Skip to navigation Skip to content


Just Transition

To support workers and communities as they transition towards sustainable jobs and out of the fossil fuel industry

The challenge

If Canada is to successfully transition to a low carbon economy, we must put the brakes on the fossil fuel industry. We must ensure that the jobs and the communities that are currently economically dependent on these industries have the means and the support to successfully transition towards good, sustainable jobs.

The transition will not be easy in an economy where the fossil fuel industry unfortunately still has a powerful hold. Against the background of a climate emergency, the federal government must proactively manage the transition with ambitious legislation in order to enable the necessary transformation of the labour market. Its action plan must include comprehensive, effective measures to drive a successful transformation and ensure that no one is left behind.

🌱 What is a just transition?

A just transition focuses on those most affected by the phase out of emissions-intensive industries, namely the workers and the communities that are currently dependent upon them. They must be involved in the decision making process and supported in their transition towards sustainable jobs.


The number of jobs in the clean energy sector is expected to grow by almost 50% to 639,200 by 2030.

Source: The New Reality, de Clean Energy Canada et Navius Research, juillet 2021

 The low carbon economy, and the path towards it, must benefit everyone. We must tackle the inequalities caused by the current extractivist system. 

Andréanne Brazeau

Climate Policy Analyst

Our work

Recognizing the social impacts of moving away from fossil fuels— which we’ve been fighting for for a long time—Équiterre, along with other environmental groups and unions, has long been calling on the federal government to pass just transition legislation. We need this legislation in order to properly prepare and adapt workplaces and communities to the realities and challenges of the transition, ensuring that no one is left behind.

In January 2023, we submitted proposals for a Canadian Just Transition Act, calling for the process to be guided by an independent advisory body and based on social dialogue.

In June, the federal government tabled its Act respecting accountability, transparency and engagement to support the creation of sustainable jobs for workers and economic growth in a net-zero economy. While the planned legislation is a step in the right direction, we identified a number of significant shortcomings. Équiterre and its partners are therefore lobbying the government to improve the bill so that it is truly inclusive and effective towards achieving our target of carbon neutrality by 2050.

So many opportunities

A just transition represents not only an opportunity to reconfigure the Canadian economy, but also to contribute to attaining broader economic, social and environmental goals, such as:

  • Reaching Canada's climate targets;

  • Mitigating the impact of the transition on workers and communities;

  • Creating good, low-carbon jobs;

  • Sharing the benefits of the transition;

  • Advancing reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples;

  • Tackling inequalities;

  • Establishing a circular and regenerative economy in which everyone can benefit.

A just transition requires the participation of a broad range of stakeholders. All levels of government in Canada, Indigenous communities, employers, unions, workers and civil society must all be part of the conversation.




Canada's Sustainable Jobs Act passed

An important step has been taken towards a just transition. Équiterre and its partners participated in the legislative process surrounding this bill, making several recommendations to improve the legislation to better meet the imperatives of this transition to a carbon-neutral economy.



UN urges countries to ensure the integration of just transition strategies in their national climate plans and development strategies.

The fourth Global conference on Strengthening Synergies between the Paris Agreement by 2030 featured a thematic focus on Delivering a just transition through climate and SDG Synergies.


Sustainable jobs bill introduced in the House of Commons

The federal government tabled the Canadian Sustainable Jobs Act, which included a number of significant shortcomings.


Publication of the Sustainable Jobs Plan

The federal government released its interim Sustainable Jobs Plan for 2023-2025.


Submission of proposals for a Canadian Just Transition act

Équiterre submitted its recommendations to the federal government, in collaboration with a number of other environmental groups.



Launch of Regional Energy and Resource Tables

The federal government launched a series of regional round tables, demonstrating its commitment to working with the provinces, territories and other partners on the economic opportunities provided by the transition to a carbon neutral economy.



Publication of principles for a green and fair recovery in Canada

Équiterre and its partners published a report exploring 7 principles for aligning the post-COVID-19 economic recovery with Canada's climate commitments.


A movement builds for a just recovery

In the wake of COVID-19, Équiterre, along with numerous partners, called for a green and fair post-pandemic recovery.

The European Union adopts a mechanism designed to ensure a just transition

The European Union allocated 55 billion euros for the 2021-2027 period to help affected regions with their transition.



Adoption of the Silesia Declaration on Solidarity and Just Transition

At COP24, the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention adopted this declaration to highlight the socio-economic consequences of the phase-out of fossil fuels.


Publication of a report on the impacts of the energy transition on Quebec’s workforce

A multi-sectoral working group on workforce, of which Équiterre is a member, composed of representatives from labour, management, academia, the social economy and the environment, published a report entitled La transition énergétique et la main-d'œuvre québécoise [The Energy Transition and Quebec’s Workforce].


Équiterre makes just transition one of the pillars of its political lobbying efforts surrounding the phase out of fossil fuels

Équiterre expands its political lobbying work for the energy transition by more formally incorporating the issues of equity and social justice.