Canada needs comprehensive energy strategy to address global warming: study

October 25, 2011

OTTAWA—Canada needs a comprehensive national energy policy, says a study released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

The study, by John Calvert and Marjorie Griffin Cohen, finds Canadian energy policy is explicitly driven by private market-based decisions, rather than careful planning by government to ensure good economic, environmental and labour outcomes.

“Canada needs a comprehensive energy strategy that would base its priorities on the urgent need to address global warming,” says Griffin Cohen. “Trade unions, as well as environmentalists and civil society, need to be part of a strategy that does not simply rely on market-based decisions by the corporate sector.”

The study examines employment trends in Canada’s energy sector and finds public policy is reinforcing reliance on traditional energy employment, rather than focusing on the planning for and training of a ‘green’ workforce.

According to the study, the claims that many new jobs will be created as the economy shifts from dirty energy production to clean, renewable energy are exaggerated. New production in renewable industries such as wind and solar is more labour-intensive than in existing electricity production, but these jobs tend to be poorly paid and temporary, mainly because electricity generation is shifting to the private sector, rather than occurring in public utilities. .

“While the renewable energy sector is likely to grow considerably by 2020, its job creation potential is relatively small,” says Calvert. “Since most permanent jobs related to ‘green’ energy are created through the manufacturing of green technology, the absence of a national policy to increase domestic use of this technology through Canadian-based manufacturing means the loss of the employment potential of renewable energy expansion.”


Climate Change and the Canadian Energy Sector: Implications for Labour and Trade Unions is available on the CCPA website:

For more information contact Kerri-Anne Finn, CCPA Senior Communications Officer, at 613-563-1341 x306.