Evidence of meeting #21 for Natural Resources in the 44th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was need.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Shannon Joseph  Vice-President, Government Relations and Indigenous Affairs, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
Dan McTeague  President, Canadians for Affordable Energy
Merran Smith  Chief Innovation Officer, Clean Energy Canada
Francis Bradley  President and Chief Executive Officer, Electricity Canada
Michelle Branigan  Chief Executive Officer, Electricity Human Resources Canada
Charlene Johnson  Chief Executive Officer, Energy NL
Luisa Da Silva  Executive Director, Iron and Earth

3:30 p.m.


The Chair Liberal John Aldag

Good afternoon, everyone, I call this meeting to order.

Welcome to meeting number 21 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 fifth meeting with witnesses on this study. I will provide an update at the end of the meeting on what happened on Wednesday with our indigenous panel, and what we're doing to rectify that.

Today's meeting is taking place in a hybrid format, pursuant to the House order of November 25, 2021. Members are attending either in person or remotely. I would like to remind all participants that, now that we've started, screenshots or taking photos are not permitted. We are being televised and made available via the House of Commons website. As per the directive of the Board of Internal Economy, we ask anyone at the table to wear a mask. If you the leave the table and move around, please wear your mask during the meeting.

A few comments for the benefit of our witnesses. Please wait until I recognize you by name before speaking. For those participating by video conference, click on the microphone icon to activate your mike, and please mute yourself, when you are not speaking. There's interpretation for those on Zoom. You have the choice, at the bottom of your screen of floor, English, or French. When anyone is speaking, we ask you to maintain a conversational tone, which allows our interpreters to keep up with the conversation. That way everybody can participate and have the benefit of what you are saying. For those in the room, you can use the earpiece and select the desired channel. All comments should be addressed through the chair.

For those in the room, please raise your hand. For members joining us virtually, you can use the “raise hand” function. The clerk and I will do our best to manage the speaking order as best we can. I will mention, if anyone is new to being a witness to our committee, when we get into the question and answer session, I very much turn it over to the members to guide the line of questioning for the amount of time that they have. Even if you raise your hand, they may have somebody to whom they want to direct their questions. I leave it to the members to keep an eye on who has their hands raised, and if they get to you or not. We try to be inclusive, but it is very much up to the members to decide who they are going to be interacting with as we go through the afternoon.

I would like to welcome members Desjarlais, Lalonde and Sorbara, who are going to be joining us for a while on the committee.

I would like to welcome our witnesses. From the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, we have Shannon Joseph, vice-president, government relations and indigenous affairs. From Canadians for Affordable Energy, we have Hon. Dan McTeague, president. From Clean Energy Canada, we have Merran Smith, chief innovation officer. From Electricity Canada, we have Francis Bradley, president and chief executive officer, appearing jointly with Electricity Human Resources Canada's Michelle Branigan, chief executive officer. From Energy NL, we have Charlene Johnson, chief executive officer, and appearing in person, from Iron & Earth, we have Luisa Da Silva, executive director.

Welcome to all of our witnesses. Thank you so much for making yourselves available to be with us today on the study of creating a fair and equitable Canadian energy transformation.

I'm going to go to opening comments. Each of the panellists will have five minutes.

Mr. Angus.

3:30 p.m.


Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

One a point of order, Mr. Chair, at the last meeting I asked if we had received confirmation that the Canadian Labour Congress was going to be giving testimony. I had also asked if we could get a list of witnesses who have been confirmed.

Can you confirm if the CLC has been invited?

3:30 p.m.


The Chair Liberal John Aldag

The CLC has been invited, and I can provide an update probably on Wednesday. We have a meeting with our clerk and analysts at the end of this meeting to go through the next pieces, and that's where I will be trying to see how we can also fit in the indigenous panel that got bumped because of the votes on Wednesday. I will aim to have an update for everyone by Wednesday regarding who the witness panels will be going forward.

For the witnesses, I use a handy file card system. When you see the yellow card, you have 30 seconds left. When you get the red card, wind up your thoughts. Don't stop mid-sentence, just conclude your thoughts and we can move on to the next person.

With that, Ms. Joseph, the floor is yours. You have five minutes.

3:30 p.m.

Shannon Joseph Vice-President, Government Relations and Indigenous Affairs, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers

Thank you.

Thank you very much, committee members, for the opportunity to present today.

The upstream oil and gas industry is committed to environmental leadership. We see an important role for our industry in meeting increasing global demand for reliable, affordable and responsibly produced energy while we proactively advance solutions to support Canada's role in addressing climate change.

Growing Canadian oil and natural gas exports and market share is an important solution to the twin challenges of reducing emissions and enhancing global energy security. Canada's upstream oil and natural gas industry, our workers and innovators want to work with the Government of Canada to fulfill this potential. Our industry directly and indirectly employs more than 500,000 talented Canadians in every province. Through their hard work and innovation, Canada produces oil and natural gas, which, according to recent Bank of Montreal capital markets reports, has the top-ranked environmental, social and governance profile, or ESG, among the world's top 10 energy exporters.

In addition, our indigenous partners have an important and growing role in the responsible energy development that we have in Canada. This also provides indigenous communities with opportunities for sustainable prosperity and self-determination. A healthy and innovative oil and natural gas sector is part of reconciliation and plays an important role in economic reconciliation.

Our industry will also continue to work on the technological innovation to support domestic and international emissions reductions as well as other goals. It is therefore vital that the scope, scale and pace of Canada's approach to a just transition aligns with global energy transformations so that Canada is not inadvertently phasing out opportunities, both domestically and internationally, to play a role in global energy security and emissions reduction.

According to the International Energy Agency, the global need and demand for oil and natural gas will continue for decades to come. That is true even in their sustainability scenario and their net-zero scenario. As the global population increases and people all over the world seek to improve their quality of life, safe, reliable and affordable energy is fundamental to such improvements. Thus, one of the most important roles Canada can play in addressing global climate change is displacing coal in the global energy mix with Canadian natural gas exported as liquefied natural gas, or LNG.

An effective approach to managing the impacts from the transformation to a lower-carbon global economy should reflect Canada's unique opportunity to meet future and current increases in global demand for responsibly produced oil and natural gas. This approach should protect and enhance Canadian and global energy security and manage energy affordability impacts.

We therefore suggest that Canada's just transition approach incorporate the following three principles. Support the important role for Canada as a responsible low-emission producer able to meet increasing demands for natural gas and oil and play a key role in global energy security. Recognize and support world-class and skilled workers who will continue to be needed in their roles, even as their capacities expand to additional functions, such as hydrogen production and carbon capture, utilization and storage, to meet our complementary goal of significant emission reductions in Canada. Affirm that the focus of Canada's climate strategy is reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and that all sectors have a role to play consistent with this effort.

There are important lessons from LNG energy policies made in other jurisdictions that we should learn from. The current European situation highlights the risk of a disorderly energy transition. Even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, oil and natural gas prices had been rising as a result of supply shortages and a decline in energy development. An important driver for this decline has been policy signals from governments and the investment community that are misaligned with global energy demand.

Canada's just transition policy should be informed by these realities. It should include performance metrics looking at economic performance and job performance regionally and nationally. It should be informed by regional differences across Canada. It should strive to improve the economics for Canadian industries and advance emission reduction work. It should ensure that the scope, scale and pace of Canada's transition to a lower-carbon economy aligns with global energy transformations.

A collaborative approach is necessary to guide a successful outcome on all of these issues. CAPP stands ready, as a solutions-oriented partner at a pivotal time, to work with Parliament and the government in creating a fair and equitable energy transformation.

Thank you.

3:35 p.m.


The Chair Liberal John Aldag

That was perfect timing. Thank you so much.

We will now go to Mr. McTeague.

I will start the timer for you. You have five minutes.

3:40 p.m.

Dan McTeague President, Canadians for Affordable Energy

Mr. Chair, it's a pleasure to be here.

I am honoured to be here at the invitation of members from various parties.

The context of my appearance requires a few comments on the fair and equitable transformation of Canada's energy sector.

It's fairly obvious and very timely that this committee should be looking at an issue that I think has to be contrasted against the reality that many Canadians are confronting today. It's pretty clear, I think, for those of us who have been in the business of looking at energy pricing that what's often lost in all of this discussion, as important as it may be in the context in which we find ourselves, is that we're probably not spending a lot of time looking at important issues that confront Canadians, mostly the issue of affordability. That deals directly with the issue of energy affordability.

It may not come as a surprise to many of my colleagues here and former colleagues as well—it's good to see that some of them are still on the committee, some of whom I have a very close relationship with—that we find ourselves in an odd situation in which we want to do what's right by the just transition, but we have to recognize that Canadians are having a very difficult time making that transition at a time of record-setting prices. Here, I'm not referring simply to gas prices, although that would be the easier part. Diesel prices, natural gas prices and the cost of electricity in many provinces across this country have reached enormously difficult levels for most consumers. It's in that context that I believe this committee must find all of its conclusions and all of its recommendations.

I think we've been given an opportunity to be perhaps told by these signals that it is time for Canadians and our representatives to take into consideration the impact that too quick a transition may have. Although we want to do right by the environment, we also have to do right by consumers. We have to do right by what is affordable for the country. Relying on energies that have been proven in Europe and other places to be neither scalable nor reliable or, at the end of the day, affordable also leads to unintended consequences. We see the consequences being played out in Europe today, where they've had 30 years of going down this road of finding an equitable solution.

We are an energy-intense country. We are a cold nation. We are a nation that relies more disproportionately on energy. When I was a member of Parliament, my riding was one that once led technology when it came to energy, such as with the first commercial nuclear reactors in North America. It not only brought about the implementation of new technologies that were real and achievable but also managed to bring about an unprecedented period of prosperity for my province of Ontario. Cheap electricity and cheap energy, notwithstanding the public's contribution, allowed Ontario as a jurisdiction to attract manufacturing and to continue its strength relative to many other North American jurisdictions.

Going too quickly with the idea that we can somehow convert and change over night because it is de rigueur or because it is fashionable may not have the outcome that we want. In fact, the undesirable outcome that we're seeing is governments increasingly having to, in my province, not only adopt green energy but also do so at a time in which they're having to accept as much as $6.5 billion in debt to shield consumers from the full effect of moving too quickly on certain technologies that are both unproven, unreliable and, as I mentioned earlier, unaffordable.

I am now ready to answer your questions.

I am very interested in hearing what you have to say. Perhaps through a dialectic exchange we can learn a little more about each other and about your interests. At the end of the day, someone has to speak out for Canadians who are on this very day questioning whether or not affordability can be managed in this country.

Anything that deviates from that, I suggest, might not meet with the public's test of support.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

3:40 p.m.


The Chair Liberal John Aldag

Thank you for your opening comments.

Now I'm going to reset and jump to Clean Energy Canada.

Ms. Smith, I'll turn it over to you. You have five minutes.

3:40 p.m.

Merran Smith Chief Innovation Officer, Clean Energy Canada

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

Good afternoon, Mr. Chair and members of the committee.

Five years ago, in a meeting with many of you elected officials, the number one message I had was that climate action wasn't about pain; it was about gain. It was that the energy transition was about jobs and the economy.

What was an idea then is clearly a reality now. Over 430,000 Canadians are already employed in the clean energy sector. This number is set to grow by almost 50% by 2030. Modelling that we did with Navius Research estimates that while 126,000 jobs will be lost in fossil fuels by 2030 as global markets transition away from oil and gas, 209,000 jobs will be created in clean energy.

We also found that the biggest relative clean energy job growth would happen in Alberta. The province has the best wind and solar resources in the country. Consider the Travers solar facility in southern Alberta. It's Canada's largest solar panel project, which is creating over 1,000 jobs during peak construction. In Edmonton, Air Products Canada right now has a blue hydrogen project with $1.3 billion of investment, which will create 2,500 jobs in construction and engineering jobs in the near term, with more job creation to come in the hydrogen transportation industry over the long term.

This transition isn't just about the energy sector. We're seeing automakers rebrand themselves. I don't know that if you noticed that electric vehicles dominated the Super Bowl ads. That's a sign of the change that's happening. In March, we landed the single largest investment in automaking in Canada since the 1980s, if not ever. It's a $5-billion gigafactory in Windsor that's supporting 2,500 new jobs. This is an opportunity to save our auto sector and to grow it in new ways.

This is but one of the many recent commitments in Canada's battery supply chain. Almost overnight, Canada set itself up to play an integral role in electrifying the North American auto industry. The hard work and coordination of federal and provincial governments were really key to landing these big deals.

This summer, Clean Energy Canada and the Trillium Network are going to be releasing new research that quantifies the size of Canada's battery supply chain opportunity for jobs. I don't have the data to share fully with you today, but I'll offer a brief spoiler. These jobs are going to exist across Canada, in rural and suburban regions alike, as well as across industries—mining, manufacturing and components. A well-designed, clean industrial strategy is going to be what's needed to land these types of jobs and more investment, potentially, across the country. We can see the job creation starting in this energy transition in Canada.

I have another important message. It really builds on what Dan was saying, and it's just as critical as the economic one. The most salient issue in Canada right now is the cost of living. The clean energy transition is a solution to this problem, as well.

In the plainest sense, transitioning to clean energy lowers energy bills. This is coming from the International Energy Agency, which has shown that with current government policies, average household energy bills will decline in advanced economies between now and 2050. Where governments introduce more policy, it declines even further. The Canadian Climate Institute found the same thing. Again, Canadians will spend a smaller share of their incomes on energy as we move.

Yes, electricity bills will be higher. We'll use more electricity, but getting off of fossil fuels, combined with energy efficiency, is ultimately a recipe for savings. I don't know if any of you saw a recent report called “The True Cost”. It showed that, over eight years, electric vehicles were thousands of dollars cheaper overall than comparable gas models. Again, when you waste less energy and use less wasteful energy, you save money. That's because a lot of energy is lost in heat for the fossil fuels.

However, there's one hurdle we must address, which is that something that saves you money in the long run often comes with a higher price tag today. This is an area where government needs to help. Lower-income Canadians need measures made for them, such as rebates for used EVs, for example.

I want to end by saying that the global energy transition is well under way. Our largest trading partners are investing billions in these newly imagined economies. The EU's race to reduce its dependence on imported fossil fuels foreshadows where the global economy is going.

One of the most effective things that Canada can do to create a fair and equitable transition is to invest in that energy transition. Invest with good policy and regulations to hasten decarbonization, with tax credits, strategic investments and with a clear signal of policy certainty, so that the private sector can align their investments with this clean energy future.

Thank you very much.

3:45 p.m.


The Chair Liberal John Aldag

Thank you for those opening comments.

I'd like to go next to the witnesses from Electricity Canada and Electricity Human Resources Canada, who I understand are going to be splitting the five-minute opening statement. Thank you. It is going to give me some challenges for timekeeping.

Mr. Bradley, I'll give you the mark at two minutes and the red card at two and a half. We'll transition over to Ms. Branigan at that point. I'll give you the yellow at four and a half minutes and the red card at five. Hopefully, that will work for you.

If you're ready to go, Mr. Bradley, I'll start the clock.

3:50 p.m.

Francis Bradley President and Chief Executive Officer, Electricity Canada

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

Good afternoon, everyone.

My name is Francis Bradley, and I am president and chief executive officer of Electricity Canada. As you know, I will share my time with my colleague Ms. Branigan, from Electricity Human Resources Canada.

Electricity Canada is the national voice of electricity in the country. Our members generate, transmit and distribute electrical energy to industrial, commercial and residential customers across Canada.

Electricity is Canada's energy future and a key economic environmental and social enabler that is essential to Canadian prosperity. The sector employs over 100,000 people and contributes over $30 billion to Canada's GDP. It's also among the cleanest in the world, with more than 80% of Canadian electricity already being produced from non-emitting sources.

The electricity sector is at the forefront of the energy transition. As a sector, we'll need to decarbonize and phase out our remaining high-emitting electricity generation. This means that parts of our workforce will need to transition. Ensuring an appropriate level of support to affected workers and communities is essential in ensuring that the transition is a just transition.

Electricity is also a high-growth sector. As Canada works toward its climate goals, electricity will enable other parts of the economy to decarbonize through electrification. This means tremendous changes to Canada's labour market. While this will create more jobs, it's vital that we ensure the development of new skill sets within the workforce to match them. Ensuring that we attract and expand the opportunities for under-represented groups within our sector's workforce is also a priority.

Finally, as our sector decarbonizes, we must ensure that electricity remains affordable. The federal government estimates that we'll need to double or triple the amount of clean electricity Canada produces by 2050. Our sector is also looking at how we're going to meet the government's ambition to build a net-zero electricity grid by 2035.

Today, May 9, 2022, marks only 4,985 days until we need to accomplish that objective. Meeting those goals will require substantial investments in electricity infrastructure and careful planning. We must work together and take the necessary time to ensure that the energy transition does not result in significant negative impacts on affordability for Canadians.

Our sector will be at the heart of a just transition.

We thank you for giving us an opportunity to participate in this important study.

I would now like to yield the floor to Ms. Branigan.

3:50 p.m.

Michelle Branigan Chief Executive Officer, Electricity Human Resources Canada

Thank you, Francis.

Thank you, committee members, for the opportunity to speak to you today.

My name is Michelle Branigan. I'm the CEO of EHRC, Electricity Human Resources Canada. Our role at EHRC is to keep the lights on by preparing and empowering a world-class workforce for the entire electricity industry. As a national non-profit, we are an unbiased convenor of stakeholders that work together to ensure that we have a workforce that is safety-focused, highly skilled, diverse and productive.

We conduct labour market research to understand what the supply and demand labour needs are for the sector, and then translate that into actionable programs to fill identified labour market gaps.

Electricity and Canada depend on its essential workers 24-7, but this is not a just-in-time industry. Over 80% of our workers work in highly technical jobs, such as the trades and engineering, and it can take five to 10 years to reach full competency in a role, especially in nuclear. We need to be able to plan well in advance for labour market needs. That's going to take coordination from employers, labour, policy-makers and educators to make sure that the electricity system can support new demand loads driven by increased electrification and, of course, innovation in our technology and our business processes, such as SMRs and energy storage.

As we transition away from fossil fuels to increased renewables and electrification, there is a need to make sure no one is left behind. There will be workers who will need to upskill or re-skill as jobs sunset or evolve, and we need to ensure those workers are given the opportunity and the support they need to do so. In addition, any transition to clean energy must be built upon inclusive policies. We have an ethical obligation to ensure that anybody in our society feels capable of pursuing a career, regardless of their gender, their background or any other parts of their identity.

To end, the sector has the potential to be a key enabler of the just transition, and we appreciate the opportunity to be engaged in this discussion today.

Thank you for your time.

3:55 p.m.


The Chair Liberal John Aldag

Great, and thank you for your opening comments.

Now, from Energy Newfoundland, we'll go to Ms. Johnson.

If you're ready, I'll start the clock for your five minutes.

3:55 p.m.

Charlene Johnson Chief Executive Officer, Energy NL

Thank you, Chair.

Thank you to the committee for allowing me to appear today.

To begin my comments, I will provide brief details about Energy NL. We are an industry association representing approximately 460 companies and organizations involved in the energy sector. Our association has been involved in advocating for our members for 45 years now, and we just recently revised our vision, our mandate and our name to more accurately reflect the interests of our members and the evolving energy industry.

There is an evolution occurring as we prepare to evolve our energy sources. Now more than ever, this energy evolution is being driven by our understanding of energy and technological advancements as well as our skills and expertise. While oil and gas will continue to be a part of the energy mix for decades, we must find ways to ensure that emissions are minimized and that the industry is a leader in our collective efforts towards net zero.

That is where the product of offshore Newfoundland and Labrador is most important. Our oil is 30% below the global average for emissions at extraction. As we work diligently toward net zero, this product should play a leading role.

As we discuss the objective of the federal government to provide a just transition for workers, we must keep in mind the lower emission properties of our offshore, and we must keep in mind the regional differences of our nation and our energy sources. They are not all one and the same.

We must recognize that a just transition for workers may look different in eastern Canada than it does in central Canada, than it does in western Canada, than it does in northern Canada. As outlined in the Energy NL written submission on the just transition for workers discussion paper, our offshore industry employs a highly educated workforce with specialized expertise.

When you consider the 2021 direct employment for just one of Newfoundland and Labrador's producing offshore projects, Hebron, at least 82% of the direct full-time equivalent positions can be considered skilled labour. These are highly specialized, highly paid and highly motivated individuals.

Messaging from governments around transition is important, as messaging that implies an immediate shift has the potential to create uncertainty, deter much-needed investment in the short term to medium term, disrupt livelihoods and impact on the mental health of workers and business owners. Recognition also needs to occur that opportunities for renewable energy development may not provide the same level of employment or incomes as the oil and gas industry, and may not occur in the same geographic areas. Thus, the economic benefits to people and communities may not be the same.

In that context, for the advisory board proposed in the just transition discussion paper, governments, regulators and all industry stakeholders, including the private sector, industry associations, labour groups, education, training and research institutions and organizations that represent diversity in the workforce, should have a role and a voice at the table. Each province should have its own advisory board.

A just transition will require planning and extensive consultation with industry. Technology development and adaptation will also be needed for Canada to reach net zero, and this will certainly require government program support. Coinciding with this, training of workers to enhance their capabilities to work in the digital workplace will also help to lower emissions and ease any potential transition.

There is also a responsibility for governments and businesses to ensure that all Canadian industries are preparing for net zero and find solutions to lower their carbon outputs. This is a cross-sector issue, one we must collectively combat.

I must also say that Energy NL has confidence in the federal Minister of Labour, our own Minister Seamus O’Regan, who is keenly aware of the issues facing workers in the natural resource sector.

To conclude my comments, I will highlight the recommendations of Energy NL.

Differences in regions, including various energy products produced as well as locations of workers, must be recognized. A one-size-fits-all approach will not suffice.

Energy NL recommends that each province have an advisory board composed of government, industry, labour and other invested stakeholders. As part of this, a labour market assessment of each province should occur, with consideration given to impacts on communities.

We recommend that the Government of Canada financially support the research, development, demonstration, implementation and adaptation of technology to help our sectors achieve net zero, as well as support the training of workers to enhance their capabilities to work in the digital work space.

Governments must be mindful of the impact their statements about transition has on workers, communities and companies. All industries, not just the oil and gas industry, must do their part to help us achieve net zero and provide a just transition for workers.

Energy NL also recommends that the approach of the Government of Canada be wholesome, including departments and agencies beyond Natural Resources Canada.

Again, thank you for your time and I look forward to discussing this matter further.

4 p.m.


The Chair Liberal John Aldag

Thank you.

Now we'll go within the room here.

Ms. Da Silva, welcome. I'll start the clock for your five-minute opening statement.

May 9th, 2022 / 4 p.m.

Luisa Da Silva Executive Director, Iron and Earth

Thank you, Chair and committee members.

I'd like to start off by acknowledging that I work, live and play on the traditional and treaty lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.

Communities across Canada face increasingly critical times, leaving the most vulnerable even more precariously situated. Canada's economy faces three challenges: recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, decarbonizing our economy, and addressing inequality to ensure a prosperous transition for all.

At Iron and Earth we are fossil fuel workers and friends and family of those in the energy industry. Fossil fuel workers bring a wealth of technical experience that must be harnessed to create a fair and equitable energy transition, but workers face challenges to this energy transition. With a lack of access to opportunities, many workers are worried that if they don't receive training and/or career support, they will be left behind in this transition, even with a deep desire to participate in the net-zero economy.

Canada needs to invest in upgrading our workforce, businesses and infrastructure, and revitalizing our environment. In response to the just transition, Iron and Earth created the four-point prosperous transition plan, with an emphasis on indigenous peoples, fossil fuel industry workers and energy communities at the forefront of the conversation. The four points are, first, upskilling initiatives that include hands-on, real-life work experience and prioritizing access for indigenous workers and workers who currently face barriers to participating in the industry; second, repositioning initiatives to support businesses to retool manufacturing capacities and pivot services to meet emerging demand in net-zero industries; third, retrofitting and repurposing initiatives to reduce the carbon intensity of long-term infrastructure and repurposing old infrastructure; and, lastly, indigenous-led climate solutions that address climate mitigation, adaptation and restoration.

Iron and Earth has also developed a just transition implementation program where we listen to fossil fuel industry workers and their communities, as well as indigenous peoples from different communities and nations. The program meets people where they are at and centres the most vulnerable and those who tend to be left out of the main narratives at the forefront: those racialized, gendered, housing-insecure and underemployed, among others. We include voices who are critical to the transition, as well as those who are against any new developments in their communities. The goal is to go beyond consultations and to truly listen to communities and workers by creating ongoing conversations.

This program should be used as a model for the just transition implementation in every energy community across Canada to show workers and their community what a just transition will mean for them, focusing on the local economy, job opportunities and available resources such as upskilling programs and the climate career portal.

There is also a need for consistent messaging from the government. It is confusing to hear that the Bay du Nord, a major offshore fossil fuel project, was approved shortly after a very green forward budget was announced and while intergovernmental agencies such as the IPCC are calling for an end to all new fossil fuel projects. It makes it difficult for workers, their families and communities to know who and what to listen to. Begin a fair and equitable energy transition, a just transition, by having clear and consistent messaging across all sectors of the government.

This leads me to my next point, which is that there must be coordination between all levels of government from the municipal and provincial to the federal levels. We already face barriers to clean energy project developments because of differing laws at each government level. Currently, there are several ministries at the federal level that play a part in the just transition, but no central ministry, group or committee that oversees the development, management and implementation of just transition policy in Canada. It is essential that this group not be an advisory board, because advice can be ignored. Rather, this group needs to have the authority to ensure workers' needs are centred and shape the legislation.

To summarize, to create a fair and equitable energy transition start with communities, involve everyone and listen. Dedicate funding and resources towards a national upskilling initiative. Create career opportunities through repositioning businesses, retrofitting and repurposing infrastructure, and indigenous-led climate solutions. Create a central government authority on the just transition legislation creation, management and implementation. Above all, be clear and consistent with all messaging.

Thank you.

4:05 p.m.


The Chair Liberal John Aldag

Thank you so much.

We now have four sets of questions at six minutes each.

First up will be Mr. McLean.

4:05 p.m.


Greg McLean Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you to all the witnesses today. This was all very informative. We have a good list of very informed witnesses. I'm anxious to get to the questions.

First, Ms. Joseph, I'm going to be a little technical here, but it's employment we're talking about. Can you tell me how many people work in the Canadian oil and gas industry?

4:05 p.m.

Vice-President, Government Relations and Indigenous Affairs, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers

Shannon Joseph

Directly and indirectly, and that includes our national supply chain, we're looking at over 522,000 people.

4:05 p.m.


Greg McLean Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Would the 522,000 include the oil and gas producers, the oil and gas service industry, as well as the suppliers in other parts of the country that are providing hardware, such as steel for your inputs—

4:05 p.m.

Vice-President, Government Relations and Indigenous Affairs, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers

Shannon Joseph

That's correct.

4:05 p.m.


Greg McLean Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

—and technical staff as well, in software and everything else?

4:05 p.m.

Vice-President, Government Relations and Indigenous Affairs, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers

Shannon Joseph

There would be software consultants, environmental consultants, etc.

4:05 p.m.


Greg McLean Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

That's 522,000 employees who are part of your industry. Thank you.

Do you know how many direct employees at Natural Resources Canada are employed to either exclusively or mostly deal with the oil and gas industry in Canada?

4:05 p.m.

Vice-President, Government Relations and Indigenous Affairs, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers

Shannon Joseph

I could provide that number to the committee. I don't have that number offhand.

4:05 p.m.


Greg McLean Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Okay. Thank you.

With regard to public officials across Canada, do you know how many are employed at all the provincial governments that are also dealing with your industry on almost a daily basis?