Panel will debate how to ‘green’ jobs in Canada

Climate change activists, academics and union representatives will meet Thursday to discuss how to create “green” jobs in Canada and make existing jobs more green as well.

The panel discussion, Green/ing Jobs: Definitions, Dilemmas, Strategies, will address issues such as what is a green job, who will benefit in the transition to a low-carbon economy and what strategies will be needed to transition to greener workplaces.

     Right:  Carla Lipsig-Mummé

The discussion is part of the Work in a Warming World (W3) project led by York Professor Carla Lipsig-Mummé. The project brings together 43 organizations and researchers from 10 universities in three countries to examine how the work world can help slow global warming and to develop practical strategies for adapting employment to a warming world. It starts at 3pm in 100A Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George St.

Speakers include:

Clare Demerse
, associate director of the Climate Change Program, the Pembina Institute,who will discuss the need to convey the net employment benefits of efforts to reach Canada’s emissions reduction targets and to focus on the number of net new jobs a given green policy could create. 

Sara Letourneau, director of the Labour Climate Project, BlueGreen Alliance (US), a partnership of nine major unions and four national environmental organizations, who will speak about creation of green jobs in the US. In 2009, almost $80 billion was directed clean energy investment in residential weatherization, advanced energy manufacturing tax credits, the expansion of renewable energy, high-speed rail, advanced auto technology, green-jobs training programs and other initiatives.

Carla Lipsig-Mummé, principal investigator of Work in a Warming World (W3) and professor of work & labour studies, in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, who will speak about the lack of agreement in defining green jobs. She calls for a broader mix of strategies for reducing emissions and will explore the ways that greening both work and employment can make the work world a significant actor in transitioning to a lower-carbon economy. 

John Cartwright, president of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, who will describe the Better Buildings Partnership in Toronto and initiatives in the US and Europe that could serve as models for a comprehensive green redesign of all economic sectors. 

Tony Clarke, director of the Polaris Institute of Canada, who will discuss the Green Economy Network, a new initiative of union, and economic and social justice organizations in Canada that is calling for expanded public transit in urban areas and intra-city high-speed rail, public investment in development of clean renewable energy and an energy efficiency program through retrofitting buildings across Canada.  

Marjorie Griffin Cohen, professor in the department of political science of Simon Fraser University, who will focus on the need for major changes in Canada’s energy production sector, which contributes 37.4 per cent of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the need for renewable electricity production by existing public utilities rather than the private sector. 

To attend, RSVP (space is limited).