TORONTO, April 6, 2016 /CNW/ - Unifor supports the goals of Ontario's climate change action program but the union, representing members who work at 30 of the 150 large emitters listed on Ontario's reporting facilities data base, is calling for constructive changes to Bill 172.
"We want cap and trade to work," said Unifor Ontario Regional Director Katha Fortier. "However we believe that its success depends on our ability to demonstrate to Ontario workers that they will not be left behind as economic and environmental change transforms our province."
That's the message Ms. Fortier and Fred Wilson, Unifor Director of Strategic Planning will deliver today at the Standing Committee on General Government hearings on Bill 172, Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act.
"We're asking MPPs to think about these workers" said Wilson. "We need to ensure that this Act gives us the tools to protect their jobs and to provide a just transition when the impact of climate change policy cannot be mitigated."
Unifor's key recommendations include:
- A framework for imposing a carbon price border adjustment on any product impacting our EITE (Emission Intensive Trade Exposed) sector that enters Ontario from a jurisdiction without a carbon price or with a lesser price
- Reporting on GHG content extended to apply to cement, mined products, automobiles and auto parts, pulp and paper products or other products that are applicable to our EITE sector
- Special consideration provided to economic sectors which must carry an extraordinary burden of change
- Make it clear that transitional credits are for the purpose of supporting employment stability and that these credits shall be provided for a period of time and with conditions which provide both a long term certainty for employers and security for workers
- Current work producing energy should transition into work producing green energy with employers required to work with unions to develop labour adjustment plans that will ensure displaced workers benefit from good jobs in this new economy
- Unifor proposes that "just transition" measures be explicitly referenced in Bill 172, as it was in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, as a principle informing and guiding the implementation of climate change action plans.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 members.
For further information: please contact Unifor Communications National Representative Kathleen O'Keefe at Kathleen.OKeefe@unifor.org or 416-896-3303 (cell)