Canada’s net-zero emissions target could cost up to 450,000 jobs

By Catherine Griwkowsky April 7, 2021

If Ottawa implements its 2050 net-zero emissions targets, 50 to 75 per cent of oil and gas jobs could be displaced.

That’s according to a new report from TD Economics that warns provincial and federal governments must fund retraining efforts in order to ensure hundreds of thousands of workers aren’t left behind during the energy transition.

A“just transition” away from fossil fuel dependency “needs a localized policy framework” that targets the regions that will be most impacted by oil and gas job losses, such as Alberta, the authors state.

We are in an “era where workers are far less likely to relocate for work than in the past,” which could mean provinces like Ontario, which currently houses 40 per cent of Canada’s wind power capacity and 98 per cent of Canada’s solar capacity, gain the lion’s share of renewable energy jobs.

“A disorderly transition creates a stronger impulse for job losses, geographic inequity and a deterioration in inequality,” the report states.

Canada’s “patchwork of policies” for laid-off workers leave “much to be desired,” per the report, which encourages programs that are consistent and relevant for the job market.

Speaking at the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) symposium on Tuesday, Energy Minister Sonya Savage had a far more bullish projection for the industry.

“It’s notable that every single credible forecast shows that oil and gas will continue to dominate the energy mix for decades to come,” Savage told attendees. “And while we’re going to see more and more alternatives and renewable energy and lower carbon energy enter into that energy mix, there’s still a dominant role for oil and gas.”

Savage cited carbon capture, utilization and storage technology as a necessary part of reaching net-zero emissions targets, an area of common ground between the UCP and Ottawa.