current economy, so they can participate in the workforce in more equitable ways.

“People in the Atlantic provinces are remarkably united in their support for a fair and robust transition from fossil fuels, towards renewables and energy efficiency. And it’s clear that they want to see this happen alongside ample and equitable support for workers,” said Gretchen Fitzgerald, National Programs Director at Sierra Club Canada Foundation.

“In contrast, since the pandemic began, the federal government has deregulated offshore oil and gas and poured $400 million in subsidies,” she added.

A recent report by TD Economics suggests that unless the federal government develops immediate worker transition plans, more than three-quarters of Canadians employed in oil and gas could lose their jobs. And just last month, the International Energy Agency, the world’s most influential energy modelling agency, called for an end to all new fossil fuel infrastructure.

“The writing is on the wall, and we need action now,” said Noreen Mabiza, Energy Coordinator at the Ecology Action Centre. “Workers and their families deserve a soft landing as we evolve our economy and transition towards a more sustainable future.”

“This is a historic opportunity to fully tackle the climate crisis, create millions of new good-paying jobs, and empower marginalized communities, but both provincial and federal governments are failing to take this opportunity seriously,” added Robin Tress, Climate and Social Justice Campaigner at the Council of Canadians.

“We’ve seen this extraordinary sea change in popular opinion, and overwhelming support for positive, transformative change. It’s time for our governments to catch up and meet the moment, and deliver the bold solutions the public is asking for,” Tress said.

POLLING METHODOLOGYPolling methodology for Nova ScotiaPolling methodology for Newfoundland and Labrador


Nova Scotia Question 1

Nova Scotia Question 2

Newfoundland & Labrador Question 1

Newfoundland & Labrador Question 2


Since 1985, The Council of Canadians has brought people together through collective action and grassroots organizing to challenge corporate power and advocate for people, the planet, and our democracy. Alongside opposing new fossil fuel infrastructure, the Council has also been working for a just transition and a just recovery at a community level.

Sierra Club Canada Foundation empowers people to be leaders in protecting, restoring, and enjoying healthy and safe ecosystems. A national registered charity, Sierra Club Canada includes four regional chapters: Atlantic, Québec, Ontario, and Prairie, plus Sierra Youth, whose mandate is to empower young people to become community leaders.

Ecology Action Centre takes leadership on critical environmental issues, from biodiversity protection to climate change to environmental justice. The EAC is an independent organization that strives to catalyze change through policy advocacy, community development, and as a watch-dog for the environment. It takes a holistic approach to the environment and our economy to create a just and sustainable society.