A strategy for implementing electric vehicle charging systems at Canada Post offices

Christopher Schwartz, CUPW; Warren Mabee, Queen’s University, with José Etcheverry, York University



British Columbia’s Housing Crisis as an Opportunity to Promote Public Transit Infrastructure Development and Reduce GHG Emissions

Jim Chorostecki and Lynn Bueckert, British Columbia Federation of Labour, with Marjorie Cohen, Simon Fraser University and Warren Mabee, Queen’s University



Environmental Action Education: Developing material for local union activists

Gerry Leblanc, United Steelworkers Canada, with Nancy Hutchison, United Steelworkers Canada



Tracking the low-carbon transition: evaluating climate and just transition policies in Canada

Bruce Campbell, Chair, ACW Domestic Policy Working Group & Senior Fellow, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, with Professor Elaine Bernard, Harvard University

This project has two main components. The first is a continuation of the Domestic Policy Working Group’s ongoing efforts to evaluate government plans and actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. The second is a renewed focus on the question of a “just transition” in Canada, which has largely been overlooked in government climate policy to date.

To these ends, the project is grounded in two central research questions.

i) What policies are Canadian governments putting in place in 2017 to transition toward a low-carbon economy?

Significant new climate plans and other high-level strategies were announced by Canada’s federal and provincial governments in 2016. Those plans are the focus of four papers produced by the Domestic Policy Working Group in 2016-2017. However, the next 12 months are poised to be just as or even more important in Canada’s efforts to combat global climate change. In 2017 we expect to see fewer high-level plans but more tangible climate policies as governments translate their promises into actions. Whether the details of climate regulation and legislation live up to the promises (and targets) is a crucial question.

The project will build on the Working Group’s previous reports in its efforts to comprehensively
document and analyze Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy at the policy level.

Additional research questions include:

  • How do the likely emission reduction impacts of new policies compare to governments’ emission targets?
  • How do new policies compare to similar policies in other jurisdictions?
  • Do new policies address the need for a just transition for vulnerable workers and communities?
  • Do new policies augment or undermine existing policies, including at the international level (e.g. Paris Agreement)?
  • Are new policies as ambitious as called for by the scientific and economic communities?

The project will deliver a final summary report on the “state of play in 2017” in early 2018, which will be modelled after the Working Group’s 2017 summary report. The report will break down progress at the provincial and federal level and compare it to updated data on emissions, energy production/consumption, number of fossil fuel jobs, and other relevant indicators.

ii) How are Canadian governments ensuring that the transition to a low-carbon economy is a just transition for workers and their communities?

Despite significant attention being paid to some aspects of Canada’s low-carbon transition (e.g. the need for renewable energy and improved energy efficiency), climate-related employment policy is severely underdeveloped. All of the government plans announced in 2016 make some mention of jobs and economic growth, but they mostly fail to specify how those plans will ensure the inevitable transition is an equitable and prosperous one. In the absence of just transition policies, the shift to a low-carbon future will cause unnecessary social and economic hardships which, as an added concern, may undermine public support for climate policies.

This project will build on the Working Group’s initial working paper on just transition policies in Canada as well as the CCPA’s previous work on climate justice in the British Columbia context.

Additional research questions include:

    • How extensive is the need for just transition policies nationally and provincially?
    • To what extent has government rhetoric on “clean growth” been supported by economic policies to ensure a just transition?
    • How could climate plans incorporate employment policies to address the potential impacts on workers?
    • How do government employment and just transition policies compare with those advocated by the Canadian labour movement and those proposed by think tanks, academics and other independent researchers?

The project will deliver a working paper addressing these questions (at the federal and provincial level) in fall 2017. The paper will serve as a baseline report for a larger ACW research
agenda on just transition.

View Project Report