FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, March 12, 2019
K’JIPUKTUK (Halifax) - The federal Task Force on the Just Transition for Canadian Coal Power Workers and Communities has issued its final report to the Federal government, including key recommendations for supporting workers transitioning away from the coal power sector across Canada.
The Task Force is a non-governmental panel made up of labour unions, former utility representatives, municipal government representatives, environmental groups, academics and workforce development and sustainable development experts, all who represent or work with coal workers across Canada. In 2018, the Task Force held meetings with workers in significant coal regions across Canada, including four meetings in Nova Scotia.
“Supports for affected workers and communities, and providing the time, clarity and resources for a just transition is critical. We’re pleased to see these recommendations from the Task Force”, says Stephen Thomas, Energy Campaign Coordinator with the Ecology Action Centre. “We support the work of the Task Force, and encourage the Federal government to move forward with these recommendations to support this transition.”
The Ecology Action Centre presented to the Just Transition Task Force in Halifax in June 2018, and attended meetings with the Task Force and coal workers in Trenton, Port Hawkesbury and Sydney last summer.
The final report recommends an ongoing public process of transition support, including local transition centers, labour market research, funding for local research, projects and businesses in coal communities, and direct financial support, training support and pension-bridging for coal workers.
“It’s important to continue this process of listening to, and directly supporting the workers and communities,” said Thomas. “We support communities transitioning in the ways that make the most sense for them, and we see tremendous growth and jobs potential in the green economy sectors here in Nova Scotia.”
The Task Force’s report comes at a time when the phase-out of coal in Nova Scotia is looking more likely than ever. Earlier in March, the Federal government announced more than $2M for a partnership with Atlantic Canadian provinces to study transmission options for 2,000 MW of clean electricity coming to the region.
In December 2018, the Federal government finalized regulations for the phase-out of coal electricity across Canada by 2030. However, an agreement-in-principle exists between the Federal government and Nova Scotia for reducing emissions in the electricity sector and phasing out coal. No final agreement with emissions levels or timelines is yet in place.
“We’ve got more than a decade to get this transition right for coal workers and communities,” said Thomas. “If done right, this can become a model for other transitions away from fossil fuels and toward a strengthened, prosperous green economy here in Nova Scotia and across Canada.”
Stephen Thomas, Energy Campaign Coordinator
+1 902 441 7136
Stephen@ecologyaction.ca (Available by telephone only from Dublin, Ireland)
Meghan McMorris, Community Energy Coordinator,
+1 902 809 7661
Meghanmcmorris@ecologyaction.ca (Available in-person)