Priorities and Amendments for Bill C-50 (Sustainable Jobs Act)

Blue Green Canada’s priorities and proposed amendments to language and implementation of Bill C-50 are separated into Structure and Capacity and Building Value and Integrity components.

Structure and Capacity

1) Align Bill C-50 with Canada’s current and future domestic and international climate change and net-zero commitments. To do this the government must: 

    1. Define ‘net-zero economy’ to go beyond the balancing of emissions. 
    2. Define ‘climate commitments’ to enmesh Canada’s existing domestic and international commitments, including the Paris Agreement and the Canadian Net Zero Emissions Accountability Act (CNZEAA)
    3. Ensure the Canadian Sustainable Jobs Act and the CNZEAA reference each other, requiring the Ministers to consider the CNZEAA when drafting the Sustainable Jobs Action Plan, and vice-versa.

2) Align Bill C-50 with Canada’s current and future decent work and labour market projections in consultation with the Ministry of Employment and Social Development Canada, the Ministry of Labour, and the Ministry of Finance, to ensure that all relevant ministries develop coordinated sustainable jobs plans that will both maintain existing and lead to good, unionized jobs. As learned from Canada’s complex employment transitions, such as the ongoing coal phase-out, having clear and dedicated structures and sufficient resources to support the diverse needs of impacted workers and communities is essential.

Plans must include concrete measures to assist workers in carbon-intensive industries either in the decarbonization of their industry or transition to new sustainable jobs, including training and skills recognition, Employment Insurance enhancement, family and mental health supports, pension bridging, and other measures designed to assist workers maintain employment or move to a new sustainable job.

3) Unions must have central roles in the Sustainable Jobs Partnership Council. One third of the seats of the Partnership Council must be filled by union representatives to ensure that in this jobs-focused legislation impacted workers, their representatives, and their communities are leading the discussion. Establishing a Partnership Council with strong union representation and mandating relevant actors to support regional and local planning and economic diversification efforts are crucial for buy-in and success.

4) The Partnership Council must support both compensatory and transformative processes and programming across all sectors. This must happen to enable a broad range of transition responses and support the transition of existing quality union jobs while also creating new sustainable union jobs.

5) Set up structures that comprehensively support workers and front-line communities in high-emitting industries through the global energy transition. 

    1. Ensure the Sustainable Jobs Secretariat’s mandate and funding are sufficient to coordinate programs across departments and governments, support the Partnership Council’s work, and conduct direct engagement work. Staffing and resources for the Secretariat must be considered integral to the work of all relevant ministries and departments.
    2. Require the Action Plans to provide labour market data and forecasting needed to develop effective responses.
    3. Require the Action Plans to include specific goals, measures to achieve said goals, implementation costs and timelines, and progress indicators.
    4. Develop an articulated plan to ensure that the federal government provides resources to invest in the Sustainable Jobs Secretariat, the Sustainable Jobs Partnership Council, and other bodies, to ensure Canada is equipped to fulfill our domestic and international climate change and decent work obligations.

Building Value and Integrity

6) A commitment and clarity to “sustainable jobs.” The definition of sustainable jobs in the 2023 interim Sustainable Jobs Plan is described as “evergreen” to allow it to “evolve over time through consultation with key partners and the public.” Blue Green Canada prefers the framing in the recent A Sustainable Jobs Blueprint publication which we have amended slightly to add additional elements needed for any job to be considered sustainable:

    1. For a job to be considered ‘sustainable’, it must be a decent job aligned with Canada’s emissions reduction targets, consistent with a 1.5-degree warming scenario that prioritizes emissions reductions.

    2. Jobs must also be sustainable in the sense that they provide good working conditions and uphold decent work standards so that workers feel secure and are able to provide for themselves and their families over time, including elements such as fair income, job security, a collective agreement, social protection, and social dialogue. Jobs that are low-quality or are not consistent with a net-zero transition could lead to dead-ends, causing more unnecessary disruption for workers over the coming decades.

7) Ensure government transparency and accountability to build trust in the energy transition.

    1. Require that the Sustainable Jobs Partnership Council, Sustainable Jobs Secretariat and Sustainable Jobs Action Plan align with Guiding Principles from the preamble of Bill C-50.
    2. Require the Minister to consider in each progress report what updates to the Sustainable Jobs Action Plan may be necessary to close any gaps between milestones set and progress to date.

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