CANADIAN PRESS: OTTAWA – Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is hinting the upcoming federal budget might have room for additional aids to help coal industry workers transition to new jobs.
The 2018 federal budget included a $35 million, five-year fund to help retrain coal workers to work in new jobs, but that was before Ottawa assigned a task force to consult affected provinces and communities on what was specifically needed. That task force reported Monday, laying out 10 broad recommendations to help workers prepare for a future without coal.
McKenna told The Canadian Press Monday she was intrigued by most of what was in the report. “There are some really good suggestions here,” she said. “We kind of have to look at it as a package. Most of the things we’re looking at in terms of the budget.”
In 2016, the most recent year for which greenhouse-gas emissions statistics are available, coal accounted for nine per cent of all Canada’s emissions and 71 per cent of emissions from generating electricity. That comes from 16 power stations in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, which are fed by nine remaining mines producing “thermal” coal.
To meet Canada’s international commitment to slash greenhouse-gas emissions by nearly 30 per cent over the next 12 years, McKenna has ordered that all existing coal-fired power plants be shut down or converted to burn natural gas before 2030.