Canada’s unions: Canadian Sustainable Jobs Act an unprecedented opportunity for collaboration

June 14, 2023

Bruske: Workers, unions, industry, and governments must work together on climate change

OTTAWA – Canada’s unions applaud the emphasis on workers and the inclusion of key labour priorities in the federal government’s Canadian Sustainable Jobs Act announced today. The Act, which emerged as a result of the New Democrat and Liberals’ Supply and Confidence Agreement, presents an unprecedented opportunity to foster collaboration among workers, their unions, industry, and governments to strengthen our economy as we tackle climate change.

With the mounting impacts of climate change, such as devastating wildfires and extreme storms, Canadians are witnessing firsthand the urgent need for action. “The Sustainable Jobs Act represents a significant step in recognizing the importance of good work as we fight climate change,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. “By prioritizing workers and incorporating many of our key concerns, this legislation presents an opportunity to establish a model of collaboration that places workers, their unions, industry, and governments on the same path towards a sustainable and resilient economy.”

Canada’s unions call for collective efforts to achieve our climate ambitions while creating and protecting good, unionized jobs in a low-carbon economy, with pathways into these jobs for women, Indigenous and racialized workers, and other equity-seeking groups. 

The Sustainable Jobs Partnership Council will play a key role in shaping policies and decisions; workers must have a sufficient voice at the table. We will advocate for their meaningful inclusion and equal representation.

“To build a sustainable economy, workers must have a clear say in the decision-making process. Their future, as well as their families’ and communities’, should be at the heart of Canada’s plans,” said Bruske. “Workers’ voices and activism have been instrumental in pushing this government to act on climate, and without continued engagement and collaboration, Canada won’t meet its climate goals.”

Canada’s unions will continue to push Canada to meet its international commitments for a Just Transition, with investments in supports for those whose work is affected by climate change. We will press for investments to create new jobs, comprehensive training initiatives, upskilling and reskilling, skills recognition, Employment Insurance (EI), mental health support, family support, pension bridging, relocation assistance, and other essential measures. Canada’s unions also call for clear, unambiguous commitments to the central role of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) in delivering programs for workers. 

Bruske said, “The Sustainable Jobs Act signals a crucial milestone in our fight against climate change and the protection of workers’ interests. Canada’s unions stand committed to working alongside all stakeholders to ensure effective implementation towards a sustainable and equitable future for all.”

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