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Is “Just Transition” a 4-letter word?


Well no, it has 14 letters, but apart from that, you might be wondering what this hot potato phrase is all about. 


Last week, Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson announced that a Just Transition bill would be introduced into parliament in 2023. Now, Alberta’s Environment Minister, Sonya Savage , is accusing the Federal government of being “polarising” and “divisive”.


So what’s all the fuss about? And is it actually a fuss?


What is Just Transition?


The term Just Transition comes from the 2015 Paris Agreement and aims to ensure that workers are supported as we shift to cleaner energy. The idea is that no one should be left behind.


We quite like this explanation from the Institue of Human Rights and Business: Just transition focuses on the “transition out of high-carbon activities and into the green economy, seeking to ensure harm to workers, communities, countries, and regions is avoided while maximising the benefits of climate action.” 


In practice, that means making sure that people get to stay employed (or find better employment), and that communities continue to have access to industries that support their economy and wellbeing as we move towards a clean energy future.

Photo credit: Smartwool Canada

That doesn’t sound so bad…

It's kinda hard to argue with a clean climate and a prosperous country. A lot of the "controversy" about Just Transition is about political point-scoring, creating a tempest in a teacup.


The fact is, transition is happening, and people aren’t even mad. A recent survey of oil and gas workers showed a majority support a shift to clean energy and would be happy to build their careers in this sector with the right training - a lot already have experience in solar, wind and hydrogen.


And believe it or not, beautiful Alberta is a hot spot for renewable energy, with its sunny climate, windy corridors and unique energy market that attracts substantial private investment. The province is looking at $3.7 billion worth of renewables construction and the creation of over 4,500 jobs by this year alone.


The escalation of clean energy is such that Canada’s Natural Resources Minister says his biggest worry isn’t a loss of jobs - it’s that clean energy is developing so fast, there mightn’t be enough workers to fill the jobs. 


Of course, there are lots of complex hurdles as we all work towards a cleaner future. Regulation, funding, upgrading our grids… the challenge is real, and POW is here to continue pushing for a rapid transition that will help to protect the natural spaces we love, while preserving our unique way of life in the Great White North. 


Call it Just Transition, Sustainable Jobs or something else all together - clean energy spells out good news for Canada’s economy, and our climate.


Want to be part of the movement towards a cleaner, healthier future? Simply by becoming a POW member, you help us lobby for legislation that helps all Canadians - like a just transition. Become a Climate Athlete today!

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