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IISD Applauds Government of Canada's Progress on Sustainable Jobs, Looks Forward to Legislation Making Good Green Jobs the Law

February 17, 2023

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) congratulates the Canadian federal government on the release of the interim Sustainable Jobs Plan. This plan is a significant step to ensure that Canada's transition to a net-zero economy seizes the immense economic opportunities presented while ensuring no workers and communities are left behind. 

We welcome the government’s plans to undertake a range of activities to build the workforce of tomorrow, including skills development, inclusive and equitable job creation, and support for Indigenous-led solutions, drawing on best practices from other jurisdictions. Importantly, the plan strongly integrates International Labour Organization principles, such as a commitment to social dialogue with workers and employers and consultation with affected stakeholders. The creation of the Sustainable Jobs Secretariat and Sustainable Jobs Partnership Council will help establish strong governance structures for implementation.  

IISD is pleased to see additional investments in workforce skills and training through mechanisms like the Sustainable Jobs Training Centre announced in the Fall Economic Statement. It will be critical for the Sustainable Jobs Plan to be backed by sufficient federal funding, including other worker-specific supports and adequate resourcing for the Secretariat and Partnership Council. A system for monitoring, evaluating, and improving the efficacy of federal funding across the entire plan would ensure a coordinated and holistic approach. This should include any funding resulting from Regional Energy and Resource Tables outcomes. 

We look forward to seeing key guiding principles, governance structures, and accountability mechanisms for sustainable jobs enshrined in the forthcoming federal legislation. As we and other partners indicated in our recent report Proposals for the Canadian Just Transition Act, the legislation should integrate the Regional Energy and Resources Tables and establish mechanisms to secure robust regional planning that is directly linked to key principles such as social dialogue.  

Economic and regional decision-making must be guided and informed not only by Canada’s climate commitments but by a 1.5 degree-aligned pathway. Federal action on sustainable jobs has an important opportunity to include sectoral planning to inform economic alignment with emissions reductions objectives. 

We also emphasize the importance of increasing opportunities for Indigenous Peoples’ involvement and leadership over development in their territories, including avenues for Indigenous nations to work directly with the federal government in transition planning, including and beyond the Regional Tables. The forthcoming sustainable jobs legislation and plan should implement principles and mechanisms that uphold and advance Indigenous rights and sovereignty, including those outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.   

Overall, IISD applauds this progress and looks forward to seeing additional details on implementation, as well as key elements to enshrine sustainable jobs in federal legislation in the coming months. 

“Right now, Canada is climbing Mount Everest when it comes to getting our economy off carbon,” says Laura Cameron, IISD Policy Analyst. “There’s a long way to the top, but the Sustainable Jobs Action plan gives us some critical tools to continue the ascent, letting workers and communities guide the way.” 

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