Canada jobs plan to prepare workers for green economy

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Canada on Friday released a long-awaited sustainable jobs plan, laying out how the federal government plans to help train workers for roles in the coming clean energy economy as the world aims for net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The plan, to be followed by legislation later this year, includes steps such as establishing a sustainable jobs secretariat to coordinate government policies, and a partnership council to promote consultation with provinces, labor unions and others.

Canada said it is also planning to improve labor market data collection and advance funding for skills development, although the document did not outline any new government spending.

From 2025, the government plans to release a new sustainable jobs plan every five years.

“Canada has what it takes to become the clean energy and technology supplier of choice in a net-zero world,” Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson said in a statement.

However, the concept of retraining workers for clean energy jobs became a lightning rod for criticism in a country that is the world’s fourth-largest crude oil producer.

In the crude-producing province of Alberta, Premier Danielle Smith has accused Trudeau of wanting to phase out the oil and gas sector.

The Alberta government is “perplexed” by the jobs plan not mentioning a liquefied natural gas export strategy,” Smith said in a statement on Friday.

The federal government said enormous clean energy opportunities are emerging in oil-producing provinces, from hydrogen to critical minerals.

There could also be sustainable jobs in conventional energy industries, as Canadian producers aim to lower the carbon intensity of their crude, according to the document.

Think tank Clean Energy Canada expects jobs in the sector could grow by 3.4 percent annually over the next decade, nearly four times faster than the Canadian average.

Smith on Thursday wrote to Trudeau offering to collaborate with the federal government on developing carbon capture and storage incentives, but only if Ottawa secured Alberta’s consent on climate policies that affect oil and gas, including clean energy jobs legislation.

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