The federal government outlined their proposals for what has been called “Just Transition” late last month. A key part of the concept of just transition, according to the documentation that was released, was to provide a roadmap to provide what are being called sustainable jobs. An interim Sustainable Jobs Plan was released, with further action plans to be updated in 2025, and every five years after that.  

The proposal as outlined by the interim Sustainable Jobs Plan included 10 key action areas, which include establishing a sustainable jobs secretariat and a sustainable jobs partnership council. There is also the development of economic strategies, introducing what is called a sustainable jobs stream, advancing money for skills development, promoting Indigenous-led solutions, improving the collection of labour market data, as well as motivating investors and also establishing legislation for engagement and accountability. 

In the proposal, the federal government pointed out that oil will still be required as the world moves towards a net-zero economy. Estimates from the International Energy Agency predict that after the year 2050, there will still be around 24 million barrels of oil used a day. The difference is expected to be in how the oil is used, with it primarily being for non-combustion applications such as petrochemicals, asphalt, lubricants solvents, carbon graphite and waxes.  

Much of the proposals look at how to create jobs in Canada as low-carbon and non-emitting sectors start to expand. It is referenced in the proposal that the jobs working on biofuels or hydrogen production will be similar to existing refineries or gas facilities. The federal government is also expecting a shortage of workers to fill what they dub ‘sustainable jobs.’ To help with the shortage it is expected the federal government will be able to help provide job transition training, as well as opportunities to learn the skills needed for those jobs.  

Another part of the proposals as released in February, that would be of interest to many in southeast Saskatchewan, is the gradual phase-out of unabated coal-fired power generation. This refers specifically to the use of coal-fired power plants that do not have carbon capture and storage facilities as part of the facility. Here in this corner of the province, much of the major work on carbon capture and storage technology has been pioneered and is currently in use at Boundary Dam. The federal government also reiterated they introduced an investment tax credit for carbon capture, utilization and storage in 2021, with the amount determined by the equipment modified by the ratio of CO2 expected to be stored.  

The proposals also outline targeted support for various areas, including nearly $1 billion for the sectoral workforce solutions program, money set aside for the community workforce development program, and $250 million for the upskilling for industry initiative.  

The consultations for the proposal were held throughout the country, with specific sessions set up in communities where coal-fired power generation was a key economic driver, including Estevan and Coronach. The consultations are expected to continue with the creation of regional energy and resource tables in each province. All but Saskatchewan, Alberta and Quebec have signed on for these tables from the 10 provinces.  

Legislation to enact the proposals has yet to be tabled in the House of Commons, but it is expected to be brought up during the spring session.  

You can read the complete recommendations from the federal government on their website.