WITH Canada being set on adopting renewable energy and cleaner fuels to help the planet, it may cost about 450,000 Canadians to lose their jobs by 2050, comprising three-quarters of the country’s oil and gas workers.
“We shouldn’t just assume that the transition for workers moving from carbon-intensive industries to the clean energy sector is going to be smooth,” said TD Economics managing director Francis Fong.
As the country is committed to reach net zero by 2050, any climate-warming that cannot be eliminated will be removed from the atmosphere, such as by planting trees or using technology to capture and store the gases.
Fong said the rise of clean energy will bring more jobs than will be lost but many oil and gas workers, mostly in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador provinces, could be laid off, like manual workers were in the 1990s.
According to a report by TD Economics, new jobs were created as Canada’s manufacturing sector continued to declined but they were in different locations and required different skills.
“The economic dogma at the time was just to assume that labour markets would adjust and that people would find their place naturally in the economy of the future – and that clearly didn’t happen,” said Fong, who is also the co-author of the report.
The impact of the transition will be felt hardest in small communities that are highly reliant on the oil and gas sector, like Fort McMurray and Cold Lake in Alberta, where they account for 25 to 30% of jobs, compared to 1.5% nationally, it said.
TD Economics recommended that Canada’s clean energy infrastructure should be focused in such communities, and called for the government to support and retrain fossil fuel workers.
“It is critical that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past and ensure a just transition for energy sector workers,” it said. – Apr 7, 2021