Making Good Green Jobs the Law: How Canada can build on international best practice to advance just transition for all
Just transition legislation should embed principles including social dialogue and decent work, in line with guidelines from the International Labour Organization.
Canada should use legislation to mandate a comprehensive just transition strategy and set up institutions with adequate authority for implementation.
Canada's government must be proactive and adaptive to ensure respectful inclusion of Indigenous Peoples in just transition, including through adequate resourcing.
There is a democratic imperative for fast and comprehensive action on just transition in Canada. This paper examines how federal legislation could advance just transition, based on practices from jurisdictions around the world and results from 15 qualitative interviews with domestic and international just transition experts. Learning from jurisdictions such as Spain, South Africa, New Zealand, Illinois, and others, IISD identified the following priorities for federal just transition legislation:
- Link just transition to a 1.5°C-aligned pathway.
- Entrench just transition principles, including social dialogue and decent work, in line with International Labour Organization guidelines.
- Name who will take part in social dialogue. This includes governments (including Indigenous governments), unions, and employers, with an inclusive role for civil society.
- Commit to Leave No One Behind, refer specifically to Indigenous rights, and make linkages to environmental justice.
- Formally establish and identify the role, mandate, membership, and independence of the proposed advisory body.
- Mandate the creation of a comprehensive just transition strategy.
- Establish sufficient institutional structure, including identifying responsibilities for implementation, and a mechanism to ensure collaboration between relevant ministries.
- Ensure adequate authority for implementing bodies and specify approaches for accountability, monitoring, and transparency.
The paper also examines the limitations of legislation and identifies additional priorities for federal just transition policy, including:
- Mainstreaming just transition principles across departments, including establishing and entrenching social dialogue processes with workers and communities at the table
- Improving corporate accountability to avoid unfairly shifting burdens to government and taxpayers
- Providing proactive, scaled-up funding for just transition that supports local decision making
- Pursuing measures such as green industrial policy, labour market planning and adjustment, and improving social protection
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