ACW mourns the passing of Karen Hawley, July 2021

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The ACW community is saddened to announce the death of Karen Hawley who passed away on July 8, 2021 in Ottawa at the young age of 58, having faced the dual challenges of Covid-19 and cancer.  She is remembered by her ACW colleagues as a researcher with contagious enthusiasm, positive energy, and considerable intelligence, which she brought to many projects in both the Work in a Warming World, and the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Climate Change grants.  We extend our deep  condolences to her family.

Principal Investigator Carla Lipsig-Mummé has written:

“Karen has been on the margins of our grants since 2013 or even earlier – I remember that in 2013 and earlier Karen researched and wrote for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW)  “ How much do our unions, including their work and their buildings—do what we  say we do?”.  Karen’s work in this influenced Phillip Jennings of the UNI Global Union to pay more attention to mobilise union climate activism. Karen’s research with CUPW for W3’s global conference in 2013 led to Karen producing the analysis of union engagement in 105 unions, across the globe. She also took up specific projects with NUPGE over the years. For this quiet woman, whose generosity reached out to others, these last months have been hard.  Karen sent me her most recent project a few months ago. It focuses on the health sector.”

In addition to her work on the postal sector, Karen was involved as a researcher in other projects and publications, notably, the Green Collective Agreements database, and with John Mummé in the 2017 ACW Working Paper, The Training of Canadian Architects for the Challenges of Climate Change .

Roadmap to a Canadian Just Transition Act

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A path to a clean and inclusive economy

Canada has committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Among other implications, “decarbonizing” the Canadian economy will require the winding down of coal, oil and natural gas projects across the country with potentially harmful effects for the hundreds of thousands of workers and dozens of regional economies currently dependent on fossil fuel production.

In recognition and anticipation of the socioeconomic impacts of its climate policies, Canada’s federal government committed in 2019 to introducing a Just Transition Act to “support the future and livelihood of workers and their communities in the transition to a low-carbon global economy.” Although it has yet to be tabled, the promise of “just transition” legislation has strong support from labour unions, environmental groups and social justice movements that have long called for stronger federal leadership in this area.

Taking the federal government’s commitment as its starting point, this report explores the potential for a Just Transition Act to achieve a managed transition to a lower-carbon economy that minimizes the potential harms and maximizes the potential benefits for workers and their communities.

https://policyalternatives.ca/roadmap

posted in: Environmental Racism, Posts | 0

On November 7, 2020, Patricia Chong (Asian Canadian Labour Alliance) spoke at the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario’s (ETFO) Racialized Members Conference: Identity in times of Crisis. Patricia spoke about the ACW and Coalition of Black Trade Unionists’ Environmental Racism project with a focus on COVID-19. The conference continues on November 28, 2020.

Anti-Oppression & The Green Economy

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On Oct. 21, 2020, Patricia Chong (Asian Canadian Labour Alliance) spoke about the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces’ Environmental Racism workshop, the impact of COVID-19 on Racialized and Indigenous peoples, and the opportunities for resistance at the RISING TOGETHER: Women for a Just Economy webinar “Anti-Oppression and the Green Economy.”

 

The other panelists were:

Ellen Gabriel, Indigenous human rights and environmental activist

Harsha Walia, activist & BC Civil Liberties Association ED

Lylou Sehili, La Coalition étudiante pour un virage environnemental et social (CEVES)

Meg Gingrich, Researcher, United Steelworkers

 

This series of webinars was organized by the Equal Pay Coalition and the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women, with the support of the Atkinson Foundation and the Canadian Women’s Foundation.

 

More info here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzyY1jN9qFY&ab_channel=EqualPayCoalition-Ontario&fbclid=IwAR0Y4m1xalXZPLrJ6ouxEJqvlmFQ-ig84P7DEcDwvn7kvbPkQZTx3oOvTkE

CUPW Letter of support for ACW research into climate change

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On August 14, 2020, CUPW 2nd National Vice-President Dave Bleakney sent a letter to Carla Lipsig Mumme, Principal Investigator of the ACW Research Project. The letter begins:

“On behalf of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, I am pleased to offer our support for your research project, which focuses on the complex and volatile relationship between the climate crisis, the later stages of the pandemic, and the opportunity given to the world of work to take leadership in remaking the fundamental tools needed for the survival of our environment and society”.

Read the Brother Bleakney’s complete letter  here: CUPW Letter of Support August 2020

A REPORT ON ACW’S RECENT PROJECTS

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Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: A Report on ACW Projects
A REPORT ON ACW’S RECENT PROJECTS
December 2018-July 2020

1. Support for union-led research through social media and databases:

a) A monthly email newsletter, Work and Climate Change Report, has published almost 100 issues, alerting union researchers and members about what is being written about climate change from a unique viewpoint: Canadian information, on topics related to collective bargaining, pension fund investment and divestment, government policy, legal actions, among others.
b) The Work and Climate Change Report and the WCR Blog (https://workandclimatechangereport.org/) which archives it have a global reach – 148 countries , making the broader community aware of Canadian issues and developments. There is a pattern of growing use through internet searches, and driven by a related Twitter feed.
c) An ongoing database of Green Collective Agreements supports union bargaining by providing the full text of 259 clauses from agreements, mostly Canadian but including some U.S., Australia, U.K., and model agreements. This database has been cited by the International Labor Organization, as well as U.S. unions.
d) An international database of Green Initiatives lists 71 examples of actions by unions from U.S. and Europe.
e) A ongoing Digital Library https://www.zotero.org/w3citations/library
lists over 4,000 reports and documents related to the impact and relationship of climate change and the workplace.

2. ACW’s Current Research Projects

ACW has completed over 75 Research Projects. Here are some of the current projects:

a) Bargaining for Climate Change: A project of the Canadian Association of University Teachers. [CAUT Pamela Foster].

b) Climate Change, Workers and the North: Impact and Union Response.[PSAC-YEU Lynne Pajot , PSAC Howie West, and (Independent Researcher Jennifer Eakins].

c) Labour Process and Employment Implications of Low Energy Construction: Greening Buildings and Transforming Social Relations of Building Construction.[University of Westminster UK Linda Clarke], [Simon Fraser University John Calvert] Independent Researcher Lee Loftus].

3. ACW’s Book Publications

Both during the time of W3 and ACW, numerous books, reports, factsheets and journal articles have been produced: https://adaptingcanadianwork.ca/publications/

ACW has written three books, by Routledge and Fernwood Book with international recognition and two national awards.
a). Routledge, Lipsig-Mumme, C. Climate@Work. Fernwood Books.,
b) Routledge., Griffin Cohen, M., Climate Change and Gender in Rich Countries:
Work, Public Policy, and Action.
c) Queens Policy Studies, Lipsig-Mumme, C. S.McBride. Work in a Warming World.

4. University students and Eco-Audits

For the last 11 years, students at Glendon College of York University have been able to take a 4th year course titled Work in a Warming World. The students fill out evaluations—Eco-Audits developed by CUPE– evaluating how climate-responsible are their workplaces. Each student evaluates workplace energy conservation, use of bottled water, ways of dispensing garbage, the contents of cleaning products, ways of arriving at the university, etc.

We are finding that the Eco-Audit, greener practices that students
treasure, and class discussions, are now linking student-workers to unions. The
Eco- Audit has clearly had an impact on how young workers now see their jobs.

5. Green Is Not White Environmental Racism Project

Over 3,000 workers, educators, environmental justice activists, students and community members have participated in the ACW-CBTU Green Is Not White Environmental Racism workshop since December 2017.

The project has been covered extensively through publications such as Our Times Labour Magazine, Asparagus Magazine and Rabble Blogs which are all posted online on our project resources weblink https://adaptingcanadianwork.ca/environmental-racism-project-resources/

Project co-investigators are now preparing a second research grant proposal through ACW to focus even more closely upon concrete actions to confront environmental racism and environmental violence which have become even more acutely displayed over the year through the ceaseless murders of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour by the police. The new grant will also focus upon “Training the Trainer” to expand the number and diversity of BIPOC facilitators who are delivering the workshop.

6. What do we need from our partners?

A. Commitment to work with academics to develop and assist union, climate-related research projects;
B. In–kind assistance for staff/members time to work on the overall grant
C. Share and use the information developed in the grant’s work, as well as responding to your union’s climate challenges
D. Provide a letter of commitment as part of the grant application.

What Can Unions Do to Stop Environmental Racism?

posted in: Environmental Racism, Posts | 0

ACW, CBTU, and ACLA hosted a webinar and invited union and community activists to take action against environmental racism. In this moment of tremendous social change unions are asking themselves: how best can we act to stop racism in all its forms and ensure that the transition to a “new normal” does not reproduce the inequities of the old normal. The webinar engaged participants on a discussion on the nature of Environmental Racism, reviewed ER case studies in a Canadian content, explored the Environmental Justice movement and had group discussions on what unions can do to stop Environmental Racism. Here’s the link to the video

https://vimeo.com/444399829/4c62c452e2

 

Retooling Our World for the Future

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The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists joined Green Jobs Oshawa’s first “Retooling Our World for the Future” Summit; a summit for community leaders, environmentalists, labour and social justice advocates all working towards the common goal of public ownership and repurposing our world and jobs for socially beneficial manufacturing. Here is the link to the video of the summit and a description of the speakers on Youtube.

https://youtu.be/uYLCQC5LTfE

Webinar: What can Unions do to stop Environmental Racism

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What Can Unions Do to Stop Environmental Racism?

ACW, CBTU, and ACLA are hosting a webinar and inviting union and community activists to take action against environmental racism.

In this moment of tremendous social change unions are asking themselves: how best can we act to stop racism in all its forms and ensure that the transition to a “new normal” does not reproduce the inequities of the old normal.

What are we seeing in this moment?

COVID-19 has exposed the deep economic and environmental inequalities experienced by Racialized and Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Racialized and Indigenous communities are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, suffering from higher rates of exposure, transmission, and deaths. This is due, in part, to the environmental conditions that our communities live and work within. Racialized and Indigenous workers on the front lines have faced layoffs, job losses, or been deemed essential but not provided adequate protection.

We continue to witness a rise in anti-asian racism and police brutality which has produced an unprecedented global protest movement led by Black and Indigenous and Racialized communities.

What is Environmental Racism?:

The concept of Environmental Racism has been around for the last 40 years; however, examples of Environmental Racism date back centuries. The term originally coined by Dr. Benjamin Chavez in 1981 referred to weak environmental protections in racialized and indigenous communities. Since the original conception the term has expanded to include “toxins in the workplace, climate migration (climigration), gentrification, and the absence of basic necessities like food and water; all of which unequally impact Indigenous and racialized people.” (https://ourtimes.ca/article/green-is-not-white)

Across the world greenhouse gas emissions have reduced as a result of economic contraction. However, these temporarily lower emissions mask the deep racial inequalities that have been exposed through the pandemic.

Who we are:

Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change (ACW) seeks to look at how can Canadian work, workers and workplaces can help slow global warming and now works with six countries. This is a 11-year research and action project led by labour unions, the Canadian Labour Congress, labour federations, labour councils, and universities, who have united to work to slow global warming.

ACW recognizes the disproportionate impact of climate change on Racialized and Indigenous communities globally. In this moment of global climate threat and social upheaval ACW will not be silent and calls upon our partner organizations to take action. (https://adaptingcanadianwork.ca)

The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU), has actively given voice to Black workers within the labour movement and community for over 50 years in the United States and 20 years in Canada (www.cbtu.ca). CBTU has launched the “green is Not White” environmental racism project and taken a strong stand in support of the call to defund the police. (http://cbtu.ca/2020/06/defunding-the-police/)

The Asian Canadian Labour Alliance (ACLA) is a grassroots collective of community and labour activists established in 2000 to give voice to pan-Asian trade union and community activists, Asian-Canadian workers, and the Asian-Canadian community at large. (http://aclaontario.ca/)

Continued

Environmental Racism Workshop in Hamilton

The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists partnered with the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion Leadership Program to deliver “Unionism 101: Let’s Talk About Unions” to young civic leaders engaged in social justice activism on campuses and workplaces. The discussion explored the relevance of the the Labour Movement to young workers including the struggle to stop environmental racism.

For more information go to https://adaptingcanadianwork.ca/category/environmental-racism/

 

Disasters foretold: Boeing 737 Max 8 and Lac-Mégantic

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Canada has reportedly still allowed Boeing 737 Max 8s to fly, albeit without passengers after they were grounded almost a year ago. This news emerges despite the fact that crashes involving the plane — Lion Air in Indonesia in October 2018 and, five months later, Ethiopian Airlines in Addis Ababa — killed 346 people, including 18 Canadians. Read the full article here: https://theconversation.com/disasters-foretold-boeing-737-max-8-and-lac-megantic-130760

 

Environmental Racism Workshop at the Kingston & District Labour Council Health & Safety School

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A little over a year ago, the Asian Canadian Labour Alliance (ACLA) partnered with CBTU Ontario, Canada to pilot their Environmental Racism workshop during COPE Local 343’s conference. Since then, ACLA and CBTU have delivered this workshop to multiple audiences across Ontario. We introduced the workshop to this small but mighty group at the Kingston & District Labour Council Health & Safety School.

 

 

Environmental Racism Project Resources

Building Solidarity & Overcoming Fear: Mexico, Canada, and USA Activists Gathering

 

The “Overcoming Fear: Creating a Trinational Workers Toolkit Conference” in Pennsylvania brought together trade unionists and Migrant Activists from Mexico, USA, and Canada. The trinational Conference was organized by United Electrical Workers, United Steelworkers, and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.

 

 

Patricia Chong, who designed the Environmental Racism workshop, attended the conference as as a representative for the Asian Canadian Labour Alliance (ACLA). Elizabeth Ha attended as a representative for Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW).

ACLA and CBTU have been partnering to deliver the Environmental Racism workshop across Ontario for over a year engaging over 500 union members and community activists in participatory discussions to both identify and stop environmental racism.

 

 

More Conference Information Environmental Racism Project Resources

 

 

Le racisme environnemental et les droits de la personne/ Environmental Racism – A Human Rights Perspective

 

UFCW Human Rights Committee Meeting

 

Le racisme environnemental et les droits de la personne

Les membres du Comité des droits de la personne du Syndicat des travailleurs et travailleuses unis de l’alimentation et du commerce (TUAC) d’un bout à l’autre du pays se sont réunis pour participer à l’atelier Green is not White Environmental Racism. Les discussions ont été très constructives et ont permis d’entendre des points de vue variés provenant de toutes les régions du pays. Nous avons également eu la chance d’entendre une personne déléguée du Québec, le frère Othman Benlemoudden, représentant syndical, TUAC 501, qui a apporté un point de vue éclairé (et bilingue) à la séance.

L’atelier s’est terminé par une question posée par Emmanuelle Lopez-Bastos, représentant des TUAC pour l’équité et les droits de la personne : « Quelles mesures les membres des TUAC peuvent-ils prendre pour mettre fin au racisme environnemental? » Denise Hampden (CBTU et AFPC) et Christopher Wilson (CBTU et AFPC) ont indiqué, qu’en s’appuyant sur les principes de l’éducation populaire, il fallait créer un espace pour permettre aux membres de s’exprimer sur cette question tout en étant confiants qu’ils et elles ont les connaissances pour y répondre. Comme Paulo Freire et Myles Horton nous l’ont enseigné : « C’est en marchant que nous construisons notre chemin ».

Dans la semaine qui a suivi la présentation de cet atelier, nous avons appris que les documents de l’atelier de deux heures, les notes d’animation et les documents d’appoint sont maintenant disponibles en français grâce à l’excellent travail des traductrices de l’Alliance de la Fonction publique du Canada. Vous pourrez trouver cette documentation ici:

 

Télécharger la présentation en français (PDF) Télécharger les notes d’animation en français (PDF)

 

Environmental Racism – A Human Rights Perspective

Human Rights Committee members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) came together from across Canada to engage in the Green Is Not White Environmental Racism workshop. Discussions were participatory with varied perspectives offered from regions across the country. We also had the chance to hear from a delegate from Quebec, Brother Othman Benlemoudden, UFCW 501 Union Representative, who brought thoughtful (and bilingual) insight to the session.

The workshop concluded with a question from Emmanuelle Lopez-Bastos, the Equity and Human Rights rep from UFCW. She asked: “What actions can UFCW members take to stop environmental racism?” Building upon the principles of popular education, Denise Hampden (CBTU and PSAC) and Christopher Wilson (CBTU and PSAC) responded: create spaces to ask your members that very question and trust the knowledge will be in the room. As Paulo Freire and Myles Horton teach us: “We Make the Road by Walking”

Within a week of delivering this session we received word that, the materials for the 2 hour workshop, both facilitation notes and handouts are now available in French thanks to the great work of translators at the Public Service Alliance of Canada. They can be found here:

 

Download the Presentation - French (PDF) Download the Facilitator Notes - French (PDF)

 

 

 

It takes a community to build Racial Justice

How can we stop environmental racism within our workplaces, Unions and communities?

“Many labour educators want to address racism through our work with members”, says Barb Thomas (Co-Author: Education for Changing Unions). But spaces for conversations around racism and white supremacy within the movement are disparate and often face resistance.

In March of 2018 twenty Labour educators from across Unions and community organizations came together in a meeting hosted by United Steelworkers to share their approaches and tools for talking about racism and every-day white supremacy with workers.

 

 

The session was so invigorating, another meeting was scheduled, this time in the offices of another union. The group has grown and continues to meet every three months, each time with a different organizing group, and a different aspect of racism to focus on.  At one session, people mapped where, in their organizations, discussions of racism are happening and not happening.

Members of the group are learning from each other, taking courage from initiatives in each other’s organizations, and sharing resources between sessions. This network calls itself Talking with Workers about Everyday White Supremacy. The word “everyday” refers not to the Ku Klux Klan style racism, but the everyday ways that white people benefit from their privilege, how privilege is harmful to people in equity-seeking groups, how racism is used to divide workers and how it is perpetuated.

The objective of this network is to Build a community and a collaborative space for reflection, experimentation and Action.

Building upon this community, Labour educators came together on September 4, 2019 to participate in and reflect upon the Environmental Racism project as part of a larger discussion of decolonizing Turtle Island. Workshops included: The Trouble with Land Acknowledgements, Environmental Racism – Green is Not White, the Game of life on Turtle island (part of unionism on Turtle Island) and an important discussion about what we need to start doing, what we need to keep doing and what we should stop doing to promote decolonization within our social movements.

The meeting was not an end but part of an ongoing process of design, participatory learning and support for more action.

When asked the question: “How do we stop environmental racism?” Sister Thomas replied by quoting Myles Horton and Paulo Freire “We make the road by walking.”

 

Who is included in a Just Transition?

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Who is included in a Just Transition?
Considering social equity in Canada’s shift to a zero-carbon economy

By Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood and Zaee Deshpande

 

This report investigates whether the emerging policy consensus on just transition is consistent with the principles of social justice and equity more broadly. Rather than discuss the necessity of a just transition to a zero-carbon economy in Canada, this report is specifically concerned with the question of whether a just transition, as it is currently being pursued at the policy level, truly achieves justice for all workers by redressing inequities or, at a minimum, by not exacerbating them. In this sense, we expand the scope of the just transition discourse beyond the current mainstream understanding of the term. The report concludes that a truly just transition should address and incorporate social equity from the outset.

 

 

This study was co-published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change research program (ACW), a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Partnership Grant project based at York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies

 

Download the Full Report (PDF)

 

United to stop environmental racism

 

‘In Unity, Strength’ is the foundational belief of the labour movement, but what does unity look like? – Christopher Wilson, CBTU

Over 150 Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU) delegates from across Canada and the United States came together to stop environmental racism by participating In the Green Is Not White workshop designed to expose the disproportionate impact of climate change upon racialized and Indigenous communities.

Christopher Wilson’s recent article in Our Times magazine takes the reader inside the room: “ ‘In Unity, Strength’ is the foundational belief of the labour movement, but what does unity look like?” Wilson is 1st Vice-President of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists Ontario, Canada Chapter; and project lead with the ACW’s (Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change) Environmental Racism Research Project. He is also the Public Service Alliance of Canada’s Ontario Region coordinator.

 

Read the article on Ourtimes.ca

 

The workshop, delivered at the CBTU Region 1 Conference, opened with a Territorial Acknowledgement that drew linkages to the lived experiences of Indigenous peoples both north and south of the border with a call to action to Trade Unionists to engage in a process of decolonization across Turtle Island.

 

Read Territory Acknowledgement – Environmental Racism (PDF)

 

Credit to Denise Hampden, Regional Education Officer Public Service Alliance of Canada

 

 

Our Times magazine’s union exchange on “Green is not white”

Green is not white: Environmental Justice for all
by Shanice Regis

The Green is Not White workshop brings cases of environmental racism closer to home by providing local examples and giving participants the tools to identify environmental injustices in their own homes, communities, and workplaces.

The workshop explored the problem of environmental racism, analyzing it within the scope of pressing environmental and climate change issues.

Anishinaabe guest speaker Danielle Boissoneau, of Garden River First Nation, spoke about the resilience of Indigenous peoples in the face of environmental genocide perpetuated by Canadian governments — from the poisoning of their land and water to the forcible removal of Indigenous peoples from their homes. She also discussed her role in helping to organize the Hamilton Harbour Water Walk, which brings awareness to the environmental issues happening in the harbour.

 

Read more on OurTimes.ca

 

Heating Up, Backing Down: Evaluating recent climate policy progress in Canada

by Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood
Senior Researcher, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)

June 13, 2019

 

As Canadians from coast to coast to coast grapple with record-breaking wildfires, floods and other extreme weather events, a new report finds that many Canadian governments—at both the federal and provincial level—are moving in the wrong direction on climate policy.

The study, co-published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) and the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change research program (ACW), assesses the climate policy progress of Canadian governments over the past two years with respect to long-term greenhouse gas emission reductions.

“Overall, Canada’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate are less comprehensive and less ambitious than even two years ago,” says report author and CCPA senior researcher Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood. “Many governments have failed to follow through on earlier promises and some have backtracked on climate policies already put in place.”

Among its findings, the report identifies two growing threats to climate policy progress in Canada:

  • A narrow public debate over carbon pricing is eroding political will for a more comprehensive climate policy approach. There are many other policies that are less controversial and can be just as effective at reducing emissions.
  • Canadian governments have been unwilling to introduce supply-side energy policies designed to restrict the production of fossil fuels, even though keeping much of our oil and gas in the ground is necessary to avoid the worst effects of global climate breakdown.

The report concludes that positive progress in provinces like British Columbia and Quebec over the past few years is outweighed by backsliding in other provinces. The new governments in Alberta and Ontario—Canada’s two biggest carbon polluters—have reversed the climate policies of previous governments, which puts Canada’s already-unlikely national targets even further at risk.

 

Download the Full Report (PDF)

Environmental Racism and Work in a Warming World Workshop

 

Patricia Chong (Asian Canadian Labour Alliance) and Chris Wilson (Coalition of Black Trade Unionists) co-delivered a 2-hour module of the Environmental Racism Workshop at the Indigenous and Workers of Colour Conference organized by the Toronto and York Region Labour Council on June 1st, 2019.

 

 

 

 

2-Hour Workshop for Large Groups

Environmental Racism and Work in a Warming World Workshop: Facilitator Notes

By The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists & Adapting Canadian Work & Workplaces

Workshop Learning Objectives

By the end of the 2-hour workshop, participants should be able to do the following:

1) Explain what environmental racism is and how it impacts Racialized and Indigenous communities in Canada;

2) Describe the connection between environmental racism and the workplace;

3) Explain how Racialized and Indigenous workers have been marginalized by the Green Jobs Revolution;

NOTE:

• These are suggested workshop facilitation notes. Users are encouraged to adapt the workshop to fit their needs
• This 2-hour workshop is a shortened version of an 8 hour (full-day) workshop. For the full-length version of the facilitator notes, the participant companion guide, additional resources, please visit: https://adaptingcanadianwork.ca/environmental-racism-acw-workshop-companion-guide-facilitators-notes/
• Bibliographic information is provided in the workshop companion guide

 

Download Workshop Guide (PDF)

 

Download additional notes (PDF)

 

Download the Presentation (PDF)

 

 

 

Steelworkers Union Tackles Climate Change in Workshop Guide

 

Climate Change and Just Transition: What Will Workers Need?

United Steelworkers National Health, Safety Environment and Human Rights Conference 2017

 

The United Steelworkers Union (USW) in Canada has produced a new workshop guide to educate workers about the impact of climate change on jobs, and to better prepare them to ensure that government policies promoting a just transition are put in place. The workshop and guide were piloted at the United Steelworkers National Health, Safety, Environment and Human Rights Conference that was held in Vancouver in 2017.

The workshop guide leads union members through discussion topics and activities, such as asking participants to answer the question, “What can your workplace do to combat climate change?”

Topics covered include:

  • How Climate Change Connects Us
  • How Climate Change Contributes to the World of Work
    • Employment
    • Forestry
    • Mining
    • Transportation
  • Just Transition
  • What Does a Green Job Mean in Relation to the Environment?
    • Collective Agreements
    • Political Lobbying
    • Green Procurement
    • Training
    • Employment Insurance
  • National Concern for the Economic Growth of Canada

 

A main focus of the workshop is the need for a just transition to a greener economy.

Workers and trade unions should be concerned with the lack of policies in place protecting the rights of all workers who will be affected because of a direct or indirect loss of their jobs as a result of climate policies. Some sectors of our economy are already or will soon be targeted by these measures. We as workers, employers, and labour unions need a better understanding of the impacts these measures will have on employment, not with a view to blocking them, but to ensure that the most vulnerable will be prepared to face the necessary changes and not pushed even further into exclusion. – Climate Change and Just Transition: What Will Workers Need?

 

The workshop and guide were produced in partnership with the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective,” (ACW) a Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Partnership Program-funded project, based at York University, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.

 

Download the Guide (PDF)

 

 

UK’s Greener Jobs Alliance Heralds Committee on Climate Change Report

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The UK’s Green Jobs Alliance, a close counterpart of ACW, is extolling the independent Committee on Climate Change’s recent publication, noting, “This [CCC] report will change your life…”

In a statement, the Greener Jobs Alliance said,

 

The UK must end its contribution to global warming with a new target of net zero emissions by 2050, the independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC) told the government on 2 May https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Net-Zero-The-UKs-contribution-to-stopping-global-warming.pdf. And for the first time ever in an official report, the government is told to deliver a Just Transition for workers and their communities.

 

The 2050 target date for zero emissions will disappoint many demonstrating across the UK. But the committee’s call for a Just Transition across many sectors of the economy looks very much like a new industrial strategy for a Zero Carbon Britain. It should now reinforce this message by setting up a Just Transition Advisory Group, with union representation from the industrial, energy, public and voluntary sectors.

 

Read more on greenerjobsalliance.co.uk

 

ACW Mourns Passing of Green Built Environment Expert, Prof. Colin Patrick Gleeson

Prof. Colin Gleeson, University of Westminter (U.K.)

 

The ACW community is mourning the loss of one of its most important collaborators, Prof. Colin Patrick Gleeson, who passed away March 7 in London, U.K., after a lengthy illness.

Colin Gleeson was a Reader at the University of Westminster’s School of Architecture and the Built Environment, an academic staff member of the ProBE Centre for the Study of the Production of the Built Environment, and a valued member of the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Response to Climate Change (ACW): Canada in International Perspective research project, based at York University, where he participated in both the Built Environment and International Policy working groups.

 

ACW’s Principal Investigator, Dr. Carla Lipsig-Mummé, Professor of Work and Labour Studies, said, “Colin Gleeson has been with us from the beginning: a brilliant researcher, pioneering analyst, gifted writer, and essential to our project. He has been with us from the first days and his work is increasingly used internationally. On another level, Colin is a vivid friend, filled with energy and a hunger to delve deep and deeper on the widest ranging topics. Two images stay with me: I can see Colin standing inside the door of the London Review of Books bookstore after coffee for 5 at a table for 2, talking animatedly with my husband, an architect and an engineer, their backs against the outdoor sunlight, Colin’s hands raised and flailing to make his point. And another time, we are all, the ACW group, at a staid conference on labour process. Colin’s presentation needs a big screen, and there he is, running to leap at the screen to point out the high parts, twirling and returning to the screen from another angle. Vivid, warm, a lifelong friend to his friends… I will miss him.”

 

Long-time colleague at the University of Westminster, Professor Linda Clarke, added, “I will always picture Colin, rushing into my room, sitting himself down, and enthusiastically explaining a new idea, sharing a discovery or asking for thoughts on something or other, which often involved opening his laptop and going into detail. He loved being involved in the ACW programme. When we went on research trips, including to Denmark, Glasgow, Yorkshire, Devon, Colin would endlessly quiz, question and discuss with whoever we were visiting, always curious, eager to learn, and interested. On our many long journeys together whether to Brussels, Copenhagen or Canada, we had a constant banter going, back and forth, enjoying each other’s company. He was the life and soul of our Research Centre, ProBE (Centre for the Study of the Production of the Built Environment), the expert on low energy construction, stalking up and down waving his arms as he gave a presentation. And in the union, he would be relied on to attend meetings and the first on the picket line, holding a placard high in the air. We are all going to miss him.”

 

Associate Professor John Calvert, Simon Fraser University, said, “Colin was unique in many ways because he combined his professional training as a building science engineer with a commitment to applying his knowledge in the social sciences and, particularly, the areas of workplace organization and labour relations. He was an incredibly curious person who was always asking questions about how and why we did things the way we did. He was also dedicated to making workplaces more democratic and more responsive to the needs of the people who actually carried out work on the job site. He had a profound commitment to using his skills and knowledge for the benefit of working people, a task which he fulfilled to a remarkable degree, both in his research and in his teaching.”

 

Dr. Colin Gleeson conducting research for his ACW Green Transitions in the Built Environment project.

 

Colin Gleeson originally worked in all types of construction ranging from housing to hospitals, offices and factories, which involved an eclectic mix of design, installation, consultancies and academia. He started in academia by teaching a women’s plumbing course and then guest lectured at the Hogeschool in Amsterdam and University College London. He presented his research to the European Commission, the European Social Fund, the European Construction Social Partners, the European Trade Union Institute, the British Council, as well as at low energy and vocational education conferences. Colin Gleeson completed his PhD at the University College London in 2014 and he had a BA in environmental engineering.

 

The details of Colin Gleeson’s funeral are as follows:

Friday, 5 April 2019, 2:00 PM
West Norwood Cemetery & Crematorium
and afterwards at The Rosendale pub, 65 Rosendale Rd, London SE21 8EZ

 

Wishes of the family:

Because of Colin’s passion for energy conservation we are asking people not to buy flowers. Instead if you would like to, please send donations to St Christopher’s Hospice, Sydenham, SE26 6DZ. Direct link: https://supportus.stchristophers.org.uk/donate/product/donate

 


The European Social Fund produced an interview with Colin Gleeson about his work in 2012, which can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1So8KZHG8yM.

 

His work for ACW may be viewed on the website at http://www.adaptingcanadianwork.ca/tag/colin-gleeson/

Colin’s last two projects, in addition to the ACW work, were:

  • Analysis of data from heat pumps installed via the Renewable Heat Premium Payment Scheme (RHPP) to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) A major contract with research consortium from UCL, BSRIA, SP Technical Sweden for UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), 2014-2017.
  • EU Progress Fund:  European Retrofit Network: The European Retrofit Network provided a methodology for retrofitting social housing to reduce carbon dioxide emissions with an analysis of their VET requirements for an EU-wide retrofitting industry. The Westminster package focused on retrofit interventions to quantify emissions savings for different housing typologies. The research entailed emissions reduction modeling and interviews with stakeholders, including social housing providers, architects, project managers and building contractors.

 

Just Transition and Beyond Just Transition: Canada in Action

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Roundtable Summary Report
August 27, 2018, Ottawa

Prepared by C.M. Flynn

Background

Just Transition is an elusive concept. First developed by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) at the turn of the 21st century, it has suffered from neglect for much of the last 20 years. Workshops, symposia and half-day conferences proliferated in the EU and other countries, but the meetings have duplicated each other’s work, and to date there had been no common definition or sharing of information about what works and what has not worked in just transition experiences.

With this in mind, and mindful of Canada’s historic leadership, the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change project (ACW) brought together 6 groups active in the field to form an organizing committee. The committee invited the broadest range of Canadian groups involved in Just Transition to a daylong roundtable with three main goals:

1. Share experiences among Canadian groups about the work each is doing to transition to a low carbon economy: what has worked, what has failed, and why?
2. Think forward about how we can broaden Just Transition beyond its current focus.
3. Share next steps that each group will be taking.

 

Download the Full Report (PDF)

 

Labour Leader to Urge Students to Combat Climate Change in the Workplace

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Donald Lafleur

 

He has been an organic farmer, postal worker and union leader, and was named Labour Environmentalist of the Year. Before the Canadian unions became leaders in the struggle to slow climate change, Donald Lafleur, executive vice-president of the Canadian Labour Congress, was training unionists about climate bargaining and green plans, and working with postal sorting stations, factories and offices to adapt the way they work in order to slow the climate warming that is threatening life as we know it.

Lafleur’s linking of work with climate change is opening a whole new path of study and research. He will speak to students enrolled in Social Sciences 1510, “The Future of Work,” taught by David Langille on Friday, March 15 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., in Room 102 Accolade East Building, (Price Family Theatre) at the Keele Campus. The lecture is open to the public.

 

Read more on Yfile.Yorku.ca

 

Deep Cleavages Amongst US Labour Unions with Respect to Climate Change, Finds Report

 

Labour Unions and Green Transitions in the USA: Contestations and Explanations
By Dimitris Stevis, Professor, Colorado State University

 

From the author:
“In broad terms there are now two camps amongst US labour unions with respect to climate change and renewables (the two not always related). On one side, are those unions that believe that something needs to be done about climate change and that renewables are a good strategy. On the other side are those that are opposed to meaningful climate policy –even as they claim that climate change is a problem.”

This report outlines the deep cleavages with respect to climate policy but also argues that the views of unions are more complex and contradictory than the opposition-support dichotomy. Additionally, it seeks to understand what explains the variability in union responses to climate change and policy. What can account for the contradictions evident amongst and within unions?

 

Download the Full Report (PDF)

 

Green Transitions in the Built Environment: Europe

 

Presentation by Linda Clarke, Melahat Sahin-Dikmen, Colin Gleeson, ProBE (Centre for the Study of the Production of the Built Environment), University of Westminster, at ACW All-Team Meeting’s Researcher Presentations.

November 2018

 

View the Presentation (PDF)

 

California Labour Council Supports Green New Deal

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San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council Resolution in Support of a Green New Deal with Strong Labor Provisions

 

The San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council, ALF-CIO “will advocate for a Green New Deal with strong labor provisions in concert with our environmental and community partners” as a result of the resolution that was adopted on January 23, 2019.

The Labor Network for Sustainability, an ACW partner organisation, is in support of the Green New Deal and is mentioned in the resolution as having “passed resolutions and/or supported bold policies to address the climate crisis and other pressing environmental issues” along with other labour organisations.

The adopted resolution includes support and advocacy for stronger labour provisions. These labour provisions include a Green New Deal that:

  • “…includes a fair and equitable Just Transition for workers impacted by a transitioning economy including a fund to provide severance packages, lifetime income, free education and family healthcare;”
  • “…expands collective bargaining and ensures the creation of union jobs through card check neutrality agreements, prevailing wages, project labor agreements, enacting the provisions of the Employee Free Choice Act and requiring direct partnerships with joint labor-management apprenticeship programs;”
  • “…[prioritizes] projects, union career opportunities and investments in working-class, low-income and communities of color historically and disproportionality impacted by pollution, high unemployment, poverty and environmental injustice;”
  • “…includes Buy America provisions.”

The resolution reinforces that the labour movement needs to be involved in climate action to ensure the protection of workers: “…if climate action is to address inequality, the labor movement must be at the center of shaping climate policies to include just transition for workers, expand collective bargaining rights and create green union careers, particularly in disadvantaged communities.”

 

Download the Resolution (PDF)

 

‘Road Map’ Needed for Built Environment Professional Education in Asia-Pacific, Finds Report

Built Environment Curricula in the Asia-Pacific Region: Responding to Climate Change

By Tony Dalton and Usha Iyer-Raniga, RMIT University

Originally published 15 November 2017

ProSPER.Net (this is not an ACW publication)

 

This project, led by RMIT University, Australia, looked at five case studies of Built Environment (BE) professions from China, Thailand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Contributing institutions to the project included the University of Tongji, China, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand, University of the Philippines, Philippines, and Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia.

In the current urban century, cities face multiple challenges. Current and future built environment professionals, whether involved in city governance and planning, urban development, or urban design, need to practice ethically and sustainably as they cope with rapid economic change, technological change, social change, urban growth, climate change, resilience and adaptation pressures. They need to be supported so that they can develop competencies and practices around good planning and design, environmental knowledge, principles of social equity, and good governance.

Developing these competencies in many parts of the Asia-Pacific is not easy. Both cities and higher education systems in many countries are growing very rapidly. This means that the systems used to regulate city building and grow the number of graduates able to design, build and regulate city building are under considerable pressure. In this context little attention has been given to ensuring that sustainability knowledge is at the core of the curriculum of built environment academic programmes such as planning, project management, architecture and engineering.

The project found that governments in the five Asia-Pacific countries studied struggle to implement green building codes. Built environment professional associations and regulators of the professions fail to recognise the challenge of climate change and sustainability. Future graduates will not have the capacity to contribute to decarbonisation of the built environment unless there is systemic change in what students are taught. Built environment programmes typically offer sustainability courses as electives, not as core. This needs to change so that knowledge of climate change and sustainability become core graduate attributes.

 

Download the Full Report (PDF)

 

 

Environmental Racism: Shannon Holness Speaking Out Against Forced Family Relocations in Jane-Finch

 

Gentification is Environmental Racism
In recognition of #MLK day, CBTU is launching the 7th video in our video series on Environmental Racism with a profile of Shannon Holness speaking out against forced family relocations in Jane-Finch along with her work with the Toronto Community Benefits Network

 

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists: “Gentrification is Environmental Racism” from Potential Films on Vimeo.

 

Watch on Vimeo.com

EU’s Green Building Strategy has Major Implications for Construction Workers, Report Finds

 

Green Transitions in the Built Environment: Europe
The role of trade unions in the transition to low carbon construction: examples from Denmark, Germany, Italy and UK/Scotland

By Linda Clarke, Melahat Sahin-Dikmen, Colin Gleeson, Centre for the Study of the Production of the Built Environment (ProBE), University of Westminster, UK

Despite the variation in actual progress and the divergent approaches of Member States, the EU’s green transition strategy for the built environment is in the process of implementation and has major implications for the sector and for construction workers. This transition to green construction in the EU is a long and challenging process and, as shown in this report, varies between countries, driven by strategies formulated, interpreted and implemented in very different ways.

This report presents findings from an investigation into the role of trade unions in the transition to low energy construction (LEC) in Denmark, Germany, Italy and Scotland/UK. The study addresses the aims of the Built Environment Working Group, leading the construction strand of the ACW research programme. The key objective is to research the role of workers in the transition to low carbon construction by identifying and examining trade union involvement, whether this takes the form of policies, proposals or practical action. This report concerns the European part of the investigation.

 

Download the Full Report (PDF)

 

Unions Make City Building (Glasgow) a Model of Sustainable Construction and Employment

 

City Building (Glasgow): an inspirational model of low energy social housing and public building production

By Linda Clarke and Melahat Sahin-Dikmen, Centre for the Study of the Production of the Built Environment (ProBE), University of Westminster, UK

 

City Building is a not-for profit building organization with an in-house training centre, a large apprenticeship scheme, and a highly unionized, directly employed workforce.

In the last ten years, City Building has developed as a successful social enterprise with sustainable and high standard employment and construction practices. As well as continuing to be responsible for maintaining all Glasgow City Council’s building stock and for managing its new construction projects, it competes for work in the open market, developing expertise in low-energy construction and building on its history of social housing production.

What sets City Building apart from any other construction company are the strong social ethos and good employment practices that guide its ‘business model’. Another unique feature is the involvement of the trade unions that played, historically, a significant role in shaping the ethos that underpins City Building’s operations. The Joint Trade Union Council includes representatives from each trade union and is actively engaged with the management of City Building at the highest level, in what is described as ‘a great relationship’.

 

Download the Full Report (PDF)

 

ILO Briefing Highlights Work of ACW and Union Partnerships for COP24

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Just Transition Towards Environmentally Sustainable Economies and Societies for All

by Béla Galgóczi

October 2018

 

ILO ACTRAV Policy Brief
International Labour Organization
Bureau for Workers’ Activities (ACTRAV)

 

European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) Senior Researcher Béla Galgóczi, who is also a Co-Investigator with the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change (ACW) research project, has prepared a new policy brief for the International Labour Organization (ILO) which addresses the main challenges affecting how just transition can work in practice and what trade unions and workers’ organizations can do.

The briefing paper highlights the work of the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change (ACW) research project, noting that the project “provides a vast platform for trade unions in sharing good practices” through its Green Collective Agreements data base, which contains 196 collective agreements with green clauses.

From the author:

The intensity of greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction, both compared to past achievements and current pledges, must be stepped up, with consequently harsher social and employment impacts than those experienced so far. This will lead to major changes, adjustments, costs and opportunities and will considerably affect jobs, livelihoods, working conditions, skills and job prospects. Just transition will be critical in managing this process and the labour movement needs to be at the forefront to make green transition a success.

This policy brief will address the main challenges in fulfilling these goals, how just transition can work in practice and what trade unions and workers’ organizations can do. In doing so, the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Guidelines for a just transition towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all (ILO 2015) provide the basic framework with a view to implementing the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

A number of brief case studies – each corresponding to a specific challenge – will illustrate concrete examples that could help to formulate trade union strategies. Both positive and negative experiences are taken into account, followed by recommendations.

 

Read more from ILO.org

“Climate Stability and Worker Stability: Are they Compatible?” Asks New Report

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Climate stability, worker stability: Are they compatible?
by Dr. Louise Comeau, Research Associate, University of New Brunswick and Devin Luke, University of New Brunswick
December 3, 2018

It appears we face a low-carbon transition dilemma. On the one hand, climate change solutions, like greenhouse gas regulation and carbon pricing, raise concerns about potential job displacement for workers in traditional energy sectors like oil and gas production and fossil-fuel generated electricity. Hence the calls for just transition. Our research, however, suggests that this blame may be at least partially misplaced. Energy workforce changes are currently affected by broader societal changes relating to fuel-cost differentials (i.e., natural gas cheaper than coal), automation, and the societal transition to non-unionized, unstable and lower-paying work. Greenhouse gas regulations and carbon pricing are certainly not the only driver of workforce change, and likely not, at least currently, not the primary driver.

Should proponents of renewable energy, energy efficiency and the low-carbon transition address these broader societal trends? If so, how? Is the solution to focus on collective responses such as energy cooperatives, public sector ownership of renewable energy supply, utility-scale and managed energy efficiency programs, rather than market-based, privatized solutions? These questions are worth answering. Our goal with this study was to better understand the training needs associated with renewable energy and energy efficiency job projections. There appears, however, to be a greater need to better integrate climate change and low-carbon economy discussions into a broader discourse on the nature of work.

 

Download the Full Report (PDF)

 

Book Launch: The Lac-Mégantic Rail Disaster: Public Betrayal, Justice Denied

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Friday, November 9th 2018,
5:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M.
Refreshments and no-host bar

The Garage, Centre for Social Innovation – CSI Annex
720 Bathurst St. | Map
Toronto, ON M5S 2R4
Bathurst TTC Station

FREE ADMISSION

 

“The Lac-Mégantic Rail Disaster: Public Betrayal, Justice Denied” with author Bruce Campbell

“Much more than a research report, the book is a dramatic read, with no letup in the action from start to finish.” – Harry Gow, President Emeritus of Transport Action Canada and Chair of the Board of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre

The July 6, 2013 Lac-Mégantic rail disaster is a tragedy unparalleled in Canadian history. It resulted in major loss of life, massive environmental destruction and the evisceration of a small Quebec town. Blame landed squarely on the shoulders of three front-line employees of the Montreal, Maine, and Atlantic Railway Company. But a jury acquitted them.

Lac-Mégantic is the story of a rail industry writing its own rules, a booming US oil industry based on fracking, fighting any obstacles to selling their dangerous product, and a rogue US railway operator cutting corners to make his fortune. At another level the story is about a federal government blinded by its own free market ideology, fixated on making Canada an energy superpower, and compliant bureaucrats failing to protect the public interest.

At the heart of it all is a small, tight-knit community torn apart and struggling to recover. There is unimaginable loss, broken lives and families, and individual and collective trauma. But there is also healing, solidarity, commemoration, remembrance, and the determination to rebuild and transcend.

This book uncovers the truth about Lac-Mégantic. It includes first person interviews with many of the key players, analysis of the corporate executives and the companies involved, an examination of the complex world of transport safety regulation in Canada, and an account of the trials of the three accused.

 

BRUCE CAMPBELL is a former Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, one of Canada’s leading independent think tanks. For his work on Lac-Mégantic, Bruce was awarded a Law Foundation of Ontario Community Leadership in Justice Fellowship and spent 2016 as a visiting professor at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law. Bruce is currently Adjunct Professor, York University, Faculty of Environmental Studies, and co-investigator with the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change research project, based at York University. He lives in Ottawa.

 

Carla Lipsig-Mummé Named 2018 Winner of SSHRC Impact Partnership Award

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The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) announced today that Professor Carla Lipsig-Mummé is the winner of the 2018 Impact Partnership Award for her pioneering work in the area of labour, workplaces and mitigating the impacts of climate change.

Carla Lipsig-Mummé is a Professor of Work and Labour Studies at York University, and the Principal Investigator of the seven-year SSHRC grant titled “Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective.”

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General, will present Professor Lipsig-Mummé and recipients of the 2018 SSHRC Impact Awards with their prizes at a ceremony at Rideau Hall this evening. The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, minister of Science and Sport, will join the Governor General for the event.

Professor Lipsig-Mummé said, “The SSHRC Impact Award that I’ve won today encapsulates the ways in which SSHRC opens doors for research and makes it possible for young researchers to broaden and deepen their work and their goals. This way of working—use the unsolved questions arising in a finishing project to define and shape the next project—was made possible by SSHRC and has shaped my work through my long career.”

In a statement, Ted Hewitt, President of SSHRC, said, “The five Impact Award recipients are innovators who have demonstrated a strong commitment to making their research known and accessible by embracing multisector, multidisciplinary, and multi-institutional collaboration. Their work contributes to making Canada a leader in social sciences and humanities research and research training.”

Professor Lipsig-Mummé is an expert in work and labour studies and leads the Work and Climate Change (WCC) international, community-university network partnership, which has grown from five partners and eight researchers to 52 partners over the past two decades. The WCC addresses the intersection of climate change and the working world. The WCC plans on promoting “just transition,” a term that refers to the global goal of balancing the transition to low-carbon economies while protecting and bettering jobs and work for all workers, as well as providing for those workers who lose their jobs in the process.

See also:

 

Learn more at www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca

 

 

Carla Lipsig-Mummé named finalist for prestigious Impact Award by SSHRC

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The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) has named York University’s Professor Carla Lipsig-Mummé as a finalist for its prestigious 2018 Impact Award in the Partnership Category. Carla Lipsig-Mummé is a Professor of Work and Labour Studies at York University, and the Principal Investigator of the seven-year SSHRC grant titled “Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective.”

Announcing the finalists, SSHRC said the annual Impact Awards recognize the highest achievements from outstanding researchers and students in social sciences and humanities research, research training, knowledge mobilization and scholarship funded partially or completely by SSHRC.

Selected by a jury composed of renowned experts from academia and the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, the Impact Awards finalists embody the very best ideas and research about people, human thought and behaviour, and culture—helping us understand and improve the world around us, today and into the future, according to SSHRC.

The Partnership Award recognizes a SSHRC-funded formal partnership for its outstanding achievement in advancing research, research training or knowledge mobilization, or developing a new partnership approach to research and/or related activities. It is awarded to a partnership that, through mutual co-operation and shared intellectual leadership and resources, has demonstrated impact and influence within and/or beyond the social sciences and humanities research community.

In addition to Carla Lipsig-Mummé of York University, the other nominees are Jonathan Crush of Wilfrid Laurier University, and Jack Quarter of the University of Toronto. The winners in each category—Talent, Insight, Connection and Partnership, as well as the Gold Medal recipient, will receive their awards at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Wednesday, October 3, 2018.

 

 

Carla Lipsig-Mummé to discuss “Work in a Warming World” at Ottawa event

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Work in a Warming World

Carla Lipsig-Mummé, Professor, Work and Labour Studies, York University
October 3, 2018

The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences has partnered with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to offer you this special Big Thinking event in celebration of their 40th anniversary.

With Centre Block undergoing renovations, this event will take place at the John A. Macdonald Building on Wellington Street, Room 200, right across from Parliament Hill. Registration coming soon.

 

Learn more at www.ideas-idees.ca

 

Environmental Racism-ACW Workshop Companion Guide and Facilitator’s Notes

Environmental Racism & Work in a Warming World:
Workshop Companion Guide and Facilitator’s Notes

Green is not White
Art by Favianna Rodriguez

Research Partnership: ACW & CBTU

The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU) was invited to become a partner organization with Adapting Canadian and Workplaces (ACW) given the organizations unique mandate to provide a voice for workers of African-descent along with CBTU’s engagement within the environmental justice movement. The research uses an approach (participatory action research) to research in communities that emphasizes participation and action. It seeks to understand the world by trying to change it, collaboratively and following reflection.

The workshop was based on this research partnership.

 

As the pressure of global warming upends jobs, education, health and our communities, the impact of environmental racism exposes the destructive suppression of Racialized and Indigenous dreams and aspirations for economy equality. At the same time, Climate Change can serve as a social catalyst through the creation of new economic opportunities for Canada’s Racialized and Indigenous communities but if we are not active the transition to a green economy will not be just and we will again be on the margins.

The workshop explores the following research framework themes:

1. The impact of environmental racism exposes the destructive suppression of Racialized and Indigenous dreams and aspirations for economy equality.
2. At the same time, Climate Change can serve as a social catalyst through the creation of new economic opportunities for Canada’s Racialized and Indigenous communities. It presents us with an opportunity to change.
3. If Canada’s Racialized and Indigenous communities are not engaged in the struggle, the transition to a green economy will not be just. There can be no change without a struggle.

This workshop companion guide:

• Contains all participant materials
• Provides information about workshop origins and research framework
• Provides more in-depth information and resources of issues and concepts addressed in the workshop
• Lists relevant research
• Lists community, environmental, and labour organizations
• Lists ways for participants to take action

 

Download Companion Guide (PDF)

 

Environmental Racism and Work in a Warming World Workshop

FACILITATOR NOTES
By The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists & Adapting Canadian Work & Workplaces

 

Download Facilitator's Notes (PDF)

 

Workshop asks “What kind of Green and Just Transition?”

ProBE CENTRE FOR THE STUDY OF THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT, WBS – WESTMINSTER BUSINESS SCHOOL, UNIVERSITY OF WESTMINSTER, in collaboration with fABE – FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE AND THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT, proudly announce this timely workshop:

WHAT KIND OF GREEN AND JUST TRANSITION?

WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT

DATE: Thursday 12 July 2018, 12 noon-18.00pm

VENUE: Room CG28, University of Westminster Marylebone Campus, 35 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5LS (opposite Madame Tussaud and diagonal from Baker Street tube station)

There is much discussion as well as divergent approaches to the question of a just transition to a low carbon economy, revolving around what is achievable by the market or by ecological modernisation and whether instead a much more radical transformation is necessary. This workshop addresses this debate and is concerned in particular with the active role of workers and the trade unions in this transition, including examples from the built environment of successful intervention.

Many researchers who are part of the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective (ACW) research project will be participating in the workshop.

Speakers include:

  • Dr Peter Bonfield (tbc), Vice-Chancellor University of Westminster
  • Linda Clarke, ProBE/University of Westminster, ACW Associate Director
  • Béla Galgóczi, European Trade Union Institute, ACW Co-Investigator
  • Colin Gleeson, ProBE/University of Westminster, ACW Co-Investigator
  • Professor Malcolm Kirkup (tbc), Dean, Westminster Business School
  • Mercedes Landolfi (Fillea CGIL, Italy)
  • Carla Lipsig-Mummé, York University, ACW Principal Investigator
  • Sam Mason, Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union
  • Philip Pearson (GJA)
  • Vivian Price (US)
  • Melahat Sahin-Dikmen, ProBE/University of Westminster
  • Lisa Schulte, Middlesex University
  • Dimitris Stevis, Colorado State University, ACW Co-Investigator
  • Fred Steward, University of Westminster, ACW Co-Investigator

and others.

A complete agenda, speakers, and biographies are available here.

To reserve a place and for further information, contact, Melahat Sahin-Dikmen at M.Sahindikmen@westminster.ac.uk or Linda Clarke at clarkel@westminster.ac.uk

ILO Draws on ACW Research to Promote Worker Engagement in Addressing Climate Change

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International Labour Organization’s World Employment and Social Outlook Report 2018 draws on York Partnership Programme ACW to promote worker engagement in addressing climate change

 

World Employment and Social Outlook 2018: Greening with jobs
World Employment and Social Outlook 2018: Greening with jobs

In its flagship report, World Employment and Social Outlook 2018: Greening with Jobs, released in Geneva this month, the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) says that action to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius will result in sufficient job creation to more than offset job losses of 6 million elsewhere. In fact, twenty-four million new jobs will be created globally by 2030 if the right policies to promote a greener economy are put in place.

The ILO’s report devotes a key section to the importance of workers organizations, such as unions, in reducing the harmful impact of climate change, stating that “… the participation of workers’ and employers’ organizations must be integrated in mitigation and adaptation policies.”

The UN agency notes that environmental clauses negotiated into collective agreements can have a positive impact, and draws upon data contained in the unique Green Collective Agreements Database compiled by York University’s Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective (ACW) research project.

“Through collective agreements, employers and trade unions have worked together to identify areas, including GHG emissions, where a reduction in environmental impact could be achieved without losses in jobs, pay and working conditions,” it states. The ILO report includes a detailed table of 19 green clauses from collective agreements, grouped into five categories including green procurement, green travel, cutting waste and saving resources, the right to refuse work, and whistle-blower protection.

“I am delighted that our research on worker agency in reducing climate change is being taken up by such a prestigious and influential body as the United Nations International Labour Organization,” said Principal Investigator Dr. Carla Lipsig-Mummé of York University’s Department of Social Science, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.

York University’s ACW research project is winning increased recognition by international and Canadian institutions. The ILO report is the second time a UN agency has used research produced by the ACW, following the citation of ACW’s work by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) secretariat in 2016.

As well, Dr. Lipsig-Mummé was named finalist for prestigious Impact Award by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) in 2017, and she was the 2018 winner of the Sefton-Williams Award for Contributions to Labour Relations by the University of Toronto’s Woodsworth College and the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources.

The only tripartite U.N. agency, since 1919 the International Labour Organization (ILO) brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 member States, to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men.

The Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective (ACW) research project is a SSHRC-funded partnership grant which brings together 56 individual researchers and 25 partner organizations from seven countries, and is based at York University.

World Employment and Social Outlook 2018: Greening with Jobs, published by the ILO, is available from the ILO website at: http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_628644/lang–en/index.htm

 

Download the full report (PDF)

 

Our Times Cover Story: A Green Economy for All

The cover story of latest issue of Our Times, Canada’s independent labour magazine, features the Environmental Racism project of Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces (ACW). Journalist Hanseena Manek takes us inside the workings of this exciting initiative which is a partnership between ACW and the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists. Photos for the article were provided by Rose Ha of Photography for Social Good.

“We want to ensure that the new green economy is inclusive of racialized people,” says Christopher Wilson, a member of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU), and Ontario regional coordinator for the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). “Climate change is at the forefront of a number of policy discussions, and we want to be part of that process. If we’re not, the transition to a new green economy is not going to be just, and we’re going be left on the margins.”

Wilson, along with PSAC Ontario union negotiator Jawara Gairey, is leading a ground-breaking research project called Environmental Racism: The Impact of Climate Change on Racialized Canadian Communities: An Environmental Justice Perspective. The initiative was launched in 2017 by York University’s ACW project, in collaboration with CBTU. Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change (ACW) itself grew out of the university’s Work in a Warming World research program, founded and headed by professor Carla Lipsig-Mummé.

 

Read more on OurTimes.ca

 

(Re)claiming Just Transition

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Who controls the meaning of the phrase “Just Transition”?

Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces (ACW) Collaborating Researcher, Professor Dimitris Stevis of Colorado State University, says that we have recently entered a period of deep contestation over the ownership and meaning of Just Transition.

As any concept, whether democracy or sustainability, becomes more prominent it becomes increasingly contested. This is no mere disagreement over definitions. Rather it reflects competition over investing terms with particular meanings.

That is now the case with Just Transition, a concept that has been around for several decades but has only recently become globalized. It is important that we demand that green transitions serve the common good because they are not inherently socially just and, in fact, are frequently less just than other transitions, such as gender or racial emancipation. Nor are they necessarily ecologically just. Decarbonized industrial policy can be as ecologically unjust as the current, carbon-based, industrial policy by externalizing harms across space, time and ecosystems.

It is, therefore, important to think about it systematically so that we can, at the very least, differentiate initiatives that co-opt and dilute its promise from initiatives that contribute to a global politics of social and ecological emancipation.

 

Read more on Medium.com

Fate of 3,500 coal-power workers, and more, at stake with new ‘just transition’ task force

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The task force will lay out a path to help Canada transition to the new, job-rich low carbon economy.

 

It has been a long time coming. The Trudeau government is poised to launch Canada’s first federal task force on a “just transition” for workers affected by policies intended to mitigate climate change. In this case, it’s the government’s plan to virtually eliminate traditional coal-fired electricity generation by 2030, which may put up to 3,500 coal miners and power workers out of work in several provinces.

The task force announcement comes more than a year after the government declared its intention to phase out coal in November 2016. Since then, coal-dependent communities have been left wondering if they had been forgotten by the federal government, and labour leaders have been calling for action by Ottawa.

Establishing the Just Transition Task Force for Canadian Coal-Power Workers and Communities is more than good policy— it’s good politics.

Policy-wise, the terms of reference released by Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna on Feb. 16 task the nine-member panel and two cochairs with providing knowledge, options, and recommendations to the minister on implementing a just transition for workers and communities directly affected by the accelerated phase-out of coalfired electricity in Canada. The federal budget included $35-million to support those efforts.

Politically, by acknowledging and acting on the need for a just transition for coal miners and power workers, the government is helping to ensure that it continues to generate the social licence required to combat climate change, and to move the country down the challenging path to a low-carbon economy.

Public opinion currently supports climate change-fighting efforts, but if working people are left with greater economic insecurity than before, a backlash could be generated—the same kind of backlash that generated millions of votes south of the border for Donald Trump and his anti-Paris Agreement stance. Nobody wants that.

In affirming this proactive approach, Ms. McKenna acknowledged in a statement that: “We know the environment and the economy go hand in hand, so we’re committed to making that transition a fair one for coal workers and communities.”

Members of the panel will have diverse backgrounds, including workforce development and sustainable development experts, a past executive from a major electricity company or utility, and a municipal representative appointed in consultation with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. The five remaining members will be drawn from labour, including the Canadian Labour Congress, a provincial federation of labour, and three from unions representing affected workers.

It makes sense that there be strong representation from labour.

Unions support the kind of action that links reducing the greenhouse gases that cause climate change, with the growth of jobs that “green” work itself. Active workplace environment committees promote and practise conservation. Unions provide green education programs for their members, and have been on the front lines with allies in the environmental movement demanding positive change. Recently, Canadian and European Union unions have begun exchanging “climate bargaining” clauses when negotiating with employers.

Unions have also been working closely with Canada’s universities to research the best approaches to climate action in the workplace. The Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change (ACW) project based at York University brings together 56 individual researchers and 25 partner organizations and unions in seven countries, and its ground-breaking research on the idea of “just transition” has been recognized by the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The world of work is both a major cause of climate change and a potentially powerful actor in slowing global warming. Unions and professional associations are very well placed for adapting work itself in order to mitigate greenhouse gas production.

Despite generating only 11 per cent of Canada’s electricity supply, coal-fired electricity is responsible for 72 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector, which is Canada’s third highest greenhouse gas-creating sector after oil and gas, and transportation.

This makes ending coal a good place to start. Achieving a just transition to a low-carbon economy on that scale calls for strategic creativity in repurposing coal communities so that new enterprises are enticed to set up shop in a former coal region, creating a need for new and retrained expertise.

Federal and provincial governments will need to contribute to every phase of these green transitions. It will take some years, but there are already models in Australia, Germany, and elsewhere, for transitioning not only fossilfuel workers but also formerly fossil-fuel communities.

That’s why this important first step will teach us a lot about how we can help workers and communities join the emerging renewable energy boon. The task force will hear from stakeholders from local communities, labour, industry, clean tech, finance, academics, and non-governmental organizations, and will make site visits to a representative number of facilities and communities that will be affected by the coal phase-out.

When the task force makes its recommendation in the fall, let’s be ready to ensure that there is the political support to turn these ideas into action.

Carla Lipsig-Mummé is a professor of work and labour studies at York University, and winner of the 2018 Sefton-Williams Award for Contributions to Labour Relations.
The Hill Times

 

Read on Hilltimes.com (subscription)

 

Dr. Carla Lipsig-Mummé wins 2018 Sefton-Williams Award for Contributions to Labour Relations

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York University Professor Carla Lipsig-Mummé has been named the 2018 winner of the Sefton-Williams Award for Contributions to Labour Relations. It honours those who have made a significant contribution to the field of labour relations and human rights.

The Sefton-Williams award is presented by the University of Toronto’s Woodsworth College and the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources. Both practitioners in labour relations as well as academics have received this award.

“Professor Lipsig-Mummé’s research and activism in the labour relations field, most recently and innovatively exploring the link between climate change and the world of work, has bridged the gap between practitioner and scholar,” said Professor Rafael Gomez, Director of the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources. “The Sefton-Williams committee chose to honour these achievements.”

Award announcement

Dr. Lipsig-Mummé joins the ranks of eminent Canadians who have been honoured with the Sefton-Williams award, including former President of the Canadian Auto Workers and the Canadian Labour Congress Bob White, feminist labour activist and Professor Emeritus of Women’s Studies at York University Linda Briskin, and former Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada Ed Broadbent.

Carla Lipsig-Mummé is Professor of Work and Labour Studies at York University, and is currently Principal Investigator of the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change (ACW) research project, which brings together 56 individual researchers and 25 partner organizations in seven countries. Its ground-breaking work has been recognized by the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The Sefton-Williams Award for Contributions to Labour Relations is named in honour of Mr. Larry Sefton and Mr. Lynn Williams, two accomplished leaders of the United Steelworkers of America. The award ceremony and memorial lecture will be held on Thursday, March 29, 2018 from 4:00 PM until 6:00 PM in the Kruger Hall Commons, Woodsworth College, 119 St. George St., Toronto. Juliet Schor, Professor of Sociology at Boston College, will deliver the memorial lecture entitled, “Dependence and Precarity in the ‘Sharing’ Economy.”

For more information or to register to attend the ceremony, visit the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources’ website at http://www.cirhr.utoronto.ca/about-cirhr/sefton-memorial-lecture/

200,000 High-Carbon Workers Face a “Terminal Decline” Without Federal Support

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People living and working in Canada’s high-carbon oil, gas and coal towns are worried about the impact of moving to a zero-carbon economy will have on their livelihoods – and for good reason.

According to a column published in the Hill Times by researcher Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood, hundreds of thousands of Canadians face a “terminal decline” as Canadian governments ramp up their climate policy ambitions.

“At the extreme, nearly the entire economy of Fort McMurray, Alta., is directly tied to the oil industry, including one in every three jobs,” writes Mertins-Kirkwood. “Canada’s social safety system isn’t robust enough to support a ‘just and fair transition’ to the clean economy for all workers, leaving fossil fuel-dependent communities at risk.”

In his new report titled “Making decarbonization work for workers: Policies for a just transition to a zero-carbon economy in Canada,” co-published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces project (ACW), Mertins-Kirkwood shows potentially affected fossil fuel workers are not limited to Alberta. From Fort St. John B.C., to Bay Roberts, N.L., there are communities across the country with deep dependence on the fossil fuel industry, “And they are vulnerable,” he warns.

Communities concerned about the need for a just transition for affected high-carbon workers will be watching the federal budget closely when it is released on February 27. In his column, Mertins-Kirkwood says, “It’s time our government put forward a plan to fulfill its promise of a ‘just and fair transition’ to the clean economy.”

 

Read more on HillTimes.com

 

University Teachers’ Union Promotes Climate Action on Campus

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Climate Change on Campus cover

 

“Academic staff have a special responsibility and a unique opportunity to combat climate change,” declares a new leaflet directed toward University professors produced by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), a partner institution of the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change (ACW) project.

The leaflet, entitled “Confronting Climate Change on Campus,” was created in response to growing awareness and concern about climate change among CAUT members, and a desire to collaborate on the issue, said Pam Foster, Director of Research and Political Action for the association.

It presents a three-step plan of practical action to be followed by academic staff associations and researchers across Canada:

  1. Reduce the carbon footprint of campuses by improving building energy conservation and promoting low-carbon transportation.
  2. Take academic action such as expanding the offering of courses dedicated to climate change and encouraging climate change research through grants and awards.
  3. Advocate for the creation of association or institutional environment committees, or work with established committees, such as collective bargaining or workplace joint health and safety, to push climate change concerns.

“Our institutions are a significant source of carbon emissions,” added Foster. “The good news is that our members have the expertise to develop and disseminate climate change solutions. Our campuses are the prime proponents of critical inquiry and evidence-based decision-making, so we are uniquely placed to lead the political transformation to a sustainable future.”

 

Read more on www.caut.ca

 

 

Report Reveals Regions with Highest Share of Fossil Fuel Workers by Province; “Just Transition” Plan Needed

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By Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)
January 25, 2018

 

 

 

Communities across Canada need a national strategy to ensure the move to a zero-carbon economy leaves no one behind, according to a new report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) and Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change (ACW). For the first time, the report uses census data to identify the regions in each province with the greatest reliance on fossil fuel jobs.

The new analysis comes after the federal government announced last fall it will launch a task force in 2018 on a “just transition” policy framework for certain sectors. In general, the broad goal of a just transition is to ensure an equitable, productive outcome for all workers in the decarbonized future.

“The transition to a clean economy will create significant opportunities for Canada, but the process may also present hardship for certain workers and their communities,” says study author and CCPA researcher Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood. “The fact is, Canada’s social safety net is not yet robust enough to support a just transition for those impacted. That needs to change.”

Among the study’s findings:

    • Fossil fuel dependence is overwhelmingly concentrated in Alberta, with a few hot spots in Saskatchewan and British Columbia;
    • However, there are communities from coast to coast where the share of fossil fuel jobs is relatively high. Bay Roberts, N.L.; Cape Breton, N.S.; Saint John, N.B.; Sarnia, Ont.; Estevan, Sask; Wood Buffalo, Alta.; and Fort St. John, B.C., have the greatest share of fossil fuel workers in their respective provinces;
    • In addition to a national just transition strategy and targeted policy measures for fossil fuel-dependent communities, Canada’s social security programs should be enhanced to better support workers in any industry facing job loss and retraining costs;
    • Governments must also invest in workforce development programs to ensure there are enough skilled workers to fill new jobs created by the zero-carbon economy.

“The threat of job losses is not just a problem in the oil patch. This research makes it clear there are communities across the country that rely on fossil fuel jobs for their prosperity,” adds Mertins-Kirkwood. “There’s no doubt we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but in doing so governments must prioritize the stability of communities in vulnerable regions and the well-being of workers across the country.”

“Making Decarbonization Work for Workers: Policies for a just transition to a zero-carbon economy” is a co-publication by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change research program, based at York University and funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

 

Read the report on PolicyAlternatives.ca

 

 

 

 

 

ACW Welcomes Five New Collaborating Researchers

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Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective (ACW) wishes to welcome five new collaborating researchers to the project.

 

 

Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective (ACW) is a Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Partnership Program-funded project, based at York University, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. The project investigates how Canada’s diverse workplaces can best adapt work to mitigate greenhouse gases, and the changes needed in law and policy, work design, and business models for industry and services, to assist the “greening” of workplaces and work.

Low Energy Construction at City Building (Glasgow)

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The European Housing Crisis is the subject of the latest issue of CLR News. Featured in the journal is an article on City Building (Glasgow) by the ProBE (Centre for the Study of the Production of the Built Environment) research team, based at the ACW partner institution, the University of Westminster.

City Building offers an example of how to address the housing crisis. With this publicly accountable model, 2,200 construction workers are employed directly under good trade union conditions, an inclusive manufacturing arm is integrated, a substantial programme of vocational education and training is offered for young people, and good quality and energy efficient social housing is provided for working people in Glasgow and surrounding areas.

 

Low energy construction 

Glasgow House
Glasgow House

City Building has developed the Glasgow House (see photo), the first of the kind in Scotland. These innovative low energy houses have high levels of insulation and airtightness, efficient heating systems and solar thermal panels and demonstration a two-thirds reduction in energy costs compared with a typical there-bedroom house. The key features of these highly-insulated timber frame houses, with pre-manufactured floor and roof cassettes manufactured by RSBi, are: high levels of insulation; windows and sun rooms to suit orientation capturing sun energy; simple forms of construction using locally-sourced and assembled materials; efficient heating systems using solar thermal panels; educating residents to benefit from special features in their houses.

The City Building workforce is currently involved in various energy efficiency schemes including solar thermal, photovoltaic, combined heat & power, ground source heat pump & voltage & boiler optimization technologies. A 2017 example is off-grid district heating installation, utilizing a Large Scale Air Source Heat Pump as the primary heat source to 350 properties at Hillpark Drive in South Glasgow. City Building also utilizes its own Building Management Systems Team to develop, implement and monitor control systems within Glasgow City Council and The Wheatley Housing Group to ensure buildings are performing as efficiently as possible, in many instances reducing utility bills by as much as 30%.

 

Trade union involvement

In City Building, the unionisation rate is reported to be nearly 100 per cent, across three unions: UNITE (services, plus former UCATT joiners), UNISON (office staff) and Community (remaining RSBi staff). The Joint Trade Union Council, which includes representatives from each trade union, actively engages with the management of City Building.

 

“City Building (Glasgow): An inspiring Model for Social Housing Production,” was written by Linda Clarke, Colin Gleeson and Melahat Sahin-Dikmen of the University of Westminster. It is published in the CLR News 3/2017 (European Institute for Construction Labour Research).

 

Read CLR News No 3/2017

 

Solar Panels Will Move Forward in 2018, Predicts ACW expert

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ACW Co-investigator Warren Mabee of Queen’s University expects more advances in solar panel development in 2018.

“This is a sector that’s growing faster than any of the other energy sectors out there,” he told the CBC. “It’s going to continue moving forward.”

Record cheap electricity is transforming world energy markets as Canada struggles to keep up, reports the CBC. But Mabee is also looking for 2018 to provide key advances in solar panel development as the industry inches closer to grid parity — the point at which it might be cheaper for people to generate electrons on their roof than to buy electrons from a utility.

“It might not happen next year, but we’re moving closer and closer,” he said. “That’s going to be a hugely disruptive moment in the Canadian power industry.”

Warren Mabee is Canada research chair in renewable energy development and implementation at Queen`s University in Kingston, Ont.

 

Read the article on CBC.ca

 

 

CBTU Leads Environmental Racism Workshop for Teachers

 

Jawara Gairey
Jawara Gairey of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists facilitated the workshop on environmental racism for Elementary Teachers of Toronto

Elementary Teachers of Toronto (ETT) invited Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU) to come speak to their Environment Committee around the issue of Environmental Racism and Work on the morning of Federation Day (December 1st, 2017). The workshop was slotted to be from 9:00am to 10:30am followed by a 10:30am to 12:00pm presentation by LeRoi Newbold of #BLMTO on addressing systematic anti-black racism in our schools and communities. It was held at SH Armstrong Community Centre at 56 Woodfield Rd. (Queen E. and Greenwood).

Jawara Gairey facilitated the workshop, which ran for about 1.5 hours. The workshop focused on how climate change exposes structural racial inequality and the opportunity that this exposure provides racialized communities to strategize towards a just transition. Jawara presented a PowerPoint to a group of around 40 ETT activists. The workshop also included interactive participant activities to add their knowledge to the discussion. The feedback received from ETT activists included how to implement strategies within their respective schools and communities to engage students and adults on the topic. ETT activists also submitted a variety of ideas from creating intentional action such as teaching children to create food gardens at school and promote local consumption practices, free cycling hubs for children to commute to school, and developing strategies around the skills required for racialized students to be prepared for the Green Economy from the K-8 grades.

ETT Executive Member Joy Lachica spoke with members about sharing these ideas with the executive in order to get some traction within ETFO and have deliberations with the Government on the need to promote these initiatives for structural change in the education curriculum. Joy Lachica captured members’ experiences:

“It was such an amazing workshop; activists and curious members were there because they chose to be over many other offerings. Thus, the group conversations were rich and insightful. I felt that the passionate hearts for these issues who ventured to the east end, found resources, support and new vision for this work at their sites.”

The next steps following the workshop included the contribution to research from the participant’s feedback, sharing of the research initiative on social media, connecting with ETT for initiatives linking to our research.

Climate Change and the Workplace often Overlooked by Experts

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If 80% of carbon dioxide emissions come from industrial production, as the International Labour Organization has suggested, then why isn’t more effort devoted to mitigating climate change in the workplace?

That’s the question ACW co-investigator Caleb Goods, based at the University of Western Australia, is asking in a new research note published by the Journal of Industrial Relations. “A central, yet, overlooked, aspect of contemporary employment relations is the growing impact climate change is having on workplace relations,” writes Goods.

With the world of work being responsible for so much in greenhouse gas emissions, he adds, “the workplace evidently needs to be a site of deep environmental change, a transformation that will shape and be shaped by core employment relations (ER) issues.”

Workers and the economy are being impacted by rising temperatures. For example, a 2015 heat wave in India resulted in taxi unions in Kolkata urging drivers to avoid working during the hottest periods of the day. Such rationalization of working hours will become more common in the future.

Even efforts to mitigate climate change will impact workers. As we transition to a low-carbon economy, people will discover that “green jobs,” as Goods points out, are often poorly paid, lesser skilled, non-union, and are in male-dominated areas of the economy such as energy and construction. These jobs will be replacing better-paid, and more secure high-carbon jobs, such as the 60,000 jobs in the Australian coal industry that were lost in 2015-2016.

The good news is that efforts toward “climate bargaining” can provide possible models for meaningfully advancing climate change actions in the workplace. Goods notes out that enterprises tend to have better climate outcomes when workers are involved. “More extensive and deeper participation, direct and representative, in workplace climate planning and action accompanies greater organizational climate change commitments,” he writes.

 

Read more in the Journal of Industrial Relations

 

What Killed the Energy East Pipeline?

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In the fall, TransCanada Corporation announced that it was pulling the plug on its Energy East Pipeline and Eastern Mainline Projects, to the dismay of their supporters and the delight of their detractors. As ACW Co-investigator Warren Mabee of Queen’s University argues, the reasons for Energy East’s demise are more complicated than they might appear.


Map of pipeline

 

In his media release on October 5, TransCanada President and Chief Executive Officer Russ Girling declared that, “After careful review of changed circumstances, we will be informing the National Energy Board that we will no longer be proceeding with our Energy East and Eastern Mainline applications.”

Girlings’s remarks pointed the finger at the federal regulatory system for the cancellation of the projects. Others piled on.

Conservative Party Leader Andrew Sheer took to Twitter to blame Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, saying: “He’s added new hurdles to Canadian energy producers that don’t apply to foreign companies selling into Canada.” Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall blamed the Liberals for Energy East’s demise because they “moved the goalposts at the last moment by asking the regulator to consider the impact of upstream greenhouse gas emissions.”

On the other side, a coalition of environmentalists, municipalities and indigenous groups that opposed the projects were celebrating a victory. “Both the Northern Gateway fight and this Energy East one show that when First Nations stand together, supported by non-Indigenous allies, we win,” Grand Chief Serge Simon of the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake told the CBC.

But Queen’s University’s Warren Mabee poses the question in a recent article on TheConversation.com, “Did regulation kill Energy East?”

“In many ways, this mega-project would have been the most ambitious infrastructure build ever undertaken in Canada, surpassing the political difficulties associated with the construction of the national railways at the end of 19th century,” writes Mabee.

At more than 4,500 kilometres, the project would have been the longest pipeline in the country, requiring the co-operation among the federal government, six provinces, 75 municipalities and more than 50 First Nations as it spanned the continent from Alberta to New Brunswick.

So, did regulation kill Energy East? “Many other factors also hurt its chances of getting the green light,” concludes Mabee, adding a new perspective to what is sure to be an ongoing debate over the future of pipelines in Canada.

Read more on TheConversation.com

 

ACW Collaborating Researcher Lee Loftus Named to BC Climate Advisory Council

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The province of British Columbia has created a new advisory council to provide strategic advice to the government on climate action paired with economic growth, and has appointed Lee Loftus, ACW Collaborating Researcher and project Steering Committee member, to the council.

Environment Minister George Heyman said the council will be charged with developing a new climate strategy for the province while balancing BC’s economic needs. He further announced that he will introduce legislation next spring that mandates the government to cut emissions by 40 per cent over the next 13 years.

“The reason we’ve put together this advisory council today is to help us work through the issues of how we balance reductions across industry, across buildings and homes, and across transportation in order to meet those targets,” he told Global News.

Loftus is a supporter of reducing GHG emissions through improved construction practices. As Business Agent of the BC Insulators union, he has long advocated for improved training and construction methods to help combat climate change.

A recent report published by ACW, called “Promoting Climate Literacy in British Columbia’s Apprenticeship System: Evaluating One’s Union Efforts to Overcome Attitudinal Barriers to Low Carbon Construction,” documented Loftus’ efforts.

“I’m trying to instill that pride back into people; this really is a skill set, this is really something you can be proud of. Because what you’re doing doesn’t just give you a pay check, it actually provides an advantage to the community and an advantage to the environment,” Loftus told researchers Corinne Tallon and John Calvert.

Industry representatives on the council include Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers past president and CEO Dave Collyer. The co-chairs of the council are Clean Energy Canada executive director Merran Smith and Teck Resources Limited sustainability and external affairs senior vice-president Marcia Smith.

The council will hold its initial meeting soon, followed by quarterly meetings where advice and feedback on climate policy will be forwarded to the environment and climate change strategy minister and the climate action secretariat on a regular basis, according to a government statement.

Book Launch: Climate Change and Gender in Rich Countries

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Friday, November 10th 2017
5:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M.

Noah Meltz Reading Room
CIRHR Library
University of Toronto
121 St. George St., Toronto, ON M5S 2E8

ATTENDANCE IS FREE

RSVP to acwinfo@yorku.ca

 

Climate change is at the forefront of ideas about public policy, the economy and labour issues. However, the gendered dimensions of climate change and the public policy issues associated with it in wealthy nations
are much less understood.

Climate Change and Gender in Rich Countries covers a wide range of issues dealing with work and working life. The book demonstrates the gendered distinctions in both experiences of climate change and the ways that public policy deals with it. The book draws on case studies from the UK, Sweden, Australia, Canada, Spain and the US to address key issues such as: how gendered distinctions affect the most vulnerable; paid and unpaid work; and activism on climate change. It is argued that including gender as part of the analysis will lead to more equitable and stronger societies as solutions to climate change advance.

This volume will be of great relevance to students, scholars, trade unionists and international organisations with an interest in climate change, gender, public policy and environmental studies.

Introduction
CARLA LIPSIG-MUMMÉ, Project Lead, Work in a Warming World (W3) and Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces (ACW) research programmes.

Speakers
MARJORIE GRIFFIN COHEN, Simon Fraser University
Editor

ELLIE PERKINS, York University
Canadian Indigenous Female Leadership and Political Agency on Climate Change

KENDRA COULTER, Brock University
Towards Humane Jobs: Recognizing Gendered, Multispecies Intersections and Possibilities

LINDA CLARKE, University of Westminster
Women and Low Energy Construction in Europe: A New Opportunity?

BIPASHA BARUAH, Western University
Renewable Inequity? Women’s Employment in Clean Energy in Industrialized, Emerging and Developing Economies

ACW Co-Investigator Marjorie Griffin Cohen named Chair of BC Fair Wages Commission

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SFU professor emeritus and ACW project co-investigator Marjorie Griffin Cohen has been tasked by the BC Government to move the province to a $15-an-hour minimum wage.

Cohen, an economist, will chair the three-person Fair Wages Commission, Labour Minister Harry Bains announced on October 5. The other panelists are Ivan Limpright, the current president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union 1518; and Ken Peacock, the vice-president and chief economist of the Business Council of B.C.

The panel has 90 days to produce a report on how the province should transition to a $15-an-hour minimum wage. Marjorie Griffin Cohen told reporters that that panelists will determine how the commission will gather input from workers, businesses, and the public during a consultation process, which could involve travelling the province.

The NDP campaigned on a $15 minimum by 2021 during the recent election.

Marjorie Griffin Cohen is involved closely in the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change (ACW) project, based at York University. Her edited book, Climate Change and Gender in Rich Countries Work, was published recently by Routledge.

 

Read more at news.gov.bc.ca

 

Environmental Racism: Adding African Canadians’ Voices to the Climate Change Debate

posted in: Environmental Racism, Posts | 0

By Mark Brown

A ground-breaking undertaking between The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Canadian Chapter (CBTU) and an organization known as Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces (ACW) threatens to blow a hole through the climate change debate that rivals the current hole in the ozone layer.

With the inception of a ground breaking research initiative called “The Impact of Climate Change on Racialized Canadian Communities: An Environmental Justice Perspective” the two organizations have lunched a research initiative on Environmental Racism. The goal of the research project is to assess the effect of climate change on racialized communities within Canada. The Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces (ACW) is a partnership grant of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Photo of Carla Lipsig Mumme
Dr. Carla Lipsig-Mummé
Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces (ACW)

Dr. Carla Lipsig-Mummé is the Principal Researcher for Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces (ACW). When asked how did the CBTU/ACW partnership came about Dr. Mummé stated that the ACW is a 7-year grant funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). With 47 individual researchers and 24 partner organizations the ACW spans 4 countries. Included among the list of organizations were York University, (Lead Organization), the Canadian Labour Congress, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Ontario Federation of Labour and more. Dr. Mummé went on to say that “CBTU was invited to become a partner organization given the organizations unique mandate to provide a voice for workers of African-descent along with CBTU’s engagement within the environmental justice movement.”

Dr. Mummé was then asked what the ACW expects to achieve by this project? “Climate literacy for every stage and age in the Canadian workforce,” she stated. “Community involvement and mobilization in the struggle to slow climate change; making resources and curriculum available for green training and education by unions for labour environmentalists and students; Youth—young workers and young students—taking leadership to reduce greenhouse gases in their schools and their workplaces; a larger role for young people who are passionate about the environment, in shaping union renewal. Linking greening work and youth union activism in union renewal. ACW hopes that Black Trade Unionists, and other racialized communities’ engagement in the fight to slow global warming will point the way to new pathways to green jobs. CBTU is very well placed to recognize pathways to new green jobs that are developing from responding to the threat of climate change, and to take steps so that this and the next generations of Black Trade Unionists are leaders in the shift to a green world of work. CBTU is very well placed to be a model for other communities as well.”

Photo of Chris Wilson
Chris Wilson, 1st Vice President and International Board Member of CBTU Canada

Chris Wilson is the Project Lead, 1st Vice President of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU) in Canada and an International Board Member. When asked why African-Canadian workers should be concerned about climate change? He responded by stating that, “The destructiveness and speed of climate change is a call to action. This project is designed to explore the impact of climate change upon racialized communities within Canada.”

Wilson went on to say that, “A significant amount of research has gone into exploring the impact of Climate change upon indigenous peoples with the Idle No More movement. This project intends to bring this vision of community mobilization around climate change to other racialized communities by drawing Black Trade Unionists and other racialized communities into the fight to slow climate change while linking this fight with the development of pathways to good green jobs for the aforementioned communities.”

Wilson further stated that, “The debate over climate change is already here and the consequences are real; CBTU and ACW want to ensure that the voices of Black Trade Unionists are included in this debate to ensure that as our economy evolves and adapts to climate change and the voices of racialized workers are heard.”

According to the ACW’s website the research project is expected to encompass multiple stages with a focus upon research and mobilization.

The first stage is described as a participatory research model which evolves the use of social media to engage anti-racist activists in the process of collecting written materials that have been composed about environmental racism.

The second stage of the project is comprised of a workshop/focus-group of Black Trade Unionists. The purpose of this stage is to accumulate research data on the participants’ experience surrounding climate change and environmental racism.

The third stage is expected to provide a workshop/community forum for community engagement. The themes of the workshops include:

  • What is to be understood by the words “environmental racism?”
  • How it is affecting communities and their environment?
  • Exploring case studies in Canada.
  • The present and future role of racialized communities in the “Green Economy” and Developing an Environmental Racism Charter

The fourth and final stage of the project will be a joint report and video. Both the video and report are expected to be housed on the ACW and CBTU Canada websites.

Whether one believes in the existence of climate change or believes that climate change is fiction what is evident is that the debate on climate change has been ongoing for some time. What is also apparent is that if the African Canadian voicesof this generation continue to be omitted from the debate the African Canadians faces of the next generation risk being omitted from the solution.

Picture of Mark Brown

 

Mark Brown is the Chair of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council’s Equity Committee, an Executive Board Member of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionist (CBTU), An Executive Board Member of the Labour Education Center and a member of the Toronto Local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

Contact him on Facebook and Twitter @MarkAAABrown

New book! Climate Change and Gender in Rich Countries

posted in: Posts, Publications | 0

 

Climate Change and Gender in Rich Countries
Work, public policy and action

Edited by Marjorie Griffin Cohen

 

Griffen CohenClimate Change, Gender and Work in Rich Countries is unique in that it covers a wide range of issues dealing with work and climate change in wealthy industrialized countries. It shows how the gendered distinctions in both experiences of climate change and the ways that public policy deals with issues has been absent in policy discussions and why their inclusion matters.

 

Climate change is at the forefront of ideas about public policy, the economy and labour issues. However, the gendered dimensions of climate change and the public policy issues associated with it in wealthy nations are much less understood.

Climate Change and Gender in Rich Countries covers a wide range of issues dealing with work and working life. The book demonstrates the gendered distinctions in both experiences of climate change and the ways that public policy deals with it. The book draws on case studies from the UK, Sweden, Australia, Canada, Spain and the US to address key issues such as: how gendered distinctions affect the most vulnerable; paid and unpaid work; and activism on climate change. It is argued that including gender as part of the analysis will lead to more equitable and stronger societies as solutions to climate change advance.

This volume will be of great relevance to students, scholars, trade unionists and international organisations with an interest in climate change, gender, public policy and environmental studies.

Marjorie Griffin Cohen is an economist and a Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University, Canada.

 

Series: Routledge Studies in Climate, Work and Society

 

Learn more at Routledge.com

 

Charley Beresford and Lee Loftus discuss the “Jobs for Tomorrow” report

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A recent report by the Columbia Institute concluded that getting to “net zero” emissions by 2050 could generate nearly 20 million jobs in Canada. (See our post on the report)

According to the authors, Jobs for Tomorrow is the first study to predict potential impacts on the construction industry if Canada implements policy and investments, both public and private, to meet our Paris Agreement goals.

The study found that serious efforts to decarbonize the Canadian economy will create significant opportunities for those in construction trades.

ACW caught up with Columbia Institute’s executive director and research team leader for the report, Charley Beresford, in Vancouver. We also spoke with Lee Loftus, who is Business Manager of BC Insulators Local 118, and Executive Director of The British Columbia and Yukon Territory Building and Construction Trades Council, which is a partner organization with the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change (ACW) project. The report was commissioned by Canada’s Building Trades Unions.

 

ACW: Charley, in what important way does your research further our understanding of the relationship between climate change mitigation and adaptation, and employment?

Charley Beresford
Charley Beresford

CB: This is a significant contribution to climate action dialogue and practice; here at home in Canada and in other countries too. We are already getting broad enquiries. Jobs for Tomorrow looks at job opportunities as we transition to a low carbon economy through a new lens — Building Trades — and its clear that we can’t transition to a low carbon economy without the active participation of people who work in the building trades. We will need huge build outs in clean electricity systems, greening our buildings; both new and old, and in our transportation systems. These are the three pathways to Net Zero that we focussed on in our report, but it should be noted that there are building trades implications in all sectors and the jobs numbers we have described in the report are consequently conservative.

ACW: Were either of you surprised by the findings?

Lee Loftus
Lee Loftus

CB: Yes, we were. When you consider that we will need new infrastructure and that it is the building trades who build things, it’s logical, but the scale of our findings surprised us.

LL: I was not surprised by the findings. The work we do in the construction sector is always leading edge in both technology and design, so as we move to a lower carbon economy I would expect our industry to be the builders delivering the infrastructure that will help us meet Canada’s commitment to 2050 and Net Zero. The numbers are larger than I expected and I am glad they broke out direct and in-direct jobs rather than trying to lump them together.

ACW: The report avoids the use of the term “green jobs.” Why so?

CB: The term “green jobs” has many interpretations. Some think it applies only to those jobs that are directly interfacing with our natural environment. We think it applies to those jobs that contribute to a reduction in green house gas emissions. In the case of Jobs for Tomorrow, we are not talking new types of jobs, we are talking about existing skills applied to new types of projects.

LL: Green Jobs are great jobs, but there is too much confusion in the term. We avoided this job description even though many will claim the green projects are green jobs, but they are just an extension of what we do today. The electrical, Run of the River and Dam construction, district energy, bio mass is work we have been doing since I started in construction back in the 1970’s. So to call them green would be miss leading as nothing has changed.

ACW: Lee, do workers constructing “green buildings” require special training? If so, should infrastructure spending include any training needed for the workforce?

LL: That’s an interesting question. The construction industry is always embracing tech change and the required training. There will be some additional training required, but not that much. What really needs to be reinforced is the need for infrastructure spending to require mandatory apprenticeship training. The Building Trades believe that its workforce should be made up of 25% of workers to be in training at all times.

ACW: Charley, how will reducing emissions from the highest emitting areas of the economy – Canada’s mining, oil and gas industry – impact efforts to create jobs in other sectors? Is there a need for “just transition?”

CB: As Canada transitions to a low carbon economy, investments and jobs will follow. Oil and gas will play a different role in the economy. Investment is already driving change, as evidenced by International fossil fuel companies divesting themselves from oil sands projects. No one is suggesting that there will be an immediate reduction, but there will be a transition.

ACW: Is there a danger that the billions of dollars committed to be spent on infrastructure by governments could be directed toward projects that will not help to reduce Canada’s GHG emissions? e.g. highways instead of transit? If so, what impact would that have?

CB: Our opportunity to take action on climate change through our infrastructure investments is here now. How we choose to build our infrastructure will influence our low carbon economy trajectory. It’s important that infrastructure investment decisions be accompanied by a climate impact analysis.

ACW: The study suggests a small increase in hydroelectic power and a large expansion of wind power. With public resistance to new dam construction in BC, and new wind farms in Ontario, for example, will public opinion have to adjust in order to achieve these job-creation goals?

CB: The reaction to Manitoba’s wind farms was very different than in Ontario. Farmers there welcome the income the wind farms bring. How programs roll out matters. Distributed energy — producing electricity closer to where it is being consumed is one of the pathways forward – for hydro and other sources of clean electricity, and community engagement is essential.

ACW: Lee, what effect do you hope the release of the report and its findings will have on government policy, and public opinion?

LL: We think this report will provoke government to looks for a pathway concerning jobs and climate change. We think this is well thought out and will become a basis for public policy at all three levels of government.

As to the Public Opinion, we are hopeful that the public will better understand the role of the construction industry plays in our economy and how we have been leading change for generations. Any new design, any new technology, any new shift in public policy is always delivered by those who build it and that’s what we do, we build things. We want them to know none of this is new to us and hopefully they will see a future in joining our workforce to take an advantage of good paying and community supporting jobs.

This document is something we have been lacking for our members. We never (or rarely) promote the work we do, we just move to the next job. The report will allow us to explain to our members that the work they do today and the Jobs for tomorrow are the answers to Net Zero by 2050. It will allow them to tell their children at the dinner table, that what they did at work today is helping save the environment. It should change the conversation on the jobsites and in the lunchroom to a positive. It should allow our members to look beyond a specific project and look to the bigger picture.

CB: We are hoping this landmark study points the way forward to accelerated investment in the low-carbon infrastructure we need for a low carbon economy! The jobs numbers are reassuring for those who may be worried about whether there are jobs in a low carbon world. In the meantime, we know we must exponentially intensify our climate commitments to keep the hope of staying within 2 degrees of warming possible. Our study shows that the more intensely we build out the low-carbon infrastructure we need, the more we create good, family supporting jobs. Good for the planet and good for our economy!

ACW: Thank you Charley Beresford and Lee Loftus!

Jobs for Climate and Justice: A Worker Alternative to the Trump Agenda

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Jobs for Climate and Justice:
A Worker Alternative to the Trump Agenda

by Jeremy Brecher

 

A Working Paper from the Labor Network for Sustainability
PO Box #5780
6909 Laurel Ave
Takoma Park, MD 20913

 

We are in a critical political moment. The impacts of climate  change are increasingly severe, taking a toll on our health, environment and our economies. In the midst of this growing crisis, the United States now has a President and Congressional leadership that simultaneously attack climate climate science and aim to comprehensively roll back climate protection measures and the rights of workers to organize.

Jobs for Climate and Justice exposes and challenges the Trump agenda and proposes the kind of economic program we must fight for. It also offers examples of the great organizing efforts around the country – led by working people – that provide the foundation for the a transition to a just and climate-safe economy. It is organized based on 4 elements:

  • Create good jobs fixing the climate
  • Protect threatened workers and communities
  • Remedy inequality and injustice
  • Lay the basis for a New Economy

 

Read more on labor4sustainability.org

A paper from a colleague organization

 

Carla Lipsig-Mummé named finalist for prestigious Impact Award by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)

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The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) has named York University’s Professor Carla Lipsig-Mumme as a finalist for its prestigious 2017 Impact Award in the Partnership Category.

Carla Lipsig-Mummé is a Professor of Work and Labour Studies at York University, and the Principal Investigator of the seven-year SSHRC grant titled “Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective.”

The Impact Awards finalists embody the very best ideas and research about people, human thought and behaviour, and culture—helping people understand and improve the world around us, today and into the future, according to SSHRC.

Professor Lipsig-Mummé was selected by a jury composed of renowned experts from academia, as well as from the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

The Partnership Award recognizes a SSHRC-funded formal partnership for its outstanding achievement in advancing research, research training or knowledge mobilization, or developing a new partnership approach to research and/or related activities. It is awarded to a partnership that, through mutual co-operation and shared intellectual leadership and resources, has demonstrated impact and influence within and/or beyond the social sciences and humanities research community.

The two other Partnership category finalists are Professor Carol Kauppi of Laurentian University, and Professor Jack Quarter of the University of Toronto. The winners in each of the 2017 Impact Award categories of Talent, Insight, Connection and Partnership—as well as the Gold Medal recipient—will receive their awards at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Friday, September 15, 2017.

 

Learn more from www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca

 

Jobs for Tomorrow: Canada’s Building Trades and Net Zero Emissions

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Jobs for Tomorrow: Canada’s Building Trades and Net Zero Emissions
By Tyee Bridge and Richard Gilbert

July 2017

 

Columbia Institute
2600—1055 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, B.C., Canada V6E 3R5

Commissioned by Canada’s Building Trades Unions

 

This paper explores some possible implications for the building trades in the context of global warming and Canada’s commitments to climate action. The construction industry plays a critical role in the national economy by supporting production in all other sectors. Rather than resulting in net job losses, a net zero Canadian economy has the potential to create huge opportunities for those in construction and other industries.

As one of 197 international signatories to the Paris Agreement, Canada has pledged to achieve net zero emissions — a balance between greenhouse gas emissions and their absorption across Canada by natural and man-made means — between 2050 and 2100 in order to keep global warming below 2°C and work toward 1.5°C of warming.

Without policies in place to address global warming, the world is on track to reach average temperatures of over 4°C by the end of this century.2 Canada’s current national commitment is to reduce emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

This paper goes beyond Canada’s current commitments, accelerating the transition to envision an aspirational scenario in which the Canadian economy has achieved net zero by 2050.

 

 

Read more at columbiainstitute.ca

 

A paper from a colleague organization

 

 

The Training of Canadian Architects for the Challenges of Climate Change

by John Mummé, Architect

The paper examines an often-overlooked dimension of the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in the built environment: the training of construction professionals to participate most effectively in the large-scale reduction of GHGs. Architects are one of the key construction professions and this project explores the training of students at Canadian architecture schools – the professionals of the future.

The built environment sector is a crucial element in the struggle to reduce greenhouse gases in the face of climate change. Recent studies show the sector to be responsible for as much as 44% of GHGs and energy use. As a result, the importance of the sector in both the production and the potential reduction of GHGs makes the question of how construction professionals in general, and architects in particular, are trained for climate-literacy both pressing and important. There is, however, surprisingly little research on the education of Canadian construction professionals for climate change.

To begin to fill this gap, this study examines how Canadian architecture schools are training the next generation of architects in regard to climate change. This study looks at the training of architects in the eleven schools of architecture in Canada whose programs have been accredited by the Canadian Architectural Certification Board, and how these programs deal with the issues of climate change in their curricula.

It also looks, for international comparison, at a number of major non-Canadian architecture school
programs recognized as substantially equivalent to those of the Canadian schools.

Website analysis and a number of discussions with program heads, faculty, and students from a number of schools were conducted on the program requirements and course offerings from the various schools, to see whether and what type of courses on climate change are offered, and through which conceptual lens the issue is viewed.

 

Download the Full Report (pdf)

 

 

 

Video: Darker Politics: Democracies, Labour Rights and Climate Change

posted in: Events, Posts | 0

Friday, May 26, 2017
Toronto, Ontario

An Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces Outreach Event

 

Speakers:

Larry Brown, National Union of Public and General Employees, moderator | Starts 4:01

Tony Burman, Ryerson University and Toronto Star, “Democracy Under Threat” | Starts 14:34

Dr. Elaine Bernard, Harvard University, “Trump’s War on Workers and the Environment” | Starts 40:33

Jim Chorostecki, British Columbia Federation of Labour, “The Softwood Lumber Dispute is the Hatfields vs. McCoys Feud Without the Guns, So Far.” | Starts 1:12:30

 

Download the Pamphlet (PDF)

 

Larry Brown

Larry Brown, National Union of Public and General Employees, moderator | Starts 4:01

With degrees in political science and law, Larry, President of Canada’s second largest union, has a wide range of experience in government, pension fund management, public administration, labour relations, teaching and legal issues. He has written and spoken extensively about public finances, debt and deficit issues, the changes in federal provincial financing, public sector restructuring and the resulting changes in the economic and political structures of Canada that have occurred in the last decade. As an elected Officer of the National Union of Public and General Employees for over 25 years, Larry has extensive experience overseeing NUPGE’s policy on environmental issues. Larry is the Interim Leader of ACW’s Environmental Law and Labour Law research group.

 

Tony-Burman-June-8-2015-debate

Tony Burman, Ryerson University and Toronto Star, “Democracy Under Threat” | Starts 14:34

Tony is world affairs columnist with the Toronto Star. He is former head of CBC News in Canada and of Al Jazeera English in Qatar – responsible for their TV, radio and online journalism. For more than 30 years, he was an award-winning news and documentary producer at the CBC, including seven years as its Editor-in-Chief. He was Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism at Ryerson University between 2010-16.

 

Elaine Bernard

Dr. Elaine Bernard, Harvard University, “Trump’s War on Workers and the Environment” | Starts 40:33

Elaine is a Senior Research Associate at the Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School, and previously served as its Executive Director. Elaine works with unions and labour federations around the globe, and has conducted courses on a wide variety of topics for unions, community groups, universities and government departments. Her current research and teaching interests are in the areas of international comparative labor movements and the role of unions in promoting civil society, democracy and sustainable development. Within ACW Elaine plays a pivotal role in developing the Green Workplaces training. As well, she is a member of the Manufacturing, Services and International Policy working groups, and she is a member of the steering committee.

 

Jim Chorostecki

Jim Chorostecki, British Columbia Federation of Labour, “The Softwood Lumber Dispute is the Hatfields vs. McCoys Feud Without the Guns, So Far.” | Starts 1:12:30 

Jim has been the Executive Director at B.C. Federation of Labour since 2010. In this role Jim has been responsible for initiating and overseeing a number of important projects that have been attempting to bring together various stakeholders to work together to solve the climate change crisis. Prior to this, he held positions at the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the Union of Postal Communication Employees and within the Canadian federal government. Jim is a former board member of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in BC and is currently an advisor on the CCPA Good Economy Project. Within the ACW grant Jim is the Co-lead for the Manufacturing working group and a member of the steering committee.

 

 

Darker Politics Panel was organized by Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change, a research programme of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Organisational members of ACW include York University, the Canadian Labour Congress, and 22 organisations in Canada, US, UK, EU. www.adaptingcanadianwork.ca.

 

 

“Ambition Gap” Plagues Canadian Climate Change Efforts, Finds Report

 

(York University, Toronto) Efforts to curb climate change in Canada are being hampered by a serious “ambition gap,” finds a new report by researcher Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood. The study compares federal and provincial government greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets, mitigation policies, emissions, and workforce adjustment policies.

“Tracking progress: Evaluating government plans and actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada” is co-published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) and the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change (ACW) research program, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and based at York University.

In the report, Mertins-Kirkwood identifies three common themes in Canadian climate policy: an ambition gap between promises and policies, widespread dependence on and continued promotion of fossil fuels, and an absence of workforce transition policies.

“Canadian governments take climate change seriously insofar as they generally recognize the risk it presents and are taking steps to mitigate emissions. However, collectively, Canadian governments do not take climate change seriously enough to act with the necessary level of ambition,” writes Mertins-Kirkwood. “In some cases, the ambition gap between targets and projections is staggering.”

The absence of a robust just transition strategy is another key issue in Canadian climate policy. Canadian governments have so far been hesitant to tackle the potentially negative impacts of climate policies on fossil fuel workers and their communities. “Public support for emissions mitigation measures is undermined when jobs are lost in the process,” adds Mertins-Kirkwood.

“Tracking progress: Evaluating government plans and actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada” is the latest in a series of four reports produced for the ACW’s Domestic Policy Working Group—chaired by Bruce Campbell—which is investigating Canada’s evolving domestic climate policy landscape.

 

Download full report (PDF)

 

 

This Green House II: Building Momentum on Green Jobs and Climate Action Through Energy Retrofits Across Canada

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By Robert Duffy and Charley Beresford

March 2016

Columbia Institute
Centre for Civic Governance
2600—1055 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, B.C., Canada V6E 3R5

 

This Green House II builds on the research behind our earlier report on local government-led retrofit programs. When we published This Green House I in 2011, local improvement charge (LIC) retrofit financing — a proven and secure mechanism for financing residential improvements — and its twin sister, on-bill financing, were relatively new ideas in Canada.

Since then, Ontario and Nova Scotia have both changed their legislation, allowing local governments to use this innovative financing mechanism to support climate action. Local governments have jurisdiction over construction and renovations and bring the necessary know-how, initiative, and leadership to make this happen. The good news is that communities in those provinces are stepping up to the plate.

Innovative leadership on energy retrofits is the fastest way to take action on climate change. At current emission rates, the entire carbon budget for a 50 per cent chance of keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees will be exhausted by 2025.The time for action is now.

Our goal is that Canada’s provinces and territories follow up on this innovation and make the minor legislative changes needed to open the door to local government leadership on retrofits and climate action. It’s a win-win.

 

Read more on ColumbiaInstitute.ca

A paper from a colleague organization

 

Toronto: “Darker Politics: Democracies, Labour Rights and Climate Change in 2017”

posted in: Events, Posts | 0
Register on Eventbrite or send an email to acwinfo@yorku.ca

Poster

Download poster (PDF)

 

In October 2015 Canadians swept the climate-hostile Harper government from office, replacing it with a Liberal government promising creativity and ambition, real action to slow global warming and the inclusion of the labour movement in green transitions. In December, the Paris Agreement and its burst of optimism promised global collaboration to slow global warming. Between October and December 2015 the international spread of environmental legal activism–begun in the Netherlands, spreading to Belgium, Norway, Pakistan and the US—triggered a Canadian discussion. ACW’s Public Panel brought Roger Cox, the Dutch lawyer who led the successful court case forcing the Dutch government to speed up its GHG reduction, to Toronto where he spoke to a diverse audience of more than 100. In discussions following the Panel, Canadian union leaders, labour and human rights lawyers and environmental groups explored with Cox the role for unions in leading environmental legal activism. 2015 and early 2016 was a springtime of Canadian creativity and confidence.

What a difference a year makes! 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 and private militias, legitimating attacks on women, refugees, minorities, and gay men—and on democracies. Russia, flexing its revanchist muscles, dismisses global warming, hacks French, German, American political parties, invests in false news, undermines the EU, renders the Syrian tragedy unsolvable. Whatever you call it, racist nationalism is spreading inTurkey, Russia, Poland, Hungary, France, parts of Germany, the UK and the US.

The winds of the 1930s are stirring again. For Canada in 2017, this poses three sets of challenges:

  • How do we protect Canadian democracy in the Trump era? What can we learn from history and other countries? How better can Canada respond to the refugee crisis?
  • We are committed to reducing the GHGs we produce. In the face of Trump’s destruction of climate strategy how do we fulfill our promise? What alliances for Canadian and American unions, in their internal and external struggles to play a significant role in slowing climate warming?
  • Trump promises to bring the jobs back home. But whose jobs is he bringing back to the US? At what social and economic cost to Canada? What options and actions for labour unions to avoid competitive isolation while protecting their members? The Trump ascendancy is committed to a race to the bottom. Will shredding labour rights and climate strategies spread to other countries?

The three speakers on the 2017 Darker Politics panel 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.

Carla Lipsig-Mummé, Principal Investigator, ACW.

 

Speakers

Tony-Burman-June-8-2015-debate

Tony Burman, Ryerson University and Toronto Star, “Democracy Under Threat” 

Tony is world affairs columnist with the Toronto Star. He is former head of CBC News in Canada and of Al Jazeera English in Qatar – responsible for their TV, radio and online journalism. For more than 30 years, he was an award-winning news and documentary producer at the CBC, including seven years as its Editor-in-Chief. He was Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism at Ryerson University between 2010-16.

 

Elaine Bernard

Dr. Elaine Bernard, Harvard University, “Trump’s War on Workers and the Environment”

Elaine is a Senior Research Associate at the Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School, and previously served as its Executive Director. Elaine works with unions and labour federations around the globe, and has conducted courses on a wide variety of topics for unions, community groups, universities and government departments. Her current research and teaching interests are in the areas of international comparative labor movements and the role of unions in promoting civil society, democracy and sustainable development. Within ACW Elaine plays a pivotal role in developing the Green Workplaces training. As well, she is a member of the Manufacturing, Services and International Policy working groups, and she is a member of the steering committee.

 

Jim Chorostecki

Jim Chorostecki, British Columbia Federation of Labour, “The Softwood Lumber Dispute is the Hatfields vs. McCoys Feud Without the Guns, So Far.” 

Jim has been the Executive Director at B.C. Federation of Labour since 2010. In this role Jim has been responsible for initiating and overseeing a number of important projects that have been attempting to bring together various stakeholders to work together to solve the climate change crisis. Prior to this, he held positions at the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the Union of Postal Communication Employees and within the Canadian federal government. Jim is a former board member of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in BC and is currently an advisor on the CCPA Good Economy Project. Within the ACW grant Jim is the Co-lead for the Manufacturing working group and a member of the steering committee.

 

Larry Brown

Larry Brown, National Union of Public and General Employees, moderator

With degrees in political science and law, Larry, President of Canada’s second largest union, has a wide range of experience in government, pension fund management, public administration, labour relations, teaching and legal issues. He has written and spoken extensively about public finances, debt and deficit issues, the changes in federal provincial financing, public sector restructuring and the resulting changes in the economic and political structures of Canada that have occurred in the last decade. As an elected Officer of the National Union of Public and General Employees for over 25 years, Larry has extensive experience overseeing NUPGE’s policy on environmental issues. Larry is the Interim Leader of ACW’s Environmental Law and Labour Law research group.

 

“Darker Politics: Democracies, Labour Rights and Climate Change”
Friday, 26 May 2017
4:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Innis Town Hall Theatre
2 Sussex Avenue
Toronto, ON  M5S 1J5

Free admission

Register on Eventbrite or send an email to acwinfo@yorku.ca

 

Darker Politics Panel is organized by Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change, a research programme of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Organisational members of ACW include York University, the Canadian Labour Congress, and 22 organisations in Canada, US, UK, EU. www.adaptingcanadianwork.ca.

 

 

Trump’s first 100 days – Pipelines and immigration policies strengthening Right and dividing Left

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During his first one hundred days President Trump delivered on some of his ‘promises’, failed in others, and changed his mind in many instances. But, overall, he has promoted a politics of intolerance and authoritarianism while, at the same time, he has been ‘disciplined’ by US capitalism and its aggressive geopolitics that have been evident for some time now.

 

In evaluating Trump’s first 100 days it is important to recognize that he has given voice to some nativist elements within US politics that had hitherto been marginalized. But it is also important to underscore that he has given voice and a cover for even larger intolerant elements that have been integral parts of the Republican coalition for several decades.

Immigration

Trump’s travel orders and immigration practices breed authoritarianism not only because they are taking place but, also because they are justified in nativist terms. The relevant state agencies have become more aggressive and, unfortunately, unions in the sector are supportive of such politics. The continued shift of some of these unions to the right is adding to the authoritarian wing of the US labor movement that includes substantial elements of the police and other law and order entities. It is not surprising that Republicans, in states where they have recently attacked public sector unions, have sought to treat law and order unions differently from other unions.

Pipelines

The Administration’s decisions regarding pipelines have reinforced the fossil fuel economy while Trump’s gestures towards the building and construction unions have found some willing responders and are reinforcing their business unionist tendencies. It is not likely that renewables will decline as a component of the US energy mix. In fact, they are likely to grow. For every California, however, there will be a Texas where the production of renewable energy is a purely economic act unassociated with a climate or broader environmental policy plan. We can well look down the road to another Superfund, except that the next time around it will involve abandoned solar and wind farms.

Health care

Trump’s health care proposals are drawing the line against any broadening of the public domain. His choice for Education Secretary deepens the parasitical privatization of the public sector that allows profiteers to have access to and benefit from the public budget while limiting their risks. In all these moves he continues to appeal to those elements of the working and lower middle classes who need someone to blame for their precarity –whether women, blacks or immigrants- other than the real culprits.

At the same time, however, the new president is contributing to the reassertion of US capitalism over US society and beyond. His claims about keeping jobs in the US are revealed to be empty public relations, while US capital and capitalists – and the associated geopolitics – are “disciplining” Trump. Increasingly his broad economic and strategic choices affirm the direction of US imperialism as it has unfolded over the last few administrations – from the pivot to East Asia to reorganizing West Asia.

Trump as cover for “crony capitalists”

But here it is important to understand that it is not just Trump that is moving the USA in an authoritarian direction. Rather, the intolerant, crony capitalist elements that have long controlled the Republican Party and the USA House and Senate can now use Trump as an excuse or a decoy for accomplishing what they have been seeking for decades.

If Trump is someone we can readily associate with regressive policies, we should not lose sight of the class-based and conservative social politics emanating from the rest of the Republican Party, as evident in the priorities of Vice-President Mike Pence, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The irony may be that by the time they are done hiding behind Trump they may discover that it is too late to reverse the road to a deeper authoritarianism that will devour them, as well.

Democrats struggle to respond

And, of course, Trump and his allies are successful because the dominant forces within the Democratic Party, in their obsessive determination for centrism, have allowed these reactionaries to move the center very far to the right. Moreover, they have resolutely resisted those elements of the Democratic Party that could, in fact, spearhead an alternative agenda.

This has not taken place simply because the Democrats are tactically forced to follow the Republicans in their rightward move. Rather, it is evidence that the dominant forces within the Democratic Party are themselves central elements of the capitalist alliance that rules the USA and which supports the privatization of the public domain and the atomization of society. President Obama’s decision to speak to a financial entity for $400,000 should not leave us with any doubts about who controls the Democratic Party at present and the long road facing those who want a more democratic and egalitarian USA.

 

Dimitris Stevis is Professor of the Department of Political Science at Colorado State University, and Co-investigator of the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change research programme.

ACW leads conference stream on climate change and labour

 

4-6 April 2017, Sheffield, UK

At the 35th International Labour Process Conference, held in Sheffield, UK, ACW ran a special stream titled “A Volatile Political Economy: Work, Climate Change and Labour: Labour Process Perspectives”. This was for the second year running, last year’s theme at the ILPC conference in Berlin being Labour, Work and Climate Change: a labour process perspective. The stream this year was led by Professor Carla Lipsig-Mummé of York University, Toronto, Canada and Professor Linda Clarke of the University of Westminster, UK, together with Donald Lafleur, Executive Vice-President, Canadian Labour Congress and Dr. Elaine Bernard, Director of Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School, US.

The stream addressed the problematic issue that, though work, worksites and production supply chains are major polluters, the new retreat into defensive nationalism adds to the difficulties of combatting at an international level the global danger we confront. It is vital to re-connect work and political economy, so that the transition to a low carbon economy becomes an international driver for transforming the labour process to the benefit of workers. Bringing workers and unions and work itself ‘in’ to the struggle to slow global warming entails rethinking the labour process through a green lens, and adapting key steps in the chain of production to mitigate greenhouse gases. It entails reconsidering the legal, political and economic contexts that hinder or facilitate workplace low-carbon adaptation, bringing labour and environment law together, criticising work design and current business models for their carbon excesses, and rediscovering the influential roles that workers, their unions and professional associations can play in adapting and improving the labour process. And, finally, it means understanding the ways in which political economies and responses to climate change affect not only the labour process, but union goals, alliances, modes of action, organisation of young workers, political strength and strategic creativity.

Within this framework, papers were presented in four separate sessions over two days by ACW researchers, academics from universities in the UK and further afield, and those from trade union organisations.

The contributions within each themed session included:

Just Transition
• Slow Greening: Climate Literacy and the Labour Movement: Carla Lipsig-Mummé, York University, Canada
• Just Transition in a Neoliberal Context: the contradictions of labour-market policy in post-petro-state Canada: Donald Lafleur and Chris Roberts, Canadian Labour Congress
• Contesting Just Transition: a sufficient challenge to capitalist labour processes? (Ewan Kerr, University of Glasgow)

Energy Provision
• Romance or Chimaera? Industry Policy and Job Quality in European Offshore Wind Turbine Manufacturing: Lisa Shulte, Middlesex University, UK
• Decarbonising the Electricity Grid: the implications for organised labour: Colin Patrick Gleeson, University of Westminster, UK

VET for low energy construction
• Promoting Climate Literacy in British Columbia’s Apprenticeship System: evaluating one union’s efforts to overcome barriers to low carbon construction: John Calvert, Simon Fraser University, Canada
• The Role of Labour and VET in meeting Low Energy Construction Targets, Linda Clarke and Melahat Sahin-Dikmen, University of Westminster

Green Employment
• More and Better Jobs in a Low Carbon Future: provocations and possibilities: Steven Shelley, University of Hertfordshire, UK
• Gamification as Employment Strategy for Greening the Labour Process: Dean Stroud and Claire Evans, Cardiff University, UK
• The Role of Trade Unions in the Transformation towards a Low Carbon Economy: Bela Galgoczi, European Trade Union Institute, Belgium

Lively discussions followed the presentations, highlighting the significance of agency and vision in influencing the nature of the response to climate change and the critical necessity of bringing a labour perspective to bear on green transition approaches and policies by government and non-government organisations and agencies. Presentations were also informative about regional green transition initiatives involving trade unions, with discussions focusing particularly on British Columbia, Canada, the Ruhr region in Germany and Yorkshire and Humberside in the UK. Insights into the practical implementation, consequences and implications of green transitions were given in discussions about work and employment conditions in wind turbine manufacturing, training and skill needs in construction, and energy efficiency regulations in energy-intensive industries.

On the third day, the stream concluded with a panel discussion on ‘Green labour in dark times’, facilitated by responses to an imaginary scenario from 2035, when two major forces co-exist, digitalisation and climate change: can they combine or are they on a collision course? With examples of green transition initiatives from across a number of countries and regions, the possibility and need to allow for different green transitions pathways also came to the fore in the final debate. Above all, the fundamental role trade unions play in representing the interests of labour in what is a hugely complex, uneven and long transition to a green economy was reinforced.

It is intended that some of the contributions given at Sheffield and at last year’s Berlin conference will, together with contributions from ACW and other international researchers be included in two books and a special journal.

Linda Clarke, Carla Lipsig-Mummé and Melahat Sahin-Dikmen
June 2017

It’s time for a green jobs plan for Ontario

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By Mark Rowlinson and Keith Brooks
Hamilton Spectator

Ontario’s climate plan will create jobs. Ontario needs to make sure that they are good jobs that go to people who need them most.

Ontario’s first cap-and-trade auction raised $472 million last month, which means that Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan has some funding. That plan includes an investment of between $1.9 and $2.7 billion over a five-year period in increasing the energy efficiency of Ontario’s buildings, which could create nearly 33,000 jobs.

These jobs can be good jobs that provide living wages, benefits plans, and career opportunities. The jobs can also provide career pathways for disadvantaged Ontarians who may have faced barriers to employment. But that won’t happen, unless the province commits to making it so.

In a new report titled Building an Ontario Green Jobs Strategy, we make some suggestions for how Ontario can make this vision a reality — where addressing climate change also helps alleviate social and economic inequity.

 

 

Mark Rowlinson is the Assistant to the Canadian National Director of the United Steelworkers and the president of Blue Green Canada. Keith Brooks is the Programs Director at Environmental Defence and a Director of Blue Green Canada. They are also associated with the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change project as a Collaborating Researcher and Co-investigator, respectively. 

 

Read the full article on thespec.com

 

Academic Job Opportunity: Work and Labour Studies, York University, one year contract, Deadline: May 1.

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Position Rank: Contractually Limited Appointment
Discipline/Field: Work and Labour Studies
Home Faculty: Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Home Department/Area/Division: Social Science
Affiliation/Union: YUFA
Position Start Date: July 1, 2017
Position End Date: June 30, 2018

Department of Social Science

The Department of Social Science, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, York University invites applications from qualified candidates for a one-year Sessional Assistant Professor position in Work & Labour Studies to commence July 1, 2017. Applicants must hold a PhD in one of the social sciences (including law) and must demonstrate excellence or promise of excellence in undergraduate teaching and an ability to teach in an interdisciplinary Work & Labour Studies program. The successful candidate will show promise of excellence in research and publication in the field of Work & Labour Studies. Applicants should be prepared to teach courses in Canadian labour relations and one or more of labour and globalization, Canadian labour/employment law, Canadian labour market policy. Pedagogical innovation in priority areas such as experiential education and technology enhanced learning is an asset. The appointment carries a teaching load of three full courses or the equivalent. Information about the Work & Labour Studies program can be found on the program website: http://wkls.sosc.laps.yorku.ca/

York University is an Affirmative Action (AA) employer and strongly values diversity, including gender and sexual diversity, within its community. The AA program, which applies to Aboriginal people, visible minorities, people with disabilities, and women, can be found at www.yorku.ca/acadjobs or by calling the AA office at 416-736-5713. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority. Temporary entry for citizens of the U.S.A. and Mexico may apply per the provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or citizens of Chile may apply per the provisions of the Canada Chile Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA).

Applicants should submit a signed letter of application outlining their professional experience and research interests, an up-to-date curriculum vitae, a teaching dossier (including a statement of teaching philosophy and summaries of teaching evaluation); and arrange for three signed confidential letters of recommendation to be sent directly to: Professor Amanda Glasbeek, Chair, Department of Social Science, Ross Building, S754, York University, 4700 Keele St., Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M3J 1P3. Email: soscjobs@yorku.ca (Subject Line: “WKLS CLA”).

The deadline for applications is May 1, 2017. All York University positions are subject to budgetary approval.

Posting End Date: May 1, 2017

 

Download the job posting (PDF)

 

Evaluating the Impact of the BC Insulators’ Union Campaign to Promote Improved Mechanical Insulation Standards in BC’s Construction Industry

These papers are part of a series being produced for the ACW’s Built Environment Working Group—chaired by John Calvert —which is investigating the BC Insulators union’s efforts to promote a major climate initiative in the construction industry.

Buildings account for between 35% and 40% of GHG emissions and energy use (Stern 2006, IPCC 2014). Consequently, improving the energy efficiency of buildings is an important mechanism to address climate change. One key method to accomplish this objective is through establishing higher energy efficiency standards for mechanical insulation (e.g. Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning – HVAC) systems.

The BC Insulators Local 118 represents unionized skilled insulators who have a Trades Qualification (TQ) and have completed a 4 year apprenticeship in HVAC systems and related building insulation methods. Over the years, the BC Insulators campaigned to encourage municipalities in BC to require higher insulation standards in their building requirements and procurement contract tenders.

The BC Insulator’s initiative is unique in Canada. It illustrates the efforts of a labour organization to promote a major climate initiative in the construction industry.

This project documents the Insulators’ campaign, including the union’s rationale for initiating it, describe its various components and evaluate the extent to which it has influenced standards of mechanical insulation in BC. The study explores the question of why the BC Insulators chose to align their campaign with climate change objectives and why they decided to target local governments as a key part of their strategy for generating broader industry support for the enhanced standards they favoured.

 

The Union as Climate Change Advocate: the BC Insulator’s Campaign to “Green” the Culture of the Building Industry in British Columbia
April 2016
By John Calvert and Corrine Tallon, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University (SFU)

Download the full report (PDF)

 

Promoting Climate Literacy in British Columbia’s Apprenticeship System: Evaluating One Union’s Efforts to Overcome Attitudinal Barriers to Low Carbon Construction
April 2017
By Corinne Tallon and John Calvert, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University SFU)

Download the full report (PDF)

Promoting Climate Literacy in British Columbia’s Apprenticeship System: Evaluating One Union’s Efforts to Overcome Attitudinal Barriers to Low Carbon Construction

By Corinne Tallon and John Calvert

Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University

Prepared for the International Labour Process Conference (ILPC), Sheffield, United Kingdom, April 4 – 6, 2017

 

Abstract

 

Buildings account for a significant component of total energy consumption and are thus a critical target in lowering society’s carbon footprint and mitigating climate change. While there has been considerable progress in developing new technologies, materials and building designs to achieve this goal, one key element of making buildings more energy efficient is too often overlooked: the competency and commitment of the workforce responsible for the building construction. There is considerable evidence of a significant gap between the needed skill sets for low carbon construction and the capacity of the training and apprenticeship systems to deliver appropriate skills – including climate literacy – to the construction workforce, both in Canada and internationally. Furthermore, an apparent gap exists in terms of interest and investment on the part of government, employers, and union leaders within the industry to encourage this type of training and, more importantly, implementation of this training on the work site.

This research paper examines the efforts of one building trades union to promote climate literacy within British Columbia (BC) via the classroom. The BC Insulators union has responsibility for training all mechanical insulation (MI) trades’ workers in the province under an agreement with the BC government. It delivers the classroom training under contract with the province’s largest public training college, the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). As part of its commitment to address sustainability and green construction practices within the industry, the union has introduced a ‘Green Awareness’ course to their apprenticeship program curriculum. The two-module course was introduced in 2011 and is taught over the course of the first two years of the four-year program.

After conducting a review of the ‘Green Awareness’ course content, the research team performed qualitative interviews with a cohort of 2nd and 4th year apprentices. The former cohort had, at the time of the interviews, received both modules of the new course. The fourth-year cohort on the other hand had completed most of their classroom training before the module had been fully refined. They therefore had not received the formal ‘Green Awareness’ training. The purpose of this research was to determine whether exposure to the new ‘Green Awareness’ course content influenced the apprentices’ views on climate change, and whether they identified links between climate change, their performance as insulators, and the performance of the construction industry more broadly.

The interviews identified significant differences in the two cohorts’ levels of understanding of the links between the construction industry, MI, and climate change. Degree of understanding and interest also varied depending on the sector in which the apprentice had employment experience and the specific types of projects on which they had worked. Significantly, apprentices identified a number of barriers to their ability to implement best practices and low carbon construction, including: lack of co-ordination between insulators and other trades; the absence of stringent inspection of finished work; pressure to complete tasks at the expense of quality work; and a more general pattern of industry indifference to implementing best practices and low carbon construction. These findings indicate the need for further refinements in the content and delivery of the ‘Green Awareness’ course material. The authors conclude that incorporating climate change-related course content into the training process is an important step in fostering climate literacy within the industry and should be encouraged in other trades. However, its degree of impact will be limited unless more sweeping changes are made to the organization and culture of the construction industry itself.

 

Download the full report (PDF)

 

ACW Factsheet: Domestic Policy

 

Evaluating Federal Plans and Actions to Reduce GHG Emissions in Canada

Liberal Government Progress After 1 Year in Power

 

The official Liberal Party platform for the 2015 federal election made climate change a central theme. The platform promised renewed cooperation with the provinces to establish a national strategy for transitioning to a low-carbon economy.

Importantly, the platform assured Canadians that environmental protection was compatible with job creation and economic growth. After winning a resounding Parliamentary majority in October 2015, the Liberals began work on their climate change agenda. After a year in power, they have managed to maintain the enthusiastic, pre-election public support for climate change action even in the face of strong economic headwinds.

Whether the new federal government is actually delivering on the rhetoric requires closer scrutiny.

 

Download the factsheet (PDF)

 

 

SoGES GCRT Environmental Justice in the Anthropocene to host symposium

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The School of Global Environmental Sustainability (SoGES) Global Challenges Research Team (GCRT) Environmental Justice and Sustainability in the Anthropoceneis hosting a two day symposium April 24-25, 2017 in the Lory Student Center at Colorado State University, Fort Collins. Registration is free and open to the campus and broader community, however, the deadline to register is March 24, 2017 or until space fills up, so register early!

 

This symposium brings together over 100 academics and practitioners from more than 30 countries. Environmental Justice (EJ) is a central component of sustainability politics during the Anthropocene – the current geological age when human activity is the dominant influence on climate and environment. The overarching goal is to build on several decades of EJ research and practice to address the seemingly intractable environmental and ecological problems of the unfolding in this era. How can we explore EJ amongst humans and between nature and humans, within and across generations, in an age when humans dominate the landscape? How can we better understand collective human dominance without obscuring continuing power differentials and inequities within and between human societies? What institutional and governance innovations can we adopt to address existing challenges and to promote just transitions and futures?

 

From its origins as a US movement against environmental racism and other inequities in the early 1980s the scope of EJ, as a field of research and as a movement, has broadened enormously. Global EJ activism and research, in fact, is moving beyond demanding equity in the distribution of environmental harms and benefits to a call for the structural transformation of the economy and our relationship with nature as a means to address social, political, economic and environmental crises. The symposium will explore these transformations with a focus on multidisciplinary approaches for just transitions and other important directions of future EJ research.

 

The SoGES Environmental Justice in the Anthropocene GCRT (formerly EJCSU) consists of a multidisciplinary team spanning five departments: Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, Engineering, Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, Political Science, and Sociology. Principal investigators include: Neil Grigg, Melinda Laituri, Sheryl Magzaman, Stephanie Malin, Stacia Ryder and Dimitris Stevis. Megan Demasters and Kathryn Powlen serve as graduate student coordinators. Together the team works on various multiscalar issues of EJ in the U.S. and abroad. The Environmental Justice in the Anthropocene GCRT is committed to rigorous research and public engagement.

 

To register, please visit http://environmentaljustice.colostate.edu/conference/registration. For more information, contact environmentaljusticeCSU@gmail.com or visit http://environmentaljustice.colostate.edu/conference/information

Climate change and work: international perspectives

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Workshop

hosted by Sheffield Climate Alliance, Sheffield Trade Union Council
and international trade unionists and researchers

Tuesday 4th April, 6.30pm to 9pm
Quaker Meeting House, 10 St James’ St, Sheffield S1 2EW

Free event with buffet supper – please book on Eventbrite by 30 Mar:
www.eventbrite.com/e/climate-change-and-work-international-perspectivestickets-32880462348

At the beginning of April, academic researchers and trade unionists from various countries
will be in Sheffield to participate in the Climate Change and Work stream of the 32nd
International Labour Process Conference at the University of Sheffield.

The Adapting Canadian Workplaces programme (www.adaptingcanadianwork.ca/), led by
Professor Carla Lipsig Mummé will be strongly represented. ACW partners include many
Canadian trade unions, including the Postal Workers, Union of Public Employees, United
Steelworkers, and British Columbian Building Trades, as well as the Labor Network for
Sustainability. The project has been building databases of collective agreement clauses and
training programmes on climate change.

We are offering the chance to meet and exchange ideas about what is being done locally in
the Sheffield area and in other parts of the globe.
International participants include:

  • Donald Lafleur, Vice President of the Canadian Labour Congress
  • Bela Galgoczi from the European Trade Union Institute
  • Carla Lipsig Mummé, of York University, Toronto
  • John Calvert, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia

 

And from the UK:

  • Graham Petersen, UCU and Greener Jobs Alliance (www.greenerjobsalliance.co.uk/)
  • Dean Stroud and Claire Evans of Cardiff University
  • Linda Clarke and Colin Gleeson, ProBE, University of Westminster
  • Martin Mayer, Sheffield TUC

 

A buffet supper and coffee/tea will be available and afterwards we will adjourn to a
local pub for drinks and a chance to chat further. Please book on Eventbrite so we
know numbers.

 

Sheffield Climate Alliance: info@sheffieldclimatealliance.net or
Linda Clarke: clarkel@wmin.ac.uk or 07821610665

Dark Politics: Climate Change and Labour Transitions in an Unstable World

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International Panel

Nov 26, 2016
Vancouver, BC

An Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces Outreach Event

 

 

Download the brochure (PDF)

 

Chair
Jim Chorostecki, Executive Director of the BC Federation of Labour

Panelists
Bela Galgoczi, Senior Researcher at the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI), speaks on “The Rise of Dark Politics in the EU” Starts 4:24 | Slides

Linda Clark, Professor of European Industrial Relations at the University of Westminster, speaks on “Does Brexit blur a low-carbon future?” Starts 27:30 | Slides

Dimitris Stevis, Professor of Politics at Colorado State University, speaks on “Island of Green in a Dark Sea? Climate Politics in Trump’s USA” Starts 45:49| Slides

Larry Brown, President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), speaks on “What’s Wrong with Globalization?” Starts 59:26

Discussant
John Calvert, political scientist specializing in public policy. Starts 1:17:35

Canada’s evolving domestic climate policy landscape

These working papers are a series of three preliminary reports being produced for the ACW’s Domestic Policy Working Group—chaired by Bruce Campbell—which is investigating Canada’s evolving domestic climate policy landscape. These three preliminary reports—addressing Federal Government action, provincial government action, and domestic labour policy in Canada—will be integrated into a final report in spring 2017.

The preliminary reports take as their starting point the working group’s baseline report, which was completed in October 2015. That report provides context on the current profile of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada as well as the suite of climate policies in place at the federal and provincial level through October 2015.

 

Tracking progress: Evaluating government plans and actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada
May 2017
Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood
International trade and climate policy researcher, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)

Download the full report (PDF)

 

Evaluating government plans and actions to reduce GHG emissions in Canada: Just transition policies
January 2017
Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood
Research Intern, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Download the full report (PDF)

 

Evaluating Government Plans and Actions to Reduce GHG Emissions in Canada: Provincial and territorial progress through October 2016
November 2016
Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood
Research Intern, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)

Download the full report (PDF)

 

Evaluating government plans and actions to reduce GHG emissions in Canada: Federal progress through June 2016
July 2016
Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood
Research Intern, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)

Download the full report (PDF)

 

 

 

The Union as Climate Change Advocate: the BC Insulator’s Campaign to “Green” the Culture of the Building Industry in British Columbia

By John Calvert and Corrine Tallon, Simon Fraser University (SFU)

Prepared for the International Labour Process Conference (ILPC) Berlin, Germany, April 2016

Abstract:

This paper examines the efforts of one Canadian building trades’ union, the BC Insulators, to influence the culture and climate change policies of the construction industry in British Columbia. The union’s members install and inspect mechanical insulation (MI) on heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in commercial and industrial buildings. Its climate advocacy was prompted by the failure of the province’s construction industry to implement appropriate quality standards due to its culture of low bid construction practices and its unwillingness to train and employ qualified insulation workers. This failure was compounded by the reluctance of government to impose and enforce stringent building codes to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings. Recognizing the significant contribution that MI can make to reducing energy use and GHG emissions, the union embarked on a major campaign to promote the climate benefits of MI. It funded independent, technical research papers, commissioned best practice manuals with detailed guidelines on installing MI and initiated an extensive and carefully organized public education campaign to pressure industry and government to raise standards. It approached municipalities, building contractors, government officials, property developers, industry professionals and trade organizations to alert them to the importance of reducing the energy footprint of buildings. It pressured governments to raise MI standards in procurement of new and refurbished buildings and implement tougher requirements in their building codes. And it introduced climate change literacy into the curriculum of the apprenticeship system it oversees. This paper documents the union’s comprehensive campaign as an illustration of the contribution labour can make to addressing the critical challenge of global warming.

 

Download the full report (PDF)

 

Climate: a Union Issue in Canada

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by Martina Frisk

 

When unions and employers negotiate collective agreements, they speak mainly about wages and conditions. But climate change can have a place in the discussions, and even included in the contract clauses,” says Carla Lipsig-Mummé, professor of labour studies at York University, Canada.

 

Read the full article at Arbetet.ca (Swedish)

 

 

 

Ontario Federation of Labour Statement

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January 30, 2017

Tonight we are expressing our solidarity and support for the Muslim community. We will not stand by as our Muslim brothers and sisters, friends and comrades are targeted by hateful actions.

The labour movement here in Ontario and across Canada will be with you. We must not allow the likes of Donald Trump, Kellie Leitch and others to divide the working class – for none of us are free until we all live in safety, where our values and cultures are respected and valued.

On this dark night, we vow our commitment to standing alongside the Muslim community and all marginalized groups as we fight together for true justice and equality.

Our hearts go out to the family and friends of those killed or injured in the shooting at the Centre culturel islamique de Québec in Quebec City.

The just green transition: Canada’s proactive approach

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By Béla Galgóczi, Senior Researcher at the ETUI

The EU is losing its leading position in climate and energy policymaking

In the search for good practices and ambitious policies and initiatives on how to manage climate change and the transformation to a zero carbon economy, we increasingly need to look beyond Europe.

Since 2004, Europe has been a leader in adopting ambitious climate policies. However, in recent years the EU has lost momentum in greening its economy and its leadership in this area is eroding rapidly. Since 2011, clean energy investment in Europe has halved, mostly due to austerity and policy uncertainty. Progress in energy efficiency has also been extremely modest and much of the reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions recorded in Europe is attributable to slow growth and recession.

Europe is losing ground: New investment into renewable energy, bn USD (Bela Galgoczi, Europe’s energy transformation in the austerity trap, ETUI, Brussels, 2015)

The recent ‘Clean Energy’ package launched by the European Commission can be seen as a recognition of the loss of Europe’s former leading role in the green transformation. While it is a positive sign that the Commission has once again set itself the target of ‘achieving global leadership in renewables’, it does not mention that this was a position already occupied by the EU between 2004 and 2011.

The success of the COP21 in Paris showed that there is now a global commitment to getting climate change under control. Several regions and countries outside Europe are setting out ambitious energy and climate policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency and move towards a greener production and consumption model.

Canada, which until only recently had a bad reputation in this area, is catching up with its energy policy and green economy ambitions. Europe has clearly had a better track record in the past, but in terms of current climate policies and ambitions, Canada and certain US green states are outperforming it. Furthermore, it is China that now takes the global leadership in clean energy investment, far outstripping Europe.

 

 

Read the full article at medium.com

 

 

Evaluating Government Plans and Actions to Reduce GHG Emissions in Canada: The State of Play in 2016

 

Presentation by Bruce Campbell, CCPA & University of Ottawa, and Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, at ACW All Team Meeting Researcher’s Workshop.

 

Vancouver, November 2016

 

Download the presentation (PDF)

 

ACW and Black Trade Unionists launch Environmental Racism project

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Project Description Bibliography Workshop

 

Green is not White
Copyright 2018 Favianna Rodriguez, Favianna.com

The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Canada (CBTU) has joined the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces (ACW) research project as a partner organization by launching an action research initiative on Environmental Racism. The destructiveness and speed of climate change is a call to action. CBTU will explore the impact of climate change on racialized communities within Canada. CBTU is a community based organization that gives voice to Black Trade Unionists on issues that impact upon people of African-Canadian descent. www.cbtu.ca ACW is a partnership grant of Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Working with 47 individual researchers and 24 partner organizations in 4 countries, ACW seeks to slow global warming by developing tools to green the workplace and work itself. ACW is Canadian-focused and national in scope. http://www.adaptingcanadianwork.ca/

The CBTU Environmental Racism research project brings a vision of community engagement and mobilization around climate change by drawing Black Trade Unionists, and other racialized communities, into the fight to slow global warming while developing pathways to green jobs.

To start the project, CBTU is launching a social media campaign to engage racialized and indigenous communities in the process of discovering what has been written so far about environmental racism in the fight against climate change. Our focus is Canada, but we are including experience from the U.S. or the world if it is relevant to our situation. Using the hashtag [#EnvRacismCBTUACW], the project seeks to engage climate justice activists through Facebook and Twitter to identify the varying contexts of environmental racism. This type of crowd-sourced syllabi models similar participatory research campaigns such as #BlackLivesCDNSyllabus and #PrisonAbolitionSyllabus.

You can help to enrich the dialogue on environmental racism in Canada. Please click here to learn what we know of so far, then share your thoughts with us on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #EnvRacismCBTUACW. We will incorporate suggestions into a final bibliography which will be used to design a participatory training workshop to engage the community in the struggle to slow climate change and identify pathways to green jobs.

 

Dr. Carla Lipsig-Mummé,
Principal Researcher,
Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces (ACW)

Christopher Wilson,
Project Lead,
Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Canada (CBTU)

 

Search Twitter for the hashtag #EnvRacismCBTUACW

#EnvRacismCBTUACW

 

UNFCCC Taps ACW Project to Assist Intergovernmental Climate Change Negotiations

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Media Release
For immediate release
December 2, 2016

(Toronto, ON) A ground-breaking technical paper on jobs and climate change produced by the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) draws upon unique research produced by a joint labour and research project based at York University.

The UNFCCC report, entitled “Just transition of the workforce, and the creation of decent work and quality jobs,” profiles research produced by the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change project (ACW). According to the UN, the secretariat’s paper was prepared to assist nations to move decisively on reducing the greenhouse gasses produced by work and workforces, while creating decent work and quality jobs for a new labour market.

“This important UNFCCC paper breaks new ground in a much trodden field,” said Carla Lipsig-Mummé, Project Director and Principal Investigator of ACW. ‘Just transition’, carbon footprint reduction in the world of work while ensuring that good jobs and decent work are not only retained but expanded, has long been invoked. But achieving just transition has been elusive, requiring as it does a mix of state financial support and regulation, technological advances and work redesign, mobilisation of the social safety net, willingness of employers, an active labour market policy, and the creative engagement of workers and their unions.”

“The UN’s new report will deepen the international community’s understanding of the need to consider the impact of climate policies on workers, and the essential role that labour unions have in combatting climate change,” she said. “I am delighted that our research, produced through a collaboration of academic and organized labour researchers funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, has contributed to intergovernmental climate change negotiations through the UNFCCC,” she added.

Specifically, an innovative database at York University of collective agreements clauses devoted to environmental conservation receives special recognition by the UNFCCC. “As part of the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change project, an online database of green collective agreements has been developed from UK, Australian and American as well as Canadian collective agreements. The database includes clauses related to climate change and low-carbon development,” notes the UNFCCC paper.

The UNFCCC technical paper is timely. At a recent meeting of ACW international researchers in Vancouver, concerns about “Just Transition” for workers impacted by climate change mitigation measures were high on the agenda. Participants noted with concern that governments are skirting their obligation to assist workers in the transition to a low-carbon economy.

ACW membership includes 47 individual researchers and 24 partner organizations in 4 countries and the European Union. It is a Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Partnership Program–funded project, based at York University.

– 30 –

Just transition of the workforce, and the creation of decent work and quality jobs, Bonn, Germany: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat, 2016. http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2016/tp/07.pdf

 

For more information contact:
Steven Staples, ACW Communication Officer
sstaples@yorku.ca

ACW releases three new factsheets on climate and work

York University, Toronto – The Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change project is pleased to announce the release of three new factsheets that examine the potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in workplaces across the country.

The factsheets cover the environmental challenges of vehicle manufacturing, forestry and the construction and maintenance of our built environment. They are useful to people interested in climate issues, including researchers, students, employers, and workers alike.

“These factsheets will help to educate employers and workers looking for ways to achieve the essential task of reducing the carbon footprint of the workplace,” said Carla Lipsig-Mummé, Project Director and Principal Investigator.

The factsheets are available through: http://www.adaptingcanadianwork.ca/category/factsheet/

For more information, contact:

Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change
Ross North 819, 4700 Keele St.
York University, Toronto, ON, M3J 1P3
416-736-5895
acwinfo@yorku.ca

BC Green Jobs Conference: Nov 24 – 25, 2016

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The Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change (ACW) project invites you to participate in the upcoming “Jobs Today, Jobs Tomorrow – BC’s Green Jobs Conference” in Vancouver, British Columbia on November 24 and 25, 2016.

Every year, the conference unites people in British Columbia around a shared plan for good, green jobs in the new economy.

Individuals and organizations from diverse professional backgrounds will convene in New Westminster’s Anvil Centre where they connect and learn through cross-sector activities and presentations.

This year’s topics include economic reconciliation, leadership for a Green Economy and advanced technology, and our Low Carbon Future.

Many Participating Researchers from ACW will be presenting at the conference, including:

  • Carla Lipsig-Mummé, Lead Researcher, Adapting Canadian Workplaces, York University
  • Elaine Bernard, Executive Director of the Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School
  • John Calvert, Associate Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences SFU
  • Lee Loftus, President, British Columbia and Yukon Territory Building and Construction Trades Council

Keynote speaker Bob McDonald, host of CBC’s Quirks & Quarks, will be presenting at the conference and speaking of his latest blog post why Canada needs a green industrial revolution.

To register and purchase tickets visit http://www.greenjobsbc.org/register

For more information visit http://www.greenjobsbc.org/

ACW is proud to be a Silver Sponsor of the BC Green Jobs Conference

ACW Factsheet: Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Canadian Forestry

 

Energy use and emissions created by different stages of manufacturing

It is an interesting time to be looking at the topic of emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in Canadian forestry, as 2015 marks the target year, announced in 2007, by which the forest industry had planned to achieve industry-wide carbon neutrality without the purchase of offsetting carbon credits. Whether this goal has been achieved will not be known until late 2016.

Overall, the industry is found to have improved immensely in its emissions intensity, as BC Federation of Labour Executive Director Jim Chorostecki has pointed out. Three trends are highlighted here: fuel switching, improved energy efficiency, and energy systems optimization.

Forestry remains a significant contributor to the Canadian economy. The combination of harvesting, wood manufacturing, and paper manufacturing contributed nearly $20 billion (roughly 1.25%) to Canadian GDP in 2014.

 

Download the factsheet (PDF)

 

ACW Factsheet: Greening Vehicle Manufacturing

 

Reducing the climate impact of producing vehicles in Canada

Canadians are both users and manufacturers of greenhouse gas–emitting passenger vehicles, which connect Canada’s climate efforts to thousands of jobs, and form a substantial part of our manufacturing economy.

Vehicle manufacturing employs over 100,000 Canadians and historically has accounted for over 10 per cent of Canada’s manufacturing GDP.

When it comes to the industry’s impact on the climate, researchers John Holmes and Austin Hracs point out, “The major climate change issue associated with the automotive industry is the use of motor vehicles, not their manufacture”.

 

Download the factsheet (PDF)

 

ACW Factsheet: Low-Carbon Construction of Canada’s “Built Environment”

 

Challenges and opportunities for creating green construction jobs

Buildings are the fourth highest source of greenhouse gas emissions by economic sector in Canada, and will surpass electricity to become the third highest source by 2020. Reducing the greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted by buildings is a critical area for the introduction of measures to reduce carbon emissions and energy use.

The current state of the building industry presents a unique opportunity to contribute to GHG reduction while moving the construction industry away from precarious employment and towards greener jobs that are highly skilled and fairly paid. By tackling greenhouse gas emission reduction with work-focused strategies, policy makers, unions and industry leaders can achieve the goals of reducing GHGs while creating environmentally responsible employment.

 

Download the factsheet (PDF)

 

ACW Baseline Report – Manufacturing (Auto and Forestry)

posted in: Manufacturing, Posts, Reports | 0

by Jim Chorostecki

Executive Director
British Columbia Federation of Labour

 

The group is proposing to study three industries: automotive; food processing; and forestry/pulp and paper. Over the last few months we have been able to complete initial research reviews of the automotive and forestry sectors, the research in the food processing sector is underway. The attached reports reflect the research that has been completed and/or planned.

 

Actions:

 

The next step will be for the manufacturing working group to review research information and determine next steps.  This process will include:

 

1. Identifying projects and assigning leads

2. Determining project methodology and timelines

3. Assigning roles and responsibilities

4. Determining budget needs

5. Assessment and follow-up

 

Auto - Download the full report (PDF) Forestry - Download the full report (PDF)

 

African Trade Unions Embrace Climate Change

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Trade unions in Africa are moving to embrace climate change and green collar jobs that preserve or restore the environment in traditional sectors such as manufacturing and construction, or in emerging green sectors such as renewable energy and energy efficiency.

For years, the trade union movement in Africa has turned a blind eye to issues of climate change, choosing to focus mainly on occupational safety and health despite the disastrous effects of the phenomenon on ordinary jobs that are the lifeline of unionism.

With clear global indications that climate change and green jobs are the new phenomenon, trade unions in Africa have embarked on researches to find ways of adapting and mitigating the effects of climate change and embracing green jobs.

 

Read the full article at AllAfrica.com

 

Biggest US coal company funded dozens of groups questioning climate change

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Peabody Energy, America’s biggest coalmining company, has funded at least two dozen groups that cast doubt on manmade climate change and oppose environment regulations, analysis by the Guardian reveals.

The funding spanned trade associations, corporate lobby groups, and industry front groups as well as conservative thinktanks and was exposed in court filings last month.

The coal company also gave to political organisations, funding twice as many Republican groups as Democratic ones.

Peabody, the world’s biggest private sector publicly traded coal company, was long known as an outlier even among fossil fuel companies for its public rejection of climate science and action. But its funding of climate denial groups was only exposed in disclosures after the coal titan was forced to seek bankruptcy protection in April, under competition from cheap natural gas.

 

Read the full article on TheGuardian.com

 

Green jobs grow as oil employment falls

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The number of jobs in the global renewable energy industry grew by 5 per cent last year, in stark contrast to the steep losses suffered by the oil and gas sector.

Solar, wind and other clean energy companies employed 8.1m people worldwide in 2015, up from 7.7m the previous year, according to data released by the International Renewable Energy Agency, an intergovernmental body based in Abu Dhabi.

Another 1.3m people were working in the large hydropower industry, which Irena counts separately because numbers fluctuate so sharply from year to year they would distort the overall picture.

The agency’s figures reflect a global shift that has seen renewable power soar in big Asian markets and falter in older markets such as the EU, where green energy jobs fell for the fourth year amid sluggish economic growth.

While overall growth in green energy jobs has slowed from the 18 per cent annual increase the agency reported last year, it still represents a brighter employment picture than in the oil and gas industry, where tumbling crude prices have exacted a heavy toll on employment.

 

Read the full article on FT.com

 

ACW Members Discuss Alberta Wildfire, Approve New Research Projects at Steering Committee Meeting

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The tragedy of Fort McMurray and the devastation caused by the wildfire was top-of-mind when members of the Steering Committee of the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond the Climate Change (ACW) project gathered at York University on May 28.

Members shared concern about the impact on the community, and sought ways that the project’s research might contribute to the rebuilding effort, especially ways that would support climate change mitigation and adaptation using low-carbon construction methods.

“Our research on the need for low-carbon buildings and well-trained construction workers could be essential to policy makers who are seeking way to rebuild Fort McMurray, while also advancing employment opportunities for displaced Albertans,” said Dr. Carla Lipsig-Mummé, Principal Investigator of the ACW project.

In addition to discussing the Alberta tragedy and receiving a briefing from Canadian Labour Congress Executive Vice-President Donald Lafleur, Steering Committee members received briefings about the International Labour Process Conference (ILPC) 2016 that took place in April where many members presented their research.

As well, members learned about the new ACW-W3 book to be published by Marjorie G. Cohen on climate, gender, policy and work in rich countries in paperback as well as hardcover, and considered new opportunities for collaboration between the ACW project and other organizations.

Several exciting events are being planned as well, including public panels in Ottawa and Toronto following the U.S. election in the Fall of 2016, and a major public event in Vancouver linking ACW’s work with the Green Jobs BC conference.

Steering Committee members also funded five new research projects that will be conducted in Canada, the U.K., the U.S., and the E.U by participating researchers and partner institutions. In addition, members endorsed the establishment of a network of Graduate Research Fellows of the ACW project.

Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective (ACW) is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Partnership Program–funded project, based at York University.

Greener Jobs Alliance (UK) promotes skills training and job creation to green the whole economy

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The Greener Jobs Alliance (GJA) has been formed as a partnership body inclusive of trade unions, student organisations, campaigning groups and a policy think tank. It campaigns around the issue of jobs and the skills needed to transition to a low-carbon economy. The founding members of the GJA are the University and College Union, Trades Union Congress, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, National Union of Students, People & Planet, and the Institute of Public Policy Research.

 

Learn more at Greener Jobs Alliance

 

Four Massachusetts teens just won a major victory for the environment

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On Tuesday, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that the state hasn’t abided by the environmental reforms laid out in the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act. The decision overturned rulings by lower courts that sided with the state, marking a reversal from previous opinions. Now, the state’s Department of Energy Protection must take a number of specific measures to make sure that by 2020, the state emits 25% fewer greenhouse gases than it did in 1990.

 

Read the full article on Fusion.net

 

ACW Baseline Report – Built Environment

By John Calvert

Associate Professor
Faculty of Health Sciences
Simon Fraser University, Canada

 

The overall aim of the Built Environment Working Group is to research the labour and labour process implications of transitioning to a low carbon, energy efficient building industry.

This Baseline Report has the following goals:

  1. To establish the current state of knowledge about the contribution of the workforce to ‘greening’ the construction industry;
  2. To assess the potential of labour to shape the industry’s carbon footprint.
  3. To identify barriers to the successful participation of the workforce in developing pathways to low carbon construction and develop strategies to circumvent these barriers.
  4. To identify needed modifications to employment, employment conditions, working practices and the overall organization of construction work that will improve the capacity of the workforce to implement low carbon construction (effective health and safety provisions, integrated team‐based work practices, improved vocational education and training (VET), union representation and a greater say for the workforce in shaping the industry’s future).
  5. To examine the current and potential role of unions and professional organizations in advancing this process.
  6. To analyze the workforce implications of widely used policy tools, such as energy efficiency targets, building codes and contract procurement requirements in facilitating the transition to low carbon construction.
  7. To carry out research on the role of workers and the organizations that represent them in implementing specific, innovative low carbon projects which can serve as models for wider application in the building industry.

 

Download the full report (PDF)

 

 

The arsonists of Fort McMurray have a name

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By Martin Lukacs

These arsonists have a name and they’re hiding in plain view—because their actions, at the moment, are still considered legal. They’re the companies that helped turn the boreal forest into a flammable tinder-box. The same companies that have undermined attempts to rein in carbon emissions. The same companies that, by their very design, chase profits with no mind for the ecological and human consequences.

An uncovered report produced in 1970 by Imperial Oil, the Canadian branch of ExxonMobil, put it crystal clear: “Since pollution means disaster to the affected species, the only satisfactory course of action is to prevent it.” Except the oil company proceeded to spend decades lying about what they knew, and ensured the disaster would be as profound as possible.

 

Read the full article in The Guardian

 

ACW Baseline Report – Energy

By Trista Wood and Warren Mabee

Queen’s University
Kingston, Canada

Climate change is one of the most important issues Canada is facing. While greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions do arise from natural processes, the current rapid concentration of these gases in our atmosphere is primarily being driven by human activity. Changes to the climate affect all aspects of the natural environment and have the potential to affect the Canadian economy, infrastructure, energy supply and demand, manufacturing, and services. As a consequence, it is critical that Canada move to curb these emissions.

As a signatory of the Executive summary (UNFCCC), Canada signed onto the Copenhagen Accord (December 2009) thereby committing to reduce its GHG emissions to 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. The commitment represents a significant challenge for an expanding economy that is expected to be 31% larger in 2020 than it was in 2005 (Environment Canada 2014). In order to follow through on this commitment the Government of Canada is taking a sector-by-sector approach to GHG regulation and reduction.

Canada’s GHG emissions are largely related to the production and use of energy across the country. A review of all energy-related emissions are provided in the pages that follow, along with projections of future energy use. It is shown that oil and gas, transport, and buildings are the sectors most responsible for our increased emission profile. Growth in industrial and transport energy use will demand significantly more fossil fuel unless policy interventions push us towards ‘greener’ scenarios; using projections from the Trottier Energy Futures Project (TEFP 2016), two such scenarios are explored, one focused on sustainable urban development, and the other on a future where new electricity generation from nuclear sources is constrained. In both of these scenarios, the amount of electricity used in every sector increases dramatically. This suggests that a critical issue of the future will be designing new electricity generation in order to benefit both society and the workers who are engaged in the projects.

 

Download the full report (PDF)

 

ACW Baseline Subreport – Policies and Practices to Promote Work Enhancing Pathways in the Transition to a Low Carbon Economy

By Fred Steward

Professor, Policy Studies Institute
University of Westminster, London

This draft review gives an overview of the European policy context with regard to climate change. It identifies a new pervasive political discourse on the transition to a low carbon society which places a major issue of environmental sustainability high on the policy agenda. This is also associated with greater attention to policies on industry and innovation which overlap conventional trade union concerns. The transition policy framing highlights the need for active policy influence on transformative change.

An analysis is presented of the views of the principal Europe-wide trade union organization, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) on this new policy context for environmental sustainability and climate change. This is based on publicly available documentary sources along with reports on a selection of European national trade union confederation initiatives and recent developments in trade union/labour movement policy by European policy institutions and analysts.

The focus of this review is to identify new policies and practices which engage with the ‘transition to a green, low-carbon economy’ from the perspective of proactive initiatives to promote work-enhancing pathways. The aim is to assess recent policy reviews and proposals in order to map out a new work-enhancing green economy transition agenda. This could form the basis for subsequent action-oriented research strands with particular policy players.

Particular aspects of interest are:

  • Engagement with the new framework of sociotechnical transitions in contrast to the established frameworks of ecological modernization or market based instruments. This embraces purposive transformative goals, a mix of social and technological innovation, and a key role for a diverse coalition of societal actors Recognition of the possibility of alternative transition pathways and that choices between them may have different implications for job creation, employment and working conditions, and skill development arising from contrasting emphases on technological production and social use, singular new products/processes versus wider system innovation, one-off skills or long term vocational change
  • Action at multiple levels of governance, not just at the national or sectoral level. Of particular interest is the role of new developments in policy and practice involving partnership with cities, local authorities and regions
  • Interventions, which are not simply reactive in terms of justice or job protection, but proactively intervene to shape the nature of the green transition, and promote an awareness of the potential role of trade unions as environmental actors or innovators
Download the full report (PDF)

 

 

Get rich, or save the planet? Why not both?

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by Dan Woynillowicz, Merran Smith and Clare Demerse

 

The federal government wasn’t the only thing that changed in 2015. Global energy markets roiled with unexpected changes: oil and gas prices plunged, as did capital investment. Coal companies were going bankrupt. And many analysts predicted that clean energy investment would similarly stall out; how, they asked, could renewable energy possibly compete with cheap oil, gas and coal?

But clean energy did compete — and it won.

As Bloomberg New Energy Finance reports, more money was invested in clean energy in 2015 — a record US$329 billion — than in oil and gas (US$321 billion). That trend also held when you looked only at investments in electricity generation, with investment in renewable energy outstripping investment in fossil fuel power by a margin greater than two-to-one.

The countries that saw most of this investment are also worth noting: for the first time, more money was invested in clean energy in developing countries than in developed ones. Clean energy investment in China was up 17 per cent to US$110 billion last year, and China is expected to remain the world’s dominant clean energy player in the years ahead. India saw clean energy investment rise 23 per cent to US$10.9 billion — and with some of the most aggressive renewable energy growth targets in the world, India is just getting started.

Investment was up also in leading developed countries: Investment in the United States grew 7 per cent to US$56 billion, rose 3 per cent to US$43.6 billion in Japan, and the UK saw investment grow 23 per cent to US$23.4 billion.

How did Canada fare? Not so well: we saw a dramatic 46 per cent drop in clean energy investment, to US$4 billion.

But there are signs that 2015 will prove anomalous, rather than the start of a trend. The end of 2015 was marked by a flurry of changes in Canada’s clean energy landscape: new commitments to renewable power in Alberta and Saskatchewan, the promise of carbon pricing in more provinces and a renewed federal commitment to climate leadership on the global stage in Paris. This was reinforced by the Vancouver Declaration, which saw provincial and territorial leaders and the new prime minister agree to work together to develop a pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change, and implement it by early 2017.

“The future markets, the technologies, the energy systems will be low-carbon,” Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Program, said during a visit to Canada earlier this year. “Whether you build the next pipeline or not … the economy of Canada will not be centered around a fossil-fuel based extractive economy.”

While carbon-based fuels will remain an important part of the global energy system and Canada’s economy for decades to come, their dominance and longevity are increasingly uncertain. Take just two of our fossil fuel exports — oil and gas.

Canada’s oilsands are a high-cost, high-carbon source of oil, so today’s low oil prices are already posing a challenge to the sector. As we move to an increasingly low-carbon world, demand for oil — particularly oil with a high carbon footprint — can be expected to drop.

A perfect illustration of what the transition to low-carbon means for oil demand comes from projections that show a significant scaling-up of electric cars. A recent analysis from Bloomberg found that continued declines in the cost of electric car batteries — they fell 35 per cent last year alone — will make electric vehicles cost-competitive with internal combustion engines by 2022.
That would drive a big boost in electric vehicle sales — and the displacement of 2 million barrels per day of oil demand by 2028.

And why is 2 million barrels per day of oil displacement significant? It’s a glut of oil on the market, equivalent to what triggered the 2014 oil crisis.

The prospects for liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports also face growing uncertainty. The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently released data showing that LNG imports into Japan, South Korea and China dropped five per cent in 2015. And just as demand for LNG is softening, there has been a surge in LNG production. The result? Stubbornly low prices and fierce competition among would-be LNG producers.

B.C. is competing with a host of other prospective LNG suppliers, but it’s also competing with other forms of energy. The restart of nuclear reactors in Japan, coupled with growing use of renewable energy, is expected to push down LNG imports by as much as 10.5 per cent by 2020. And a recent study from economists at the Brattle Group, a respected economic consultancy, suggests that North American LNG faces increasing competition from renewable energy.

The Brattle group’s study, LNG and Renewable Power: Risk and Opportunity in a Changing World, finds intensifying links between global natural gas and electricity markets. With renewable power costs falling all the time, the study suggests there is significant investment risk in proposed LNG export projects in North America: Why import LNG when you can use clean power for less? The Brattle group concludes that if the cost of renewable power is low enough in the markets to which B.C. wants to sell LNG, “it could dampen the attractiveness of North American-sourced LNG as a fuel for electric generation and the willingness of market participants to continue to contract for LNG export infrastructure.”

So when Prime Minister Trudeau recently told the World Economic Forum that his predecessor “wanted you to know Canada for its resources … I want you to know Canadians for our resourcefulness,” he was, like Wayne Gretzky, skating to where the puck is headed. We’re going to need that resourcefulness to seize the opportunity of transitioning our energy system to clean energy, and to effectively capture its export potential.

Which brings us back to the Vancouver Declaration and its commitment to delivering a pan-Canadian framework for clean growth and climate change. What would success look like?

Countries leading the way on clean energy and climate action — developing new technologies and services, deploying them at home and exporting them abroad — stand to benefit economically and environmentally, and will emerge as the energy leaders and economic winners of the 21st century. If we’re truly going to realize a pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change, we need a unified climate and energy plan — call it a clean energy plan — that delivers on both our emission reduction obligations and our economic aspirations.

Central to such a plan must be the role that electricity will play in decarbonizing Canada’s economy, as illustrated by study after study, which should be assertively communicated as a key strength and advantage for Canada. As the Canadian Council of Academies’ recent report on Technology and Policy Options for a Low-Emission Energy System in Canada noted, “low-emission electricity is the foundation for economy-wide emission reductions in transportation, buildings and industry.”

In other words, we need to electrify parts of the economy currently reliant on fossil fuels. As the Canadian Council on Renewable Electricity has noted, the fact that we already have such a clean grid (Canada’s power is 65 per cent renewable today) and plentiful renewable energy resources distributed across the country offers Canada a competitive advantage over our peers. But it’s going to take a joint effort by federal and provincial governments to enable growth in renewable energy at the scale we need. That means choosing smart, strategic clean energy policies across Canada, from carbon pricing to electricity infrastructure.

Beyond the economic opportunities associated with deploying more renewable energy and other clean energy solutions in Canada, careful consideration needs to be given to how governments can foster and support export opportunities for Canadian companies — from clean electrons to the U.S to clean energy technologies and services to markets around the world.

Thanks to President Obama’s Clean Power Plan south of the border — which expressly allows states to import new Canadian clean power as a means of attaining their targets — the North American Electric Reliability Council believes that Canadian power exports to the U.S. could triple by 2030.

Looking beyond our neighbour, there are growing clean energy opportunities in markets around the world, including key trading partners such as countries in the EU, Africa and Asia. Canadian project developers, technology developers, manufacturers and energy service providers are eager to take advantage of those opportunities. Competing successfully will require dedicated support from the federal government, which could be modelled after President Obama’s American Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Export Initiative, launched in 2009.

After a decade of federal indifference to climate and clean energy, we have some catching up to do. So it’s great news that Canada’s governments have set themselves an aggressive deadline to deliver a national framework for clean growth and climate change. If they succeed, it will prove to be a turning point for the future of Canada and all Canadians.

 

Clare Demerse is a senior policy advisor at Clean Energy Canada, and Participating Researcher with the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change Research Group.

 

Originally Published in iPolitics | May 12, 2016

 

Visit iPolitics

 

Speed of oilsands restart depends on workers’ return

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By Canadian Press business reporter Dan Healing

 

Warren Mabee, director of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy at Queen’s University, said he thinks the companies will be anxious to see people allowed back into Fort McMurray as soon as possible because a stable workforce is critical to their operations.

“I would be looking for a better update on what’s happening on the ground,” he said. “The oilsands can continue to operate — as we said, they haven’t really lost a lot of their critical infrastructure — but what they have lost, right now, is the support mechanism that the whole city represented and that is significant.

“Without that, their costs go through the roof. It’s essential to those companies that the city gets up and running even if all the neighbourhoods aren’t inhabited, even if all of it isn’t back where it was.”

Mabee said an extended period of downtime due to infrastructure or staffing issues could lead to the industry requesting financial help through bailouts or tax incentives.

 

Warren Mabee, director of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy at Queen’s University. He is also Associate Director of the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change Research Group.

 

Read the full article in the Calgary Herald

 

Summer road trips: Can electric cars handle long drives?

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by Renee Tratch
Digital Writer, theweathernetwork.com

Can the summer road trip go electric? Yes, says Keith Brooks, Director of Clean Energy at Environmental Defence.
“It can be done but it does take some planning.”

The shift from gas to electric vehicles (EV) has been happening on Canadian roads, with almost 20,000 sold in Canada to date.

For EV owners, whether living in rural or urban settings, a pure electric car on the market today will get them to their daily destinations on a single charge (that’s about 100 to 150 km; 450km with a Tesla.) But it’s the long-distance trips that are posing the biggest barriers.

“There are some gaps across the middle of Canada right now,” says Brooks. “You would really have to be strategic planning out your drive.”

Keith Brooks is the director of the Clean Economy Program at Environmental Defence. He is also a Participating Researcher with the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change Research Group.

 

Read the full article on the Weather Network

Considering Just Transition in an Australian Context

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Why Work And Workers Matter In The Environmental Debate” appeared in the March 19 issue of Green Agenda, an online forum hosted by the Green Institute , a think thank associated with Australia’s Green Party.

It provides an introduction to the prevailing arguments about a green transition, with Australian examples and context, and argues

  1. that the world of work is a critical element in a successful shift to a green economy, and
  2. that political parties and environmental organizations in Australia need to engage more deeply with the concerns and interests of workers in the face of labour market and job disruptions.

Pointing to the “more nuanced” positions of the Leap Manifesto, the 350 movement, and Australia’s Earthworker Co-operative,  the author challenges leaders in politics, business, the environmental movement, and the labour movement, to craft and  implement Just Transition policies which re-imagine work and society, providing North American and Australian examples of what is at risk for communities and workers.

The author, Caleb Goods, is a Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia, and this essay draws on his work as  a Co-Investigator in the Adapting Canadian Work & Workplaces to Climate Change (ACW) project at York University.

Originally published on Work and Climate Change Report | March 28th, 2016

 

ACW Baseline Subreport – Labor Unions and Green Transitions in the U.S.

By Dimitris Stevis

Professor, Department of Political Science
Colorado State University, U.S.

 

This draft baseline report provides an exploratory overview of US labor union proposals and practices regarding a green transition. It focuses, primarily, on national level unions and it does not examine proposals from other organizations. The role of labor unions at the state and local levels as well as a more systematic review of non-union proposals that explicitly address work and workers will be covered in the amplified report. My goal is not to speculate whether a green transition of some kind will take place in the US or whether workers will benefit from such a transition. Rather, one goal is to explore whether workers and unions are striving to be the agents and authors of such a green transition and what political dynamics may prevent or enable them to do so. A second goal is to explore how inclusive or exclusive the green transitions envisioned by unions may be.

The first part of this report clarifies the analytical approach that is employed and, in particular, the interface of sociotechnical transitions, politics, social power and institutions. The second part provides an overview of union strategies by sector or industry. I close with some comments about green transitions that set the agenda for additional research.

 

Download the full report (PDF)

 

Cap-and-trade alone not enough to fight climate change

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by Keith Brooks

In the coming weeks, Ontario will finalize a new law and a regulation that will guide the province’s approach to climate action for decades to come. Carbon pricing through cap-and-trade is just one part of that plan. Which is good, because carbon pricing alone is not sufficient to cut carbon emissions to the extent required.

A key feature of Ontario’s approach is to use revenues from cap-and-trade to fund actions to further reduce carbon pollution, which is a good idea — if the province chooses those actions wisely and learns from the experiences of other jurisdictions about what not to do.

British Columbia’s example shows that a price on carbon alone is not enough to sufficiently cut emissions. At $30 per tonne, B.C. has the highest carbon price in North America. Yet, B.C. is not on track to meet its carbon reduction targets. Rather, emissions in B.C. are rising. Why? Because the price is too low and because the province’s revenue neutral system leaves no money to fund complementary programs to reduce emissions.

To rely solely on pricing, economic models say that the price of carbon needs to be $100 to $200 per tonne to achieve significant emissions reductions. And that kind of price isn’t on the table. So, a combination of carbon pricing plus complementary actions is needed.

In contrast to B.C., Ontario is taking a more comprehensive approach to fighting climate change in its Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, which is working its way through Queen’s Park. But the Act needs strengthening if it’s going to be effective.

First, the good news. The Act enshrines Ontario’s emission reduction targets in law. And the targets are solid, calling for a 37 per cent reduction of emissions by 2030 and an 80 per cent reduction by 2050. The Act puts a limit on carbon pollution — the “cap” in cap-and-trade — and says the limit will decline steadily, which will help the province reach its targets.

The legislation puts a price on carbon of about $18 per tonne across most of the emissions in the Ontario economy. It’s not as high as B.C.’s price, and at less than 5 cents per litre of gasoline, it’s unlikely to have much of an impact on people’s behaviour. To those who complain that things will cost a little more under carbon pricing, the reality is that, if anything, the price is too low. But it’s a good start and the price should rise as the emission cap comes down.

The Act also commits Ontario to spending carbon-pricing revenues on cutting carbon emissions, which is the right course of action if the province is to reach its emissions reduction targets. Through the auction of permits under the cap-and-trade program, the government expects to raise about $2 billion each year, which it promised to reinvest in a variety of initiatives that will reduce emissions. This revenue is absolutely crucial to fight climate change by allowing the province to invest in the things we need more of, like more renewable energy, more energy efficiency, and pollution-free transportation options.

Ontario’s Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act is on the right track but, the Act will only be effective if cap-and-trade revenues are used for new initiatives that will significantly reduce carbon emissions. To ensure this is what happens, the rules around the use of revenue need to be tightened up before the new law is finalized. The current proposal says the money needs to be reinvested in climate action, but as written, it’s possible for the funds to be misspent on projects with dubious environmental benefits, or on projects already committed to by the government.

Quebec offers a cautionary tale on the use of cap-and-trade revenue. Quebec’s Auditor General has criticized the management of Quebec’s green fund, where the cap-and-trade revenues are deposited. Monies from that account were used to fund an oil pipeline and to fix one of Air Canada’s planes. The surest way to undermine confidence in cap-and-trade would be for Ontario to follow suit.

The good news is that there’s still time to strengthen the Act. And the really good news is that Ontario is taking a comprehensive approach to fighting climate change, which is what’s needed.

 

Keith Brooks is the director of the Clean Economy Program at Environmental Defence. He is also a Participating Researcher with the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change Research Group.

 

Originally published in the Toronto Star  | April 13, 2016

 

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New tools for unions: Sample Green Clauses in Canadian Collective Agreements

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By Elizabeth Perry

The Work in a Warming World (W3) research project has compiled a collection of “greening” clauses from Canadian collective agreements. W3 and ACW are sharing this information on our websites to help unions who want to fight climate change by bringing environmental issues into their collective bargaining priorities. Our report provides samples clauses from our database, details of how the clauses were collected , and links to green bargaining handbooks from unions.

The collection allows for searching or browsing, and is organized into folders about: workplace environmental committees, recycling and conservation, commuting, green procurement, training and education, and social responsibility.

Image of Zotero database for Green Collective Agreements

 

To make suggestions, comments, or ask questions: acwinfo@yorku.ca or elizabethperry493@gmail.com

 

Click here for the Toolbox Report of sample clauses (PDF) 

 

Click here to go to the full database to search or browse all clauses 

Constructing sustainable buildings in a warming world

 

An interview with ACW participating researcher, John Calvert
Originally published by Simon Fraser University

Did you know buildings account for almost 40 per cent of Canada’s final energy consumption and roughly 20 per cent of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions?

SFU health sciences associate professor John Calvert recently argued the need for low-carbon practices in construction in one of two chapters he wrote for Work in a Warming World, a book published in 2015.

In his chapter “Construction and Climate Change,” he writes, “The main challenge the construction-industry faces is the need for much greater investment in training the workforce in low-carbon building techniques. This needs to be supplemented by tougher building regulations and effective enforcement of building codes to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings.”

Read more

 

Why work and workers matter in the environmental debate

 

ACW participating researcher Caleb Goods has recently had a short essay, titled Why work and workers matter in the environmental debate (March 19, 2016) published in the Green Agenda (Australia)

It is not hard to imagine that the world of work is a place of deep ecological impact that will be fundamentally changed by endeavours to green the economy. The implications of climate change for all workers and employers are enormous: the International Labour Organisation (ILO) suggests that 80 per cent of Europe’s CO2 emissions come from industrial production. Thus, the world of work is a critical site of ecological harm and therefore needs to be a site of deep environmentally focused transformation. The interconnection between work and climate change has lead Professor Lipsig-Mumme to conclude, ‘[g]lobal warming is likely to be the most important force transforming work and restructuring jobs in the first half of the twenty-first century’.1 The reality is all work and industries must fundamentally change, and will be changed by the climate we are creating as we enter a new geological epoch – the Anthropocene2 Climate change is challenging the future of work in highly polluting industries, such as coal, and climate change related events are already impacting workers. For example, a 2015 heat wave in India resulted in taxi unions in Kolkata urging drivers to avoid working between 11am and 4pm to reduce the risk of heat exhaustion.

The question of how work-related environmental impacts could be reduced is urgent. It is clear that all jobs and all workplaces will need to be significantly greener to preserve a liveable planet. I am not suggesting that jobs in highly polluting fossil fuel industries can be greened, greening work will require industry restructuring and transformation, but it will demand the closing down of some industries in the medium to longer term. Thus, the transition I am referring to here, the “greening” of our economy, is a societal transformation whereby economic, social and political processes are shifted away from an economic growth imperative to an ecological feasibility focus that demands work, and all that this encompasses, is both environmentally and socially defensible.

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Trudeau needs unions to achieve his ambitious climate agenda

 

By Carla Lipsig-Mummé

Prime Minister Trudeau has invited Canada’s unions to bring their expertise to one of his new government’s top priorities: climate change.

His request has a lot of people talking. He made the appeal at an historic meeting of last fall, the first time in more than 50 years that a sitting Prime Minister has attended the Canadian Labour Congress’ gathering of union leaders.

“Labour is not a problem, but a solution,”Trudeau said, signalling a clear departure from the previous Conservative government’s contemptuous attitude toward organized labour.

The Trudeau government is on the right track. In fact, labour’s involvement in efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change is not just helpful, it is essential.

In recent research, the International Labour Organization found that the world of work in industrialized countries like Canada produces 80 per cent of human-created greenhouse gas emissions.That’s why the transition to a green economy will require the transition of work: adapt work to mitigate the greenhouse gases produced by work itself.

During the last decade, when Canadian unions were seen as the problem rather than part of a solution, unions made some gains.

In Alberta, unionized workers and environmentalists found common cause in preventing the harm caused by the rapid expansion of the oilsands.They stood together and were arrested together in protests on Parliament Hill.

Similarly, auto workers lobbied unsuccessfully for the federal and Ontario government to encourage Ford to build its new, fuel-efficient engines in Windsor instead of Mexico.The union recognizes that future jobs in Canada depend on building vehicles that appeal to climate-conscious consumer, not gas-guzzlers that have limited appeal at home and little hope of success in export markets.

Canadian unions are now preparing for a ‘just transition’ from a high-carbon to a low-carbon economy.The term, coined in Canada in the late 1990s was adopted worldwide. It puts the workforce front and centre in moving to low-carbon in the Canadian economy and describes a three-pronged shift.

First, unions use their expert knowledge to identify ways to reduce GHGs in the workplace.

Second, working actively with governments, unions negotiate how work is actually to be ‘greened’ in the private and public sectors.

Third, unions contribute to developing a nationwide campaign for environmental literacy, including green training for young workers and workers shifting to low-carbon production.

Financial provision is made for those workers whose industries become stranded assets. In the new, low-carbon economy, unions will be at the creative forefront in the struggle to slow global warming.

Just transition is also unfolding at the bargaining table as ‘climate bargaining.’ Workers generally know where, in their workplaces or supply chains, energy is wasted and how goods transportation could be made more efficient. Ordinary members in the whole range of workplaces—from universities to hospitals to mines to stores—have ideas about how to save energy.They want to help reorganize the workplace to make it more environmentally responsible.

‘Climate negotiators’ are beginning to be trained by their unions to include GHG mitigation clauses in collective bargaining. Unions in a whole sector are beginning to develop ‘green plans’ with environment-conscious employers, setting joint GHG reduction targets, measuring GHG reduction annually, making sure that successes are widely known and borrowed.

Climate bargaining is growing rapidly. York University’s project on Adapting Canadian Work and Workplace to Respond to Climate Change has built a database of environmental clauses negotiated into union contracts. Its the first of its kind, and contains over 100 ‘green clauses found in collective agreements across the country.The database is queried frequently by climate negotiators looking for ways help improve their workplace through collective bargaining.

Can Canada’s unions help to build a green economy? The answer is yes, they can. But it will require policy-makers to work closely with workers’ organizations like the Canadian Labour Congress and its broad array of member unions such as CUPE, Unifor, the Postalworkers, United Steelworkers, Public Service Alliance of Canada, United Food and Commercial Workers, and others, to ensure that the false ‘jobs vs. environment’ argument does not derail efforts to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Following the Paris summit in 2015, CLC President Hassan Yussuff said,‘The collaborative approach we saw in Paris must continue as Canada moves forward to meet and realize its commitments. Governments at every level, as well as business, labour and civil society organizations all have a responsibility to work together and act urgently and decisively to protect this planet’s future.’

Now is the right time for the government, employers and unions to achieve a just transition that brings about a green economy built on fairness and cooperation.

Carla Lipsig-Mummé is Professor of Work and Labour Studies at York University and Lead Researcher of the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change Research Group.

carlalm@yorku.ca

This article appeared in The Hill Times on February 1, 2016
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Open Your Mind: A Q&A with Carla Lipsig-Mummé

Appearing at regular intervals in YFile, “Open Your Mind” is a series of articles offering insight into the different ways York University professors, researchers and graduate students champion fresh ways of thinking in their research and teaching practices. Their approaches, grounded in a desire to seek the unexpected, are charting new courses for future generations.

Today, the spotlight is on Carla Lipsig-Mummé, the principal investigator of the seven-year SSHRC grant titled “Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective”. She was also the principal investigator of the tri-agency research project “What do we know? What do we need to know?” and principal investigator of the CURA research program “Work in a Warming World.”

She is also a professor of work and labour studies in the Department of Social Science, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.

Read more

 

New seven-year partnership to find ways to improve and adapt the workplace

 

By Shawn Connor, The Vancouver Sun

There has been a lot of work and research focused on the science of climate change. But there hasn’t been much focus on the way in which workers and workplaces will have to change to mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change, John Calvert says.

The Simon Fraser University health sciences associate professor is part of a major new seven-year research partnership that will identify steps that can be taken to reduce the carbon-footprint in a number of areas of the economy, with a focus on the workplace and workers.

The national project is called Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective. The York University-led partnership will receive $2.5 million in funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and more than $2.2 million in matching funding and contributions from partnering organizations. Partners include labour unions and business organizations, government and public sector organizations, think tanks, universities and environmental groups.

Read more

 

ACW Baseline Report – Domestic Policy

 

By Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)

 

This report provides an overview of the Canadian policies and financing instruments designed to discourage the emission of carbon and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere (“green policies”). The report is focused in particular on energy policy in Canada as it relates to the production and consumption of “clean” as opposed to “dirty” energy. Energy use is directly responsible for the vast majority of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, which means any policies that encourage or discourage the production or consumption of different kinds of energy has a direct impact on those emissions. The report also presents and assesses the policy visions of Canadian governments (federal, provincial, and territorial) as they relate to energy production and consumption in the context of climate change.

To this end, the report is guided by two research questions:

  1. What policies and financing instruments have Canadian governments implemented so far to encourage or discourage different kinds of greenhouse gas-emitting activity?
  2. What green policy visions have Canadian governments put forward and what actions have they promised to take on greenhouse gas-emitting activity moving forward?
Download the full report (PDF)

SSHRC awards more than $2.5 million in funding to York-led research partnerships

Carla Lipsig-Mummé, professor of work and labour studies in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, has received more than $2.5 million over seven years through the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Partnership Grants program.

Lipsig-Mummé will lead a project titled “Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective”, which investigates how best Canada’s diverse workplaces can adapt work in order to mitigate greenhouse gases. The project will also examine the changes needed in law and policy, work design and business models for industry and services, to assist the “greening” of workplaces and work. Among the goals of the project, Lipsig-Mummé and her research team hope to develop work-based strategies to reduce greenhouse gases and energy use and integrate international and national best practices into Canadian work. Training for highly qualified work-based environmental change experts is also planned.

“It goes without saying that slowing global warming is a huge issue,” says Lipsig-Mummé. “The world of work has been neglected terrain in responding to climate change, but the structures of work, of modern business organizations, and of unions make it easier, not harder, to adapt work in order to mitigate greenhouse gases. After all, work creates the majority of GHGs produced by human activity in developed countries like Canada.”

The national project, which will also receive more than $2.2 million in matching funding and contributions from partnering organizations, includes 38 individual members and 19 partners in four countries. The team’s partners are labour unions and business organizations, government and public sector organizations, think tanks, universities and environmental groups. Team expertise spans natural and applied sciences, engineering, management, law, environmental studies, social sciences and organizational leadership.

“We are delighted by the results of the recent SSHRC competitions, reflecting York’s leadership in large-scale collaborative research projects,” said Robert Haché, York’s vice-president research and innovation. “Professor Lipsig-Mummé is conducting important research with partners in government, academia and public sector organizations to help workplaces in Canada address important issues of climate change and develop work-based strategies to reduce greenhouse gases and energy use.

Two York researchers also received $313,396 in funding under the Partnership Development Grants Program, which provides support to foster new research and related activities with new or existing partners; and to design and test new partnership approaches for research and/or related activities.

“York University is committed to supporting the growth and development of initiatives to enable the recognition of the University as a Canadian leader in sustainability research,” added Haché.

The announcement was made earlier today by the Honourable Minister of State (Science and Technology) Ed Holder. In total, $44 million is being awarded to support funding for 57 new Partnership Development Grants and 14 Partnership Grants.

For a complete list of Partnership Grant and Partnership Development Grant awards, visit the SSHRC website.

Arielle Zomer, Research Communications, York University, 416-736-2100 ext. 21069, azomer@yorku.ca