Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

The Greenstone Government of Canada Building in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories integrates solar right into the design of the building, an effort to bring energy efficiency and renewable energy to commercial buildings as well. (Photo: Green Energy Futures - David Dodge/flickr/cc)

In Canada, More Jobs in Green Energy than Tar Sands

'The global clean energy revolution isn’t a future scenario—it is underway right now,' declares Clean Energy Canada

Deirdre Fulton

Canada's clean energy sector is booming, with the number of people who work for green energy organizations outnumbering those whose work relates to tar sands, finds the first annual status report on the country's shift to renewable power. 

The study, Tracking the Energy Revolution: Canada (pdf), reveals a 37 percent employment increase and a cumulative investment of $25 billion in the green energy sector over the past five years. In addition, the energy-generating capacity of Canada's wind, solar, run-of-river hydropower and biomass plants has expanded by 93 percent since 2009, and electric vehicle sales doubled between 2012 and 2013, the report says.

"The global clean energy revolution isn’t a future scenario," said Merran Smith, director of Clean Energy Canada, which put out the report. "It is underway right now, and it presents huge potential benefits for Canadians." 

Tracking the Energy Revolution praises provincial leadership in Quebec and Ontario for pushing policies that promote wind and solar energy, but it criticizes other jurisdictions, such as Alberta and Saskatchewan, as well as "a seemingly indifferent federal government" for "not yet pursuing their opportunities with the necessary vigor to unlock our clean energy potential."

While Ottawa—the seat of Canada's federal government—has laid important groundwork to cut energy waste and support clean power, the report notes that only three of the country's most effective clean energy policies are actually in effect today. "Ottawa has laid a foundation for clean energy, but has done very little to build on it," reads the study.

Clean Energy Canada also calls for more domestic investment in the green sector, pointing out that "with one exception, foreign banks are funding Canada’s clean-energy revolution."

"The fact that foreign investors are coming to Canada to invest in our clean energy, tells us that we have a fantastic resource," Smith told the Globe and Mail. Then, referencing Canada's equivalent of Wall Street, she added: "We need Bay Street to wake up and recognize this is where the puck is going."

The report also recommends that provinces continue cutting their reliance on coal and implement a renewable portfolio standard to increase the share of renewables on the electric grid.

And on the federal level, Clean Energy Canada advocates creating tax breaks for renewable technologies akin to those from which the oil industry benefited; ramping up financial support for infrastructure such as new electrical transmission lines, smart grids, and electric vehicle charging stations; and putting a price on carbon pollution.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Cancel It, Don't Means Test It!' Omar Says of Student Debt

Progressive lawmakers and other critics continue to warn the Biden administration against the "logistical nightmare" of limiting debt cancellation by income.

Jessica Corbett ·

Trump DOJ Casting Long Shadow Over Biden Admin: Analysis

The Biden administration "should adopt Trump's positions about as often as a stopped clock is accurate," the Revolving Door Project argues.

Brett Wilkins ·

'Fueling the Flames': Model Shows Growing Risk of Wildfires in US

"It's time to end fossil fuels and better manage our forests."

Jessica Corbett ·

Sentenced for Coal Blockade, Climate Activists Vow to 'Continue to Do What Must Be Done'

"The judge seemed more concerned that these non-violent activists disrupted profits than the fact that the continued use of coal is causing irreparable harm to the planet," said one supporter.

Julia Conley ·

Chile Finalizes New Draft Constitution in Bid to Bury Pinochet's Neoliberal Legacy

"This is an ecological and equal constitution with social rights at its very core," the president of Chile's constituent assembly said of the new document, which the nation's adults will vote on in September.

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo