We are facing an unprecedented climate emergency around the world, and time is running out to take action. This election is Canada’s opportunity to elect a government that will rise to the challenge by urgently reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, ensuring a just transition to jobs in renewable energy for workers and our communities, and addressing environmental racism.
Devastating impacts of climate change
The last few months have once again shown us the frightening impacts of climate change. Towns burned as parts of Canada experienced record-breaking heat waves, intense wildfires and a lack of rainfall. Hundreds died from the heat and thousands more were displaced by the fires that threatened and devasted whole communities.
The severe drought, meanwhile, has led to a decline in crop yields and is expected to increase food insecurity.
These are just some of the devastating effects of climate change. There is no time to waste.
Canada must take action
As part of the global effort to address the crisis, Canada needs to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and ensure steady progress towards this goal by hitting clear milestones along the way.
A national carbon pricing system that discourages using fossil fuels is key to achieving this target, along with initiatives that aim to reduce emissions from some of Canada’s biggest polluters in industries like oil and gas that are responsible for the largest share of Canada’s carbon output.
Putting people first
The transition to a low-carbon economy cannot leave energy workers behind.
As union members, we’re calling for a robust and well-funded support program, enshrined in “just transition” legislation, to help workers and communities moving out of carbon-intensive industries with skills training, career support and an expanded social safety net.
At the same time, we know that ambitious public investments in transit, sustainable building construction, and renewable energy production will create good jobs for the green economy.
As the largest employer in Canada, the federal government also has to step up to reduce its carbon footprint and set an example for other organizations by supporting public service workers with remote work arrangements, public transit passes, and energy-efficient equipment in workplaces.
Addressing environmental racism
The climate emergency also continues to have a disproportionate impact on low-income communities — often overrepresented by Indigenous, Black and racialized peoples.
We need to proactively assess the impacts of the climate emergency and transition measures on marginalized communities and prioritize addressing any negative effects.
Conservatives still don’t think climate change is real
Despite deadly heat waves, wildfires and Parliament declaring a national climate emergency more than two years ago — Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives still won’t acknowledge that 'climate change is real.'
This continues a pattern of denial and contempt for climate research that began under the Harper government, which slashed environmental regulations, muzzled climate scientists, and promoted oil and gas developments.
With predictions of more extreme and dangerous climate change in the coming years, we can’t afford to delay action any longer. We need leaders who will commit to net zero emissions by 2050 while ensuring a just transition and addressing environmental racism.
This is our chance to choose a government that will put Canadians first by urgently addressing the climate emergency.