Blog /

Building Canada’s Net-Zero Workforce: Report Highlights 

Building Canada’s Net-Zero Workforce: Report Highlights 

Canada’s transition to net-zero will help mitigate climate change and provide our country with a tremendous economic opportunity.

Canada’s transition to net-zero will help mitigate climate change and provide our country with a tremendous economic opportunity. After all, it is projected that $100 trillion US in private capital will be invested in the global clean economy between now and 2050. Jobs in the clean-energy sector in Canada are expected to grow by 3.4% annually from 2020 to 2030, nearly four times faster than the Canadian average. 

Canada is uniquely poised to capitalize on this opportunity given our skilled workforce, abundance of natural resources, and significant targeted investments in clean energy and sustainable infrastructure. However, given the significant workforce challenges Canada is facing — a record number of retirements and historically low unemployment-to-job-vacancy ratio and birth rates — how can we build a workforce that will not only support this transition, but also ensure we can reap the economic benefits from it? 

The new report, Building Canada’s Net-Zero Workforce, developed on behalf of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Net-Zero Council, aims to answer that very important question. The report lays out the rational for and benefits and potential components of a federal net-zero workforce plan that would guide the government, industry, and workers through this pivotal shift.  

The Benefits of a Net-Zero Workforce Plan 

The plan will help us build a resilient workforce and deliver on our 2030 and 2050 net-zero goals and ambitions. Leveraging Bill C-50 (the Sustainable Jobs Act) as its foundation, the plan will unlock massive economic potential, including: 

  • A transformed workforce with opportunities to apply new knowledge and skills to climate solutions.  
  • A private sector that is incentivized to contribute to physical and human capital efficiency strategies.  
  • Sustainable job creation and economic growth built on regional and sectoral approaches, acknowledging differentiated impacts of labour shortages and the transition to net-zero. 
  • New opportunities for historically underrepresented groups to participate and thrive in Canada’s economic future.  

Advancing a Net-Zero Workforce Plan 

Closing the gap between the number of roles and the skilled workers needed in the net-zero economy can be achieved by prioritizing the following areas: 

Indigenous Engagement 

Distinct from related diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, it is critical to establish a baseline of Indigenous representation in certain industries. Addressing the barriers to entry will allow for a diverse set of skills and perspectives to be included during the workforce transition and align with Bill C-50’s diversity and inclusion objectives. 

Lead with Industry 

Strategic labour market research can identify which sectors are experiencing job loss and/or are at risk of being phased out in the net-zero transition.  

Engage Education and Training Institutions 

Leveraging public and stakeholder consultation, community workshops, focus groups, and industry surveys can help address gaps and provide upskilling pathways.  

What’s Next? 

As labour and net-zero skill shortages, climate change, demographic shifts, and net-zero commitments converge, the most effective response will be aligning current policies and strategies under one vision for the public and private sectors.  

While developing this response will be a complex and long-term endeavor, there are three activities the government should prioritize:  

Specify the mechanisms and processes of the Sustainable Jobs Secretariat 

  • Appoint a steering committee to oversee labour market research. 
  • Coordinate a regional body and regional advisory boards to support national and provincial collaboration. 

Aid localized job support 

  • Pair top-down and bottom-up approaches from the federal and regional actors to develop accessible and inclusive policy. 
  • Foster networks for regional and industry partnerships. 

Ensure the economic opportunity of Canada’s energy future 

  • Provide industry and businesses with resources and tools that promote understanding of the net-zero jobs transition. 
  • Continue to refine and develop “Made-in-Canada” plan that incentivizes investment opportunities through targeted programming, strategic finance, tax credits, pollution pricing and regulated frameworks. 

Bill C-50 provides the foundation for a net-zero workforce plan that guides, supports and empowers Canada’s workforce to achieve the transition to a net-zero future, provides industry with the certainty needed to invest in net-zero economic opportunities, and positions Canada as a superpower in the clean economy. 

To learn more about the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Net-Zero Council and their advocacy work, visit the Council’s page

Share this