Work and Climate Change Report
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06/14/2017 - Issue #67
 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).  |

ILO Director-General report identifies key themes in the greening of work, and worker delegates respond
At the 106th Session of the International Labour Conference convenes from June 5-16 in Geneva. To open the annual Conference, Director General Guy Ryder presented his report, Work in a changing climate: The Green Initiative, which describes and updates the accomplishments of the ILO Green Centenary Initiative, and discusses the need for tripartite responses to climate change global carbon pricing, and the need for skills development and social protection to achieve a green transformation of work processes. Luc Cortebeeck, Chairperson of the Workers’ Group, presented a Discussion of the Director-General’s report  on June 7 which highlights differences about the goals for the future, saying "Such an ambitious assessment on the state of affairs does not seem to be followed by an equally ambitious take on future measures." Continue reading →

The U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement : how did Canada react? How did the labour movement react?

Donald Trump announced that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement on June 1, 2017. In Canada, the official government position was stated by Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change stating that Canada will continue to take leadership on climate change, and in September, will co-host a Ministerial meeting with China and the European Union to move forward on the Paris Agreement and clean growth…. “With or without the United States, the momentum around the Paris Agreement and climate action is unstoppable.” Other Canadian and U.S. voices struck a similar note, some even noting the opportunity provided by the vacuum in global leadership.  The Canadian Labour Congress, AFL-CIO, UNI, ITUC, TUAC, the Green Jobs Alliance (U.K.) and the Australian Council of Trade Unions all issued statements from the union point of view. Continue reading →

$1.5 billion will buy new renewable energy projects, good green jobs, and environmental justice in New York State
On June 2, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that his state would invest $1.5 billion in renewable energy projects through the Clean Climate Careers Initiative. The program has three elements: “supercharge” clean energy technologies, create up to 40,000 clean energy jobs by 2020, and achieve environmental justice and Just Transition for under-served communities. Both the Governor’s press release and one from the Worker Institute at Cornell University Industrial and Labor Relations School attribute the inspiration for the new renewable energy initiative to the “Labor Leading on Climate” program at the Worker Institute. Governor Cuomo’s Renewable Energy initiative was announced one day after Donald Trump’s  withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, and after the Governor had signed an Executive Order  reaffirming New York’s commitment to the Paris goals, and had launched a Climate Alliance with the states of California and Washington. Continue reading →


2 million electric vehicles globally, and less than 30,000 in Canada. How best to encourage more?
The latest edition of the Global EV Outlook 2017 was released by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in June, reporting that the global electric car stock surpassed 2 million units in 2016 – an increase of 60% from 2015. Canada, with its population of 36.5 million people, is well behind the pack with an electric vehicle stock of 29,270 units, representing a market share of 0.57%. A report from Équiterre, submitted to the current national Advisory Group on electric vehicles, concludes that the Quebec model of a supply mandate is the best route to greater uptake. Another report from the Ecofiscal Commission presents a case study of Quebec’s EV policies, and favours flexibility in regulation. Meanwhile, Canada has signed on to a new international initiative, EV30@30, which targets at least 30 percent new electric vehicle sales by 2030. Continue reading →

NDP-Green alliance promises a new chapter for B.C. government and climate change policies

According to a June 12 press release, the Legislature of British Columbia will be recalled on June 22, when a confidence motion will determine who will lead the government after the cliff-hanger election of May 9. Read “Greens to prop up NDP’s Horgan in minority BC government” in the National Observer (May 29) for an overview of the alliance reached between the Green Party and the New Democratic Party (NDP) as they prepare to form the new provincial government. Major points of agreement on climate change issues are: implacable opposition to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline; an increase in the province’s carbon tax by $5 a tonne each year from April 2018, rising to the nationally required $50 a tonne by 2021; a six-month, independent review of the unpopular Site C hydroelectric project (a concession by the Greens, who had wanted to axe it outright); revival of the province’s Climate Leadership Team; and an investigation into the safety of fracking. The text of the “Supply and Confidence” agreement, “founded on the principles of good faith and no surprises”, is available at the B.C. NDP website. Continue reading →

Paths forward for decarbonization in Canada: two new reports
In June, the Columbia Institute’s Centre for Civic Governance released the first annual progress report on the 18 federal and 24 provincial/territorial policies that it had identified in its 2016 report, Top Asks for Climate Action: Ramping Up Low Carbon Communities. The 2016 report focuses on local government issues and the policy support they need from the federal, provincial and territorial governments in the areas of capacity building, funding, buildings, transportation and smart growth. A second new report, by Sustainable Canada Dialogues, titled Re-Energizing Canada: Pathways to a Low-Carbon Future, takes a more academic approach, but includes many of the same issues. The report is the product of input from Canadian academics and First Nations, establishes a framework of our energy system, and examines the important issues in Canadian energy policy with statistics and analysis. The report identifies governance issues as central to a successful low-carbon energy transition. Continue reading →

U.N. Working Group makes recommendations to protect human rights, labour rights in Canada
The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights released a Statement at the end of visit to Canada by the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights on June 1. This is a preliminary document, providing a summary of the results of fact-finding meetings with government officials, business organizations related to Canada’s mining and oil and gas industries, and Indigenous people. Most importantly, it makes a number of recommendations regarding human rights, labour rights, environmental and social impact consultation, and the right to consult for Indigenous people. 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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