Work and Climate Change Report
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05/17/2017 - Issue #65
 Work and Climate Change Report
Green transitions for Canadian work and workplaces:
Research news and updates
ACW Director: Carla Lipsig-Mummé                                  WCR Editor: Elizabeth Perry

The Work and Climate Change Report  is a project of Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective. ACW is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).  |

ACW International Panel: "Darker Politics: Democracies, Labour Rights and Climate Change"
The world is turning darker. From the shock of Brexit to the American election and Trump’s alt-right political choices in his first 100 days, racist nationalism is spreading, fostering the growth of extreme-right political parties. The three panelists will take up the questions of democratic options in a volatile world; labour and climate change: the impact of Trump’s America; and softwood lumber, Canada and trade.

Join us on Friday May 26th 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. at the Innis Town Hall Theatre, University of Toronto. For more information and to register, please visit:

New green jobs policy adopted at the Canadian Labour Congress Convention
The 28th Constitutional Convention of the Canadian Labour Congress was held in Toronto from May 8 to 12, 2017 under the theme “Together for a Fair Future”.  On May 10th, the Convention addressed the issue of climate change, and heard from a Green Jobs Panel, consisting of  Sharan Burrow of the ITUC, Sheila Watt-Cloutier from Inuit Circumpolar Council, Matt Wayland of the IBEW, and Patrick Rondeau of the FTQ, with Rick Smith of the Broadbent Institute moderating. Although not yet released on CLC's website, the Convention adopted a just transition plan outlined in the Green Jobs for a Fair Future policy. Continue reading →

Net-Zero and Net-Positive Green Building: Vancouver’s New Policy, and a Pilot Project in Waterloo, Ontario
On May 1, the Green Building Policy for Rezoning took effect in the city of Vancouver, mandating that new commercial and multi-unit residential buildings be built to standards modeled after the international Passive House standards, with airtight design, exceptional insulation, and good ventilation. The Policy, originally approved in November 2016, is part of Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan and its Zero Emissions Building Plan
The Pembina Institute says: “Constructing new energy-efficient homes and offices will be a boon to Vancouver’s green building sector. In B.C., the sector already employs over 23,000 people, and the industry is ready to respond to increased demand.” In Waterloo, Ontario, Evolv1 is a net positive building project which will generate more energy than it needs for its own operation from 1.5 acres of solar panels on the roof and carport, allowing it to power the building’s 14 electric vehicle charging stations  and sell any remaining excess  to the provincial electricity grid. Continue reading →

Union calls for a legal responsibility on employers to address a crisis in U.K. air pollution
The Battersea and Wandsworth Trades Union Council (BWTUC), the Southwest London arm of the Trades Union Congress, has undertaken a campaign against toxic air,  arguing that employers are the root cause of diesel emissions –  from their transport fleets as well as the individual  journeys to and from work made by workers.  As part of its campaign against what it calls the “number one public health issue”, BWTUC will help local unions to carry out monitoring of pollution levels where they work, and is also producing online training modules.  Finally, it is advocating for a Clean Air Act, as stated in the Greener Jobs Alliance Top 10 Election Demands: #10: “Introduce a Clean Air Act to tackle air pollution once and for all. Place a clear legal responsibility on employers and businesses to address air quality and develop a network of low emission zones in pollution hot spots.” Continue reading →


Bold recommendations from the Expert Panel on Modernization of the National Energy Board – but experts call for more
In November 2016, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources commissioned an 5-person Expert Panel on the Modernization of the National Energy Board, mandated “to position the NEB as a modern, efficient, and effective energy regulator and regain public trust”. After public hearings and submissions, the results are in, in the form of 26 recommendations released on May 15, in their report: Forward,Together: Enabling Canada’s Clean, Safe, and Secure Energy Future
Chief among the recommendations: replace the current Board with a new organization called the Canadian Energy Transmission Commission, to be based in Ottawa rather than Calgary, with radically increased scale and scope of stakeholder engagement, and especially with an increased role for Indigenous people. The report also calls for a new, independent Canadian Energy Information Agency to provide energy data, information, and analysis. Continue reading →

Federal government about to release its proposals for promised national carbon pricing system as California debates radical changes to its cap-and-trade program
In advance of a consultation paper by the federal government, expected to be released in the week of May 15, the Pembina Institute released a Backgrounder report, Putting a price on carbon pollution across Canada. The Pembina report outlines the current federal and provincial carbon pricing policies in Canada, and makes recommendations for the national benchmark plan promised by 2018. 
Meanwhile, as reported in Vox on May 3, "California is about to revolutionize climate policy … again", and the changes have big implications for the cap-and-trade market that Quebec currently shares with California, and which Ontario is scheduled to join in 2018. Continue reading →

66% of Canada’s energy in 2015 came from renewable sources, and other facts
A widely-circulated Canadian Press story in early May highlighted that renewable energy accounted for 66% of energy generated in Canada in 2015. The information behind the news was drawn from Canada’s Adoption of Renewable Power Sources – Energy Market Analysis May 2017 by the National Energy Board, which provides much more detail about each type of renewable energy, and notes the factors influencing their adoption rates (including costs, technological improvement, environmental considerations, and regulatory issues). 
The report also includes a section on Emerging Technologies, which highlights tidal power, off-shore wind, and geothermal. Continue reading →

Why U.S. unions supported the Washington March for Climate, Jobs and Justice
The May 5th Newsletter of Trade Unions for Energy Democracy provides an early assessment of  “Why U.S. unions marched for the climate”. The article lists some of the many unions who marched in Washington D.C. on April 29 in the March for Climate, Jobs and Justice, highlighting the unique perspective of the National Nurses Union and 1199 SEIU, who see the public health effects of climate change in their daily work. 
The TUED article credits the Labor Network for Sustainability (LNS) with much of the work in building participation in the March. The latest LNS newsletter reports that over a dozen unions and more than 3000 members marched in Washington, including 100 members from AFSCME’s local DC37 in New York. Continue reading →

Trends in international climate legislation since the Paris Agreement, built on a new public database
new database, launched in May, compiles national climate change legislation for 164 countries in the world, as well as a integrated climate  litigation database for 25 countries, including Canada. The database was the foundation of a new report, Global Trends in Climate Change Legislation and Litigation 2017, which highlights the global stock of climate laws, the pace of law-making, the focus of legislation, and climate legislation in least developed countries. The second part of the report, for the first time ever, examines trends in litigation, describing the number of climate litigation cases in 25 jurisdictions, the objectives of the cases, who the plaintiffs and defendants were, and the outcomes of litigation so far. 
The Global Trends analysis, released at the UNFCCC meetings in Bonn on May  9, concludes that “Most countries now have the legal basis on which further action can build." Continue reading →
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Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces (ACW) is a project of the Work in a Warming World (W3) research programme funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).
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