The UN’s latest climate report means a “death knell” for coal and fossil fuels. What role should Canada’s social sector play in a just transition?

Consultations for ‘just transition’ in Canada typically include labour leaders, industry representatives, and environmental organizations, but can leave out Indigenous and youth-led groups.

Why It Matters

Communities forced to move away from fossil fuel industries for their local economy will see major social change if a transition plan doesn’t take social well-being, the identity of workers, and mental health services into account.

Between her upcoming dissertation, the imminent federal election campaign, and her work as co-founder of both Shake Up The Establishment (SUTE) and missINFORMED, Manvi Bhalla is very busy. 

She says she doesn’t normally miss big developments in the news cycle on climate change, but she didn’t initially notice the federal government’s announcement in late July of a broad consultation on ‘just transition’ — the idea of transitioning fossil fuel reliant sectors of the economy (and the workforces that run them) to a low carbon future. One of her team members had to point it out to her. 

As the co-founder of a youth organization devoted to climate justice, and a masters’ student who studies how public health authorities understand climate change related health risks, Bhalla knew she wanted to give her two cents in the government’s consultation. But on such

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