Proposed regulations could help spur “jobs boom” in emissions reduction, says Alberta union leader

McGowan says the cap will also help Alberta’s oil & gas industry compete in a “carbon constrained world”

The following is a statement from Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) President Gil McGowan on the federal government’s newly-proposed emissions cap regulations:

EDMONTON – “I’m a proud Albertan – and like many other proud Albertans, I believe we have to do our part to address the increasingly obvious threats posed by climate change. That’s why I’m not lighting my hair on fire about the proposed emissions cap. It aligns with targets that our oil sands companies themselves have said they can and should meet. It even allows for more time to meet those targets, exactly as the industry itself has been requesting.

“Far from being an ‘attack on Alberta,’ as some have characterized it, the cap lays out a centrist and moderate approach, based on what’s technically feasible. Basically, the proposed regulations are the final piece in a package of carrot-and-stick measures aimed at getting the industry to reduce its emissions by investing heavily in things like carbon capture and methane reduction. These two approaches, by themselves, will get the industry most of the way to meeting the requirements of the cap, while still allowing them to increase production.

“After reviewing the draft regulations in detail, we at the Alberta Federation of Labour are optimistic that they will help Alberta workers and the Alberta economy by further incentivizing oil companies to invest more of their record profits in mitigation measures, like CCUS and methane reduction. In fact, as an Alberta labour leader and worker advocate, I feel very strongly that we should be talking about how these historic investments can lead to an emissions reduction jobs boom in Alberta, as opposed to the jobs bust that the naysayers are predicting.

“As a result of the suite of measures announced over the past few years, culminating in these regulations, thousands and thousands of jobs for Albertans will be created in CCUS and methane reduction projects. And thanks to this cap, the industry itself will pay for more of these projects, as opposed to leaning too heavily on taxpayer-financed subsidies. These investments will also position our oil and gas industry to continue to be competitive in a world that is increasingly demanding lower carbon products – an outcome that can only be good for our province.

“As an elected representative for 175,000 Alberta workers, I find it distasteful and disappointing that some political actors in our province, including our Premier Danielle Smith, are trying to weaponize these regulations for political gain. The majority of Albertans understand that we can’t bury our heads in the sand about climate change or ignore the rapidly unfolding global energy transition. They also know that divisive rhetoric won’t hold back the tides of change; and they understand that denial is not a plan. Instead of grandstanding, crying wolf and playing political games we should work together to prepare our province and our economy for a future that’s clearly going to look different than our past. That’s why, on behalf of the working Albertans I represent, I will be actively and constructively participating in the consultations on these regulations, as will, I am sure, representatives of the Alberta business community. I hope representatives of our provincial government do the same.”


Ian Hussey
Director of Government Relations and Political Action, AFL