Evidence of meeting #22 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 transition.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Denise Amyot  President and Chief Executive Officer, Colleges and Institutes Canada
Janet Morrison  President and Vice-Chancellor, Sheridan College, Colleges and Institutes Canada
David Agnew  Representative and President, Seneca College, Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery (C2R2)
Larry Rousseau  Executive Vice-President, Canadian Labour Congress
Kevin Nilsen  President and Chief Executive Officer, Environmental Careers Organization of Canada
Noel Baldwin  Director, Government and Public Affairs, Future Skills Centre
Tricia Williams  Director, Research, Evaluation and Knowledge Mobilization, Future Skills Centre
Michael Burt  Vice President, The Conference Board of Canada
Monique Pauzé  Repentigny, BQ
Tara Peel  Political Assistant to the President, Canadian Labour Congress

3:50 p.m.


The Chair Liberal John Aldag

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—

3:50 p.m.


Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

I have a point of order.

3:50 p.m.


The Chair Liberal John Aldag

We have Mr. Angus on a point of order.

3:50 p.m.


Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Chair, twice I have asked you to make sure that the Canadian Labour Congress could attend, and you have done that, so I want to put it on the record to thank you and to thank our excellent clerk for the work.

3:50 p.m.


The Chair Liberal John Aldag

Thank you for noting that.

Thank you to the Canadian Labour Congress, as well as all witnesses, for making yourselves available today.

We have six organizations. I'll introduce them. Each will have five minutes to do an opening statement.

I understand that Denise Amyot, the president and CEO of Colleges and Institutes Canada, needs to leave at 4:30. I would like to start with her so that we can get her five-minute testimony. We also have with us Janet Morrison from Colleges and Institutes Canada, who I believe will be here for the duration of the questions and answers.

3:55 p.m.

Denise Amyot President and Chief Executive Officer, Colleges and Institutes Canada

I'm okay now, Mr. Chair.

3:55 p.m.


The Chair Liberal John Aldag

Okay. I've already said you can start, so if you're comfortable going first, I will turn the floor over to you. I'll give you five minutes on the clock, and then we'll move through the rest of the witnesses for their opening statements.

With that, the floor is yours.

3:55 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Colleges and Institutes Canada

Denise Amyot

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.

3:55 p.m.


The Chair Liberal John Aldag

Ms. Morrison, you have a minute and a half.

3:55 p.m.

Janet Morrison President and Vice-Chancellor, Sheridan College, Colleges and Institutes Canada

Thank you so much, Denise.

It is my pleasure to be here, both on behalf of Sheridan College as president and vice-chancellor and as chair of CICan's President's Advisory Committee on Sustainability. This is a pan-Canadian group of 12 presidents and 142 members in our sector who are providing strategic advice and fostering collaboration for our entire membership on issues of social and environmental sustainability.

I am just very pleased to be here today to talk about how colleges are actively supporting all components of a fair and equitable energy transformation in Canada. We would be very excited to talk with members about what that looks like in practice. We are already, and will continue to be, at the forefront of this transformation. There's more we can and want to do to leverage the strengths of our sector and provide Canadians with the skills and training they need to thrive in a net-zero economy.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to contribute to these discussions this evening. We look forward to your questions.

4 p.m.


The Chair Liberal John Aldag

Thank you. You were nice and tight on the opening statements. I appreciate it.

We're going next to Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery and Mr. Agnew.

I understand that there were some challenges during the sound check, so if we have any problems with the connection, I'll stop you. We want to make sure our interpreters are able to hear. We'll give this a try and hope that it all works out.

Mr. Agnew, we go over to you for five minutes.

4 p.m.

David Agnew Representative and President, Seneca College, Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery (C2R2)

Thank you very much.

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.

4:05 p.m.


The Chair Liberal John Aldag

That's great. Thank you.

You were right on time and your audio was perfect. It looks as though we're good.

We'll go now to the Canadian Labour Congress. We have Mr. Rousseau, who will provide the opening statement.

It's over to you for your five-minute opening statement.

4:05 p.m.

Larry Rousseau Executive Vice-President, Canadian Labour Congress

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.

4:10 p.m.


The Chair Liberal John Aldag

Thank you for your opening comments.

I want to also welcome Ms. Peel, political assistant to the president of the Canadian Labour Congress, as part of the panel today.

4:10 p.m.

Executive Vice-President, Canadian Labour Congress

Larry Rousseau

Thank you for doing that.

4:10 p.m.


The Chair Liberal John Aldag

We will jump now to the Environmental Careers Organization of Canada, with Mr. Nilsen, president and CEO.

With that, I've reset for five minutes.

The floor is yours.

4:10 p.m.

Kevin Nilsen President and Chief Executive Officer, Environmental Careers Organization of Canada

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.

4:15 p.m.


The Chair Liberal John Aldag

Perfect. Thank you so much.

In person, we have Noel Baldwin and Tricia Williams from Future Skills Centre. I don't know who's going to take the five minutes or if you want to share it, but I'll turn the clock over to you for your five-minute opening statement.

The floor is yours.

May 16th, 2022 / 4:15 p.m.

Noel Baldwin Director, Government and Public Affairs, Future Skills Centre

Thank you.

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.

4:15 p.m.

Dr. Tricia Williams Director, Research, Evaluation and Knowledge Mobilization, Future Skills Centre

Thank you, Noel.

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.

4:20 p.m.


The Chair Liberal John Aldag

Wonderful. Thank you for your opening comments.

Last but not least, from the Conference Board of Canada we have Mr. Michael Burt, vice-president.

If you're ready to go, the floor is yours.

4:20 p.m.

Michael Burt Vice President, The Conference Board of Canada

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.

4:25 p.m.


The Chair Liberal John Aldag

Thank you to everyone for your opening comments.

Go ahead, Mr. Angus

4:25 p.m.


Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

As a point of clarification, I didn't hear the number you said for green-collar jobs. Did you say 900,000?