I call the meeting to order. Good afternoon, everyone.
Welcome to meeting number 22 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources.
Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee is continuing its study of creating a fair and equitable Canadian energy transformation. Today is our sixth meeting with witnesses on this study.
Today's meeting is taking place in a hybrid format, pursuant to the House order of November 25, 2021. Members are attending in person in room or remotely by using the Zoom application.
We'd like to remind all participants, now that we've started, that taking pictures or screenshots is not allowed, but we are being broadcast on the House of Commons website.
As per the directive of the Board of Internal Economy, all those attending the meeting in person are asked to wear a mask, except for those at the table. If you want to take off your mask while speaking, you're welcome to do that, but if you're moving about the room, please wear a mask.
For the benefit of any new witnesses who may not have testified before a committee like this before, please wait until I recognize you by name before speaking. For those participating by video conference, you need to click on the microphone icon to activate your mike, and we ask you to go on mute when not speaking. There is interpretation available for those on Zoom. You can choose “floor”, “English” or “French”. For those in the room, there is simultaneous interpretation, which you're welcome to use. All comments should be addressed through the chair.
On interpretation, I would like to encourage everyone to speak at a slow, conversational pace so that our interpreters can keep up. They're working very hard for the House these days, and it just makes their days a bit more manageable, so we ask for that assistance.
For those in the room, if you wish to speak, raise your hand. For those on Zoom, use the “raise hand” function. When we get into the questions and answers, I very much let the members control the time where they're directing it, so if you raise your hand and aren't selected, it's up to the members. Sometimes they have a specific line of questioning. Don't be offended by it.
We use a card system for timekeeping. The yellow card means that there are 30 seconds left, while red means that your time is up. Don't stop in mid-sentence, but do wind up your thought, and we'll move on to the next person.
I would like to welcome Madame Pauzé to our committee as a guest today.
Also, Mr. Morrice, welcome to our committee.
We have six witnesses—
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Good evening, members of the committee and fellow witnesses.
I want to acknowledge that I am speaking from Ottawa, located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation.
Colleges and Institutes Canada is Canada's largest post‑secondary education network. Our association has close to 700 campuses and access centres, and it works with governments, industries and non‑profit organizations to train millions of learners from diverse groups.
Our campuses are within 50 kilometres of 95% of Canadians and of 86% of indigenous peoples. We offer practical, flexible and affordable pathways for learners in urban, rural, northern and remote communities. We offer over 10,000 programs.
Our graduates are the backbone of the Canadian economy, the largest single group of Canadian workers, representing 34% of the workforce. Did you know that this means that 6.5 million Canadian workers are college graduates?
As we make the move to a carbon-neutral economy, it is a time of great uncertainty for many Canadians. In addition to appearing before you today, Colleges and Institutes Canada has been engaging closely with the Government of Canada on a fair and equitable energy transformation through written submissions, participation in round table discussions and delivering on green initiatives for many years.
We believe that win‑win solutions are not only possible, but that they also already exist. They can lead to commercialization and export opportunities for businesses, while creating talent pools and meaningful, well‑paying jobs for a green economy.
Colleges are committed to being catalysts and leaders in their communities and to putting their tools to work in decarbonization. For this reason, the Colleges and Institutes Canada network recommends that the federal government support the strengths of colleges to facilitate this transition, with three key recommendations.
First, we recommend supporting the implementation of national green skills training.
Second, we recommend supporting short course training options in colleges.
Third, we are requesting additional funding for applied research in colleges.
We can and want to do more.
I will now turn to my colleague, Dr. Janet Morrison, who will share how colleges and institutes are already preparing Canadians for this energy transformation and the net-zero economy of our future.
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and through you my thanks to the committee for providing me with the opportunity to address you today.
I am president of Seneca College here in Toronto, York Region and Peterborough. I have the honour to join you here today on behalf of the Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery, or, as we call it, simply C2R2. I am calling in from Toronto, the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.
C2R2 is a coalition of 15 climate-action-leading colleges, polytechnics, institutions and CEGEPs from across Canada from coast to coast to coast. We have the scale and the geography to reach thousands upon thousands of Canadians to help them move to new careers by enhancing current skills to support the transition to a carbon-neutral or low-carbon economy, as well as to foster equity, diversity and inclusion through a focus on women, under-represented populations and indigenous peoples.
My friends Denise and Janet are here as well from Colleges and Institutes Canada. Along with Polytechnics Canada, C2R2 has formed a special affiliation with a shared commitment to environmental sustainability and a resilient recovery for the economy. Together we're promoting our academic institutions as the key players in a people-centred just transition.
I want today to share with you three recommendations from our coalition related to the discussion paper.
My first relates—and it picks up on a point Denise made—to how funding opportunities are made available in our sector.
The NRCan discussion paper said that climate change is the challenge of our generation and that the transition to a low-carbon economy is also one of our greatest opportunities. Of course I couldn't agree more, and I'm sure all of the witnesses couldn't agree more, but with respect, I also want to suggest that the implementation of programs focused on those energy transitions must live up to the bold words in the paper and reflect the sense of urgency that I think most of us are feeling around the climate crisis.
Our institutions have to wait for open calls for proposals, perhaps once or twice a year, and then from a single department, and they often don’t align with project opportunities. That creates an unnecessary rush for partnerships and proposals.
I would suggest, again with respect, that six to eight months is a long time to wait for the review of a project submission. We are encouraging more of a whole-of-government approach to funding programs, with cross-departmental collaboration on low-carbon projects. To expedite the implementation, we suggest programs of ongoing intakes, rolling application dates and multiple opportunities to submit proposals.
My second recommendation relates to understanding the needs of workers and their employers in the critical phases of transitions.
Workers across industry, from manufacturing to information technology, are approaching us, all of us, for short-term upscaling and retraining to prepare them for those new careers and opportunities, but it's important to understand that in many cases these are not new jobs but in fact only existing jobs that are evolving over time. A fair and an equitable transition for our workforce requires supporting workers at all steps along the way, not only when the roles have in fact transformed into something brand new. It's very important to provide workers with supports throughout all those phases of incremental changes. That's part of how we'll strive to leave no one behind.
Finally, Mr. Chair, as we said in our submission on the just transition legislation, the needs of the Canadian workforce are in fact nuanced, and it's important to recognize that there are distinct groups of workers and they have different characteristics. The three large clusters are the upskilling workers, those already in the workforce who require short-cycle training and the incoming or new workers. These could be high school students coming into post-secondary education. They could be workers coming from entirely different careers or those returning to the workforce after having spent some time outside of it. Their educational journey will be much longer than that of those in the first group.
Then internationally, there are trades workers, workers who bring skills with them from other countries but who need supports. Each of these groups has different needs, and through the pathways and proven support systems that our institutions have developed, C2R2 has the strength to support all our learners, especially those who face added barriers through all stages of the transition into or within the workforce.
I look forward to your questions and the discussion, and again thank you for your time.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'd like to say that I'm currently on the unceded territory of the Anishinabe.
Honourable members of the committee, thank you for giving us the opportunity to appear before you. My name is Larry Rousseau, and I am the executive vice‑president of the Canadian Labour Congress, or CLC.
The CLC is Canada's largest labour organization. We represent over three million workers on national issues, including workers in high-emitting sectors.
I will make my opening remarks in English, but I invite you to ask your questions in the official language of your choice.
For years the CLC has been a passionate national and international advocate for just transition measures. Energy and resource sector workers already understand the grim reality of climate change, because they are living it, and they get the need to transition to clean and renewable sources of energy, but they insist—and we insist—that the transition benefit workers instead of occurring at their expense.
Workers must see their own future reflected in a vision of net-zero Canada. Otherwise, uncertainty, resentment and opposition will continue to frustrate the accelerated transition needed to meet our climate goals.
There's broad interest in the concept of a just transition, perhaps without it being well understood. A just transition can do a lot of things, but ultimately it is all about jobs.
Affected workers need decent new jobs to go to or a bridge to a pension and security for a decent old age. New jobs should be of equivalent quality to the ones that are disappearing, or better. People will understandably resist a transition that expects them to trade their family- and community-supporting wages, benefits and pensions for precarious, low-wage or unsafe work.
Ultimately, workers and communities need a plan. Workers need to know where the new jobs are and what the pathways are for them to get from here to there. Will there be training supports to provide the skills they need for the high-quality jobs that will exist? What's the plan for those communities that rely on emissions-intensive industries?
Workers and unions must play a role in the decisions made about their futures and the economic futures of their communities. This is at the heart of a just transition, and it's well defined in the United Nations just transition guidelines that have been negotiated at the International Labour Organization, the ILO.
Canada's unions support the commitment to bring in just transition legislation, but legislation on its own will not be enough, and may in fact exacerbate existing fears and skepticism about whether the just transition can deliver on the promise of a low-carbon economy built on high-quality family- and community-supporting jobs.
We need a blueprint that includes the types and numbers of jobs that will be needed to meet the needs of a net-zero economy. What are the investments needed to drive that job creation? What are the levers to ensure that those are high-quality jobs?
On training, I'm glad to see so many folks from the training sector here. Training is going to be a key component of a just transition. We need to ensure that investments in training will deliver the skills that will be needed for a net-zero future.
Union training centres are well positioned, by the way, to ensure that workers themselves are receiving high-quality appropriate training that aligns with the job opportunities at the other end. These training centres are not for profit and jointly trusteed, with a record of ensuring that both unionized and non-unionized workers are trained to the highest industry standards. Their programs are accredited in every province, with the exception of Quebec, and training is delivered by quality, experienced instructors.
Finally, we urge government to be wary of for-profit training operators who offer quick-fix programs that are going to leave workers ill-equipped to succeed in the shifting economy.
Mr. Chair, I think I've exhausted the time allotted to me, so I'll stop there.
I'm ready to answer any questions committee members may have.
Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for inviting me to share my thoughts on a fair and equitable energy transition.
My name is Kevin Nilsen. I'm the president and CEO of ECO Canada. ECO Canada is a national workforce development organization that's dedicated to supporting Canada's environmental sector from an HR perspective. We were established as a sector council in 1992, and we have since produced labour market intelligence to guide programs and services to support the sector's growth and help it reach its potential. We represent more than 3,000 certified environmental professionals with the EP designation, 35 academic programs that are accredited by us, and several thousand other stakeholders who work with us on training and employment programs.
I think it's important to look at the energy transformation as an opportunity rather than a threat. Clean tech, as an example, is a $2.5-trillion industry globally. This is a tremendous opportunity for Canada to position itself to claim a decent slice of the pie.
Transitioning economies is not really a new concept. The industrial revolution and more recent advancements in technologies and artificial intelligence have caused all sectors of our economy to frequently change and evolve. At every step, there is a fear of job loss and interruptions, but with the proper steps taken, this natural evolution should be embraced, not resisted. I believe that if we stick to the notion of a people-centred approach, we will be successful.
Other than safety, I believe there are two fundamental areas that people care about as they relate to their work. Number one is the ability to provide for themselves and their families and achieve or pursue prosperity. Number two is the ability to utilize their skills and interests in building a meaningful career. If the transition to a low-carbon economy keeps these fundamental focus areas at the forefront, I think we can achieve the transformation while also seeing a strong buy-in among all affected people. The aim must be a win-win.
Another important point to not downplay is that we're not shutting down a sector. The energy transformation does not mean we will overnight shut down one area and pivot entirely to another area. We will, as an example, depend on petroleum products for decades to come—if not for fuel, then certainly in various petrochemical products used in clothing and hospital equipment, to mention a couple of examples. The transition we’re talking about, at least as I see it, is that some workers will transition into new sectors, but others will transition their skill sets and remain in their current sector to help support energy efficiency, emissions reductions and so forth.
ECO Canada's focus is to ensure that there is an adequate supply of competent people to meet the current and future demand for environmental workers. The demand is high, and it keeps growing. During the first year of the pandemic, as an example, when Canada as a whole lost a million jobs, green employment continued to grow and had a net growth of 5%. Our estimates suggest that the sector will continue to grow at a rate of 17% to 2025. This growth, coupled with an estimated 30% retirement to 2029, poses some significant challenges for the sector, and attracting people from transforming sectors will be essential.
There are several great funding programs at the federal level to support this transition. Some of these include the sectoral workforce solutions program, the youth employment and skills strategy, skills for success and the Future Skills Centre. These and other programs that focus on employment support and skills enhancement efforts should continue to be prioritized to ensure that proper reskilling and upskilling is achieved as careers change and evolve.
I also speak frequently with employers, and a consistent message that I receive from start-up companies is that there's no shortage of support for R and D initiatives and start-up support. The challenge is that support ends before these companies are profitable. If companies are supported a bit longer, the investment will be returned to Canada in the form of income tax from successful businesses, and they will be capable of growing and competing globally. A scoping study we did on the clean tech sector revealed that Canada was number one globally in R and D investment per capita, but we only ranked 16th on the ability to generate revenue from it. This is another core focus area, as we need to ensure that our investments pay off for the benefit of all.
My final thoughts are centred around being aware of the unintended consequences of policy decisions. As we seek better and cleaner sources of energy, there are several unintended consequences that deserve more emphasis. With new technology, especially battery technology, we will increasingly be dependent on other countries for rare earth metals, parts and manufacturing. If manufacturing of parts, as an example, is done with the use of coal-powered energy abroad, this eliminates some of the emissions gain we hope to achieve globally. Where possible, we need to support Canadian mining and manufacturing, where we can more closely control the process while also ensuring that good jobs stay here.
Thank you very much. I look forward to your questions.
Mr. Chair and honourable committee members, thank you for inviting us to share with you some ideas on the skills and labour aspects of the transitions that are under way and those to come in terms of sustainable economies.
My name is Noel Baldwin. I'm the director of government and public affairs at the Future Skills Centre. With me is my colleague Dr. Tricia Williams, who is FSC's director of research, evaluation and knowledge mobilization.
Today we want to tell you a bit about FSC and share some emerging insights from our work that could support governments and other actors in their thinking about the skills and labour challenges to meet climate targets and build sustainable communities and economies for the future.
FSC is an independent, arm's-length action research centre hosted at Toronto Metropolitan University—formerly Ryerson University—and is a consortium formed in partnership with the Conference Board of Canada and BlueprintADE. It's funded through the Government of Canada’s future skills initiative and opened its doors in February 2019.
In three years, FSC has carved out an important role in Canada’s skills development ecosystems through $176 million invested in innovation projects for skills development that are operating in every province and territory; more than 100 research publications on current and future skills issues; and a network of more than 1,000 employers, industry leaders, labour organizations and skills and training practitioners working on future-focused solutions across more than 20 economic sectors, including industries experiencing disruption and high-growth sectors alike. FSC is also supporting more than 10,000 Canadians in receiving hands-on training and is delivering insights and impact that inform and support a skills development agenda that can help populations, regions and sectors successfully transition to meet future labour demands.
The need to get skills right is real. Our friends at the Conference Board have estimated that unmet skills needs cost the Canadian economy $25 billion dollars in 2020—about 1.3% of GDP—and that this figure has risen by 60% since 2015. The challenges ahead present an even more urgent need to do better.
I’ll turn it over to my colleague Dr. Williams, who will tell you about some of the ways we're applying that framework to thinking about skills for sustainable futures for Canada’s communities and economies.
Thank you to the honourable committee members for the opportunity to speak with you today.
Over the coming years, meeting net-zero targets will primarily be not a technology problem but a skills problem. This is a challenge that we will need to collectively solve together.
I’d like to share three areas of insight and recommendations for the committee as we face this challenge.
First, we've observed that nuanced regional understanding will be crucial for Canada. Transitioning to a net-zero economy may very well increase overall employment opportunities. However, we know that employment effects will vary by country and by region. Within Canada, we actually know very little thus far about how specific regions and sectors may be affected by energy transitions. In terms of labour and skills, that analysis simply hasn’t been done yet.
Second, we need to support workers and communities. We do have some evidence emerging about what's working for individual and community transitions. In Calgary, for example, we’re working with Calgary Economic Development to support workers in the oil and gas sector to retrain for in-demand roles in that city’s burgeoning technology sector. The effort involves five local colleges and universities and dozens of employer partners. Most importantly of all, the project is having tremendous success for the workers themselves in finding new roles and occupations.
Third, our research and innovation work is showing that there are some “sure win” areas for skilling investments. With the right support, Canadians are actually well positioned to make the necessary skill and sector pivots. For example, alongside Ocean Wise, we’re supporting indigenous communities in Nunavut to be recognized for their sustainable fishing practices. There’s also a need for targeted upskilling, as we've heard other witnesses say. For example, a carpenter or tradesperson learns about new technologies and new standards. We’re testing approaches in projects with both SkillPlan and the Canada Green Building Council.
We know that there are several skill areas that are consistently reported by employers as difficult to find in the labour market but that will be critical to sustainable transitions. These are things like critical thinking, monitoring, coordination, judgment, decision-making and complex problem-solving. These are the social and emotional skills that are “sure bet” investments now and that without a doubt will yield dividends in the coming years regardless of the technological developments between now and then.
Thank you for your time and attention. We'd be happy to take your questions.
Thank you. I really appreciate the opportunity to present some of our findings to the committee.
For those of you who aren't aware, the Conference Board is a non-profit research institute. We're now “virtual first”, with staff right across the country. We conduct research in nine key areas, including economics, education skills and human resources, and of course we are a proud partner with the Future Skills Centre, with whom we've published nearly 100 different pieces of research content over the last few years and brought together thousands of people to talk about the future of work in Canada.
I am vice-president of research at the Conference Board. I am an economist by training and I'm the executive lead for the work that we do with the Future Skills Centre.
As all of the other witnesses have mentioned, the green transition is going to be a big change for Canada, with significant implications for our labour market. There are going to be increased job opportunities for some types of roles and reduced demand for others, and it will also change the skills required and tasks performed in many occupations.
This last point is very important. We need to talk and think about jobs in the context of the tasks that people are required to perform and the skills they need to succeed. This is because relatively few jobs will be exclusively green. In fact, most jobs will have green tasks embedded within them, and as a result, we'd like to increasingly think about jobs as being on a green continuum rather than being either green or not. What's more, where jobs stand on that green continuum is likely to change over time.
That said, in our research we did want to come up with a framework to talk about green jobs, so to do that we looked at the Canadian labour market in two key ways. First we looked at the industries where people are working, and what we found are three key areas where green jobs are present. First there's clean energy production, transmission and distribution. Second are businesses that are focused on energy efficiency improvements, primarily construction and manufacturing firms. Finally, there is environmental management and services.
The second lens that we apply is looking at the occupations where people actually work. We focus on three key criteria when trying to define green jobs.
First, is demand for the roles increasing as a result of the green transition? An example would be power line installers. Demand is rising as we transition to non-GHG emitting forms of electricity in our energy mix.
The second is jobs where the required skills are changing for existing roles due to the green transition. An example would be engineering or architectural types of roles where there's growing need to have knowledge about energy efficiency.
The final area is entirely new or emerging roles—for example, wind turbine technicians.
Using this definition, we found that there are currently about 900,000 jobs in Canada today that are green. It's about 5% of the workforce. What is more, in our work with the Future Skills Centre we are forecasting over the next 20 years what the Canadian labour market will look like, and we find that the green share will steadily grow in the coming years.
Of course, those are the jobs that we define as green today. Keep in mind my initial comments that many jobs will move up the green continuum over that period of time, so more and more jobs will have green tasks or skills embedded within them.
How do we help people prepare for this? We find that most people who are at the highest risk of disruption, the people who are most likely to lose their jobs in the coming decades, are able to actually transition to green-collar jobs with one year or less of retraining. However, there are a lot of caveats inside of that. For example, there are many opportunities, but opportunities vary quite a bit depending on where you are in the country. For example, on a relative basis, Ontario and Alberta have much more opportunity, while Atlantic Canada has less. The cost of training is also quite different, depending on what region you're in. In Alberta, it's very high. Quebec is the lowest in the country, and the gap is quite large. It's about a 30% difference between the two provinces.
The good news is that we've found that about three-quarters of people are willing to move into green-collar jobs, but in order to make this happen, there are a number of barriers that need to be overcome. The first one is fear. People need to know that new green-collar jobs provide job security and that they'll provide pay that at least is comparable to their current roles. They also need to be convinced that they're able to acquire the skills they need to be able to succeed, because some people have a fear that they're not able to learn these new skills.
The last thing is around helping people transition how they think about themselves. Many people strongly identify who they are with their current role, their current job title, and if that changes, there's fear associated with that change.
The second big thing is around supports to cover the cost of retraining, including employer supports so that people can take time away from work. Most people cannot easily take extended time away from work once they enter the workforce.
The third big thing is around equal access to training. In our research, we find that older workers, those without tertiary education and those with deficiencies in fundamental skills are less likely to be given training opportunities, but they are also the ones who are most in need of upskilling.
Just to close, because I'm out of time, transitioning labour markets toward green-collar jobs will be a marathon, not a sprint. Hundred of thousands of people will be entering and leaving the workforce every year. This means that we need to tackle the challenges at different levels. It will mean different changes for people who are in school and for people who are already working. It will mean that we have to think differently in different communities, because the transitions will be different for each of our different communities.
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to each of the panellists and guests today. We appreciate hearing from you, the insights you provide and the work you do.
It is obviously a very important subject that we're discussing today. Coming from the Atlantic region, which you just referred to, Mr. Burt, there are challenges there, but also opportunities.
I want to preface the question with an observation. We're hearing great concerns across the country from various sectors regarding the future of employment and being able to provide for families. We're already arguing about the huge rise in the cost of living and inflationary pressures. People need good-paying jobs. We know the jobs that have been in the natural resource and energy sectors have provided good-paying, meaningful work for many Canadians.
Many of us on the east coast have had family members travel to the west coast and to other places to work in the resource sector. Many are wondering about a very legitimate question. We have heard today, and we're understanding, that many of the manufacturing jobs that are being produced in the new green economy for things that are being transitioned to are often in other countries. They're offshore.
There seems to be a transition from the production and use of the resources that our own country is blessed with in ample supply to where we're headed, largely based offshore. That could mean a meaningful transition of jobs offshore as well. That is the concern we're hearing from many of our constituents.
I'd be interested in hearing from you, Mr. Nilsen, and then Mr. Burt. What are we going to offer Canadians who are concerned about the fact that they see their jobs going offshore, and not necessarily in a more responsible environmental fashion? We're just replacing our workers here with workers in other jurisdictions.
Canada has the best environmental regulations among many resource countries in the world. Maybe we should look at ways of continuing jobs in this sector within our economy rather than offshoring them.
Have you any comments? I'll start with you, Mr. Nilsen, and then Mr. Burt.
Those are things we grapple with all the time.
To address a bit of the pay concern first, that was a bigger challenge five years ago than it is today, for two reasons. One is that salaries have increased significantly within the environmental sector. We do compensation studies every year. We're about to publish one in the next couple of months. Salaries are going up there. Oil and gas salaries went down significantly. They started to go down in 2014 after the price of oil and gas started to decline a bit, so we're seeing that salaries aren't as high as they were. With the new uptick we have right now, we'll have to monitor to see how that's going, but environmental salaries are increasing, and you are very capable of having a meaningful career and providing for your family while working within the environmental sector.
Local manufacturing is a big focus. It should be a big focus from an environment point of view, as I mentioned in my opening remarks. However, if we allow others to manufacture our parts and use coal-powered energy in the process, we're not seeing any gain. Canada has strict social guidelines and environmental targets. Other countries where we are manufacturing these parts may not have that.
I'll use one example. We frequently talk about the need to stop travelling and have meetings over Zoom. That would be a great contribution to reducing emissions, but the world is—
Thank you, Mr. Nilsen. I'm sorry, but my time is short and I do want to get a few questions in. You've covered a lot there, and I appreciate that.
The big thing is.... You hit it. We have some of the best environmental regulations. We have the capacity to even increase our production of more of those needed resources here in Canada, while we're not even sure what the regulatory requirements are offshore or what kind of coal footprint or other energy footprint they may have there.
Especially since COVID, I'm seeing a huge increase in demand from Canadians to make sure more things are made, manufactured and produced in our own country. We have some of the best regulation in the world. That transition should consider more Canadian work for Canadian workers, including in the resource and energy sector.
Mr. Burt, maybe you have a comment along those lines as well. I'd be interested in hearing what you have to say.
I'd also like to thank the witnesses for being here this evening.
My question is for Mr. Rousseau of the Canadian Labour Congress.
Almost all stakeholders so far would agree that the Canadian government has no plan to end to fossil fuel development.
The Commissioner of the Environment spoke about the employment and social development sector. He said that in 1992‑93, the federal government had to act to help fishers and communities affected by the collapse of the cod industry. In the end, the federal government did nothing, and the cod population in Newfoundland and Labrador is at a critical low.
I could also give the example of the asbestos sector, which has been completely destructured.
Since there is no just transition plan, shouldn't we be concerned that the same fate awaits communities that depend on the oil and gas sector?
How do you think this plan should this plan be initiated to transform the economy and make a true green transition?
We had an excellent panel from Iron and Earth. They talked about the studies that are done and how workers are ready. They want alternatives and to look at this new economy, but they're saying, “Where is it?”
There's one thing I want to ask.
The went to COP26 and made a bunch of promises right after the environment commissioner pointed out that the government makes all kinds of promises and has failed to deliver on every single one of them. When Joe Biden was at COP26, the phrase he used all the time was that they were going to create good-paying jobs for American workers. That was the consistent line. When you hear the American Democrats talk about transition, they talk of good-paying jobs for American workers. I've never heard that from our government. I've never heard them say they're going to create good-paying union jobs for Canadian workers. They say we're going to meet our global obligations, and we're going to do this and that, but there isn't the sense that this is going to be a worker-centred drive. Without the workers at the heart of it, we are going to see resentment.
Can the CLC present us with recommendations that we need to look at to make sure that we are reassuring workers that the jobs that are being created are not going to be low-paying?
I heard some of my Liberal colleagues saying “Where are these new jobs you're talking about?” Either we're saying there are going to be better jobs, good jobs, or we're selling people a lie. How do we know that we can get this done? What can the CLC give us that we can look at in terms of recommendations?
I'm accustomed to provincial governments identifying the skill gaps in the regional economies and filling those skill gaps with their post-secondary institutions at the provincial level. There are various institutions—colleges, technical institutions and universities—that the provincial governments work with, and they spend a lot of money doing it, I should point out.
I see that the federal government is funding your organization in excess of $380 million to do what is really an overlap of the same thing. In addition, many of these organizations around the table are funded for hundreds of millions of dollars more in order to do this, and you're all working hand in hand.
This is an expensive, non-productive bureaucracy, in my opinion. My constituents are going to ask, “What is the value for this work you're doing?”, when it's really just spinning paper with no real eyesight on the outcome here.
That will be my last question for you, Mr. Baldwin: Can you say why you don't see this as a direct overlap with what's already being done at the provincial level to address the jobs of the future?
Thank you, Mr. Baldwin. I'm not sure that answered the question I asked, but I appreciate it nonetheless.
I'll go to ECO Canada here.
ECO Canada, thank you very much for a very good submission. In it you talk about providing $144 million in wage subsidies to produce 14,000 wage-paying jobs. With quick math, that is $10,000 per job, none of which may have stuck, but that's what it is. There are also other studies that say that it's $20,000 per job. With the limited jobs you're talking about here, there are very few jobs you can identify that are going forward in the equation.
Tell us, Mr. Nilsen, where you think this gap of old jobs versus new jobs is, because the Conference Board says there are 27 jobs in the new green economy for every 100 jobs we're going to lose in the other economy.
If I could stop here, the bells light is flashing. Is there something happening?
Just so the witnesses know, if we end up with votes, we get notice, and in order to continue, we need unanimous consent of the committee. I wasn't aware of anything happening, but we need to check.
Do we have notice?
A voice: Yes. These are 30-minute bells.
The Chair: Okay, we have 30-minute bells. Do we want to continue?
Some hon. members: Yes.
The Chair: How much time do people need to get to the House—15 minutes, 10 minutes?
An hon. member: Ten seconds.
An hon. member: Can we vote from here?
The Chair: I can't make people do that. They need the option to get to the House if they want to. I think it's 10 minutes, and I need three to—
Thank you, Ms. Williams.
My next question is for Mr. Rousseau from the Canadian Labour Congress.
Mr. Rousseau, you are calling for the government to invest billions of dollars over five years to foster the development of renewable energy and support training in the field, as well as transitional measures. I'm thinking in particular of measures relating to energy-efficient home renovations, for which people already receive federal government grants.
In Quebec, the Commission des partenaires du marché du travail has established advisory committees further to an agreement with the federal government in 1997.
It would be a good idea for Quebec to maintain an open, integrated and universal model for public services related to employment and training, focusing on client needs. This would be helpful to the regions.
I imagine you would agree that this potential multibillion-dollar investment should include a mechanism for sending the funds to Quebec and the provinces and having them manage the money.
Is that correct?
Ms. Williams, I want to follow up on something you said earlier and that I've been very perturbed by since I heard it.
When we talk with Alberta workers and they talk about the transition being under way already, to me that's a sign that there's a sense of urgency, because obviously this is a Canadian issue, but Alberta is certainly going to be where much of this is settled.
We've heard from people—organizations—who talk about the huge opportunities in green tech, but they all come with a big “if”—if there's clear investment and sustained investment, because this economy is not just going to create itself out of thin air—and yet you say the research on where these jobs are hasn't been done. That, to me, is a really frightening red flag. Could you explain?
Regrettably, folks, we're at the end of this round.
By the time we get to the vote, have the vote and get back, we're going to be out of time, so we're going to have to adjourn the meeting.
I want to thank all of the witnesses for your time. Again, I apologize for the interruptions that we've had, but we've had some very useful testimony.
I'd like to also invite you, if you have additional information, as has been discussed, or reports that you think would be relevant, to feel free to send in up to an additional 10-page brief if there are conversations that you feel you had more to add to. That can be directed through the clerk. Sooner than later is better, as we need to translate them and distribute them in time to provide the report, at least in the draft form, in June.
With that, thank you so much, everyone. To the committee members, we'll see you on Wednesday.
The meeting is adjourned.