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Policy recommendation

Proposals for the Canadian Just Transition Act

Published on 

The climate crisis is in full swing. Canada must rapidly transform its economy away from the unpredictable and problematic socio-environmental impacts caused by high emitting industries. The transition to this new economy must be a "just transition".

It must focus on those most affected by this phase-out of high-emitting industries, including workers, communities and those disproportionately impacted by the negative impacts of industrial development. These people need to be involved in decision-making, supported in accessing decent work, benefiting equitably from the benefits of climate action, and equally protected from the negative effects of robust climate action in a changing economic context.

The low-carbon economy, and the pathway to it, must benefit everyone. The federal government has announced its intention to introduce a Canadian Just Transition Act in 2023. As the country cannot afford to miss this transition, Équiterre, Ecojustice and IISD - in collaboration with other environmental and labour organizations - are submitting this brief to make concrete proposals for the upcoming legislation.

The federal legislation should establish a “top-down” and “bottom-up” scheme to be carried out by a newly-created federal just transition institution as well as regional and sectoral partners. This scheme would be:

  • guided by an independent advisory body;

  • grounded in social dialogue with tripartite social partners about affected work;

  • advancing nation-to-nation relationships;

  • inclusive of a broad range of affected stakeholders; and

  • informed by the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) guidelines on the just transition.

This recommendation is authored by Matt Hulse (Ecojustice) in collaboration with Laura Cameron (IISD), Vanessa Corkal (IISD), Émile Boisseau-Bouvier (Équiterre) and Julia Croome (Ecojustice). Contributions for revisions were made by Aliénor Rougeot (Environmental Defence), Caroline Brouillette (Climate Action Network Canada), Christine Jones (Blue Green Canada), Jamie Kirkpatrick (Blue Green Canada), Ken Bondy (Unifor) and Melissa Gorrie (Ecojustice).