Paris, France – December 3, 2015 – Union representatives from across Canada are attending the Paris Climate Change Conference this week to call on political leaders to make the creation of high-quality green jobs an essential part of fighting climate change now and in the future.
As part of a 35-member delegation organized by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), representatives from various public and private sector unions in Canada have gathered at the conference to demand a negotiated text that not only contains ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, but also a commitment to support workers and communities who may be negatively impacted by climate change and efforts to mitigate it.
Prior to the conference, the delegation released a statement asking Canada and the world to take bold action in slashing global emissions while providing compensation, retraining, and relocation support for workers who are displaced by climate change policies and mitigation measures. The statement noted that while climate change is "the greatest threat of our time," with the potential to inflict severe and irreversible impacts on people, economies, and the planet, it also presents "the greatest opportunity for economic growth and job creation."
In partnership with the Climate Action Network, the delegation is hosting a forum today where union, government, civil society, and First Nations representatives have been invited to discuss how Canada can make a just transition to a green economy, where job creation and emissions reductions are achieved in unison.
The delegation hopes to emerge from the conference with Canada's political leaders committing to a climate change strategy that will support workers, create one million green jobs in Canada over five years, and reduce our country's greenhouse gas emissions by one-third in the next decade.
"Climate change poses a major threat to our workplaces, communities, and the environment, and that is why Canada and the world must take quick and forceful action to address this issue," says UFCW Canada National President Paul Meinema. "At the same time, the labour movement knows that policymakers will not undertake the changes needed to combat climate change without intense pressure from workers and their unions," he adds.
"So we are calling on our political leaders to work with unions and employers in reducing Canada's greenhouse gas emissions, while supporting displaced workers and creating millions of good quality, unionized jobs in the process. Canadians deserve nothing less."