Just transition legislation #KAIROSClimateAction
As we transform our economy from an extractive one to one that is regenerative and reliant on the use of resources within Earth’s carrying capacity, we need to ensure a just transformation for workers and disadvantaged social groups as well. This means investing in re-training opportunities for workers, supporting affected communities, and ensuring that those who are traditionally excluded from well-paying and stable employment are included in the emerging economy. Just Transition is also about a transformation of our own relationships with the earth and with one another.
Recently, the federal government announced a process to engage Canadians on potential elements of proposed just transition legislation and the creation of a just transition advisory body. Trade unions, as well as women, Indigenous and racialized people who are underrepresented in the current energy sector must be part of this body and their needs centered in the development of any proposed legislation. This legislation must also be rooted in Indigenous principles of just transition.
A principle of just transition legislation must be the recognition of rights, including Indigenous rights, labour rights, and migrant rights. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) puts it this way,
In the absence of a broad, rights-based framework, Canadian legislation intended to support the transition to a lower-carbon economy may further exacerbate existing inequities. The disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on already disadvantaged groups further highlights the need for greater legal heft behind equity imperatives. As many advocates for a just transition argue, ‘an equitable transformation of the economy must be an inherent right of all workers and communities, rather than an economic privilege afforded to some.’
Read more from CCPA in its Roadmap to a Canadian Just Transition Act A path to a clean and inclusive economy.