TORONTO—A union-backed environmental advocacy group says Ontario could create 25,000 new jobs by 2025 by reducing energy consumption in the province by 25 per cent.
A new report from Blue Green Canada, an alliance formed by a pair of major Canadian unions and a handful of environmental organizations, said economic research shows a 25 per cent reduction in energy use would also result in a $3.7-billion increase in the province’s gross domestic product, as well as provincial and federal deficit reductions of close to $2-billion.
“Saving energy can put people to work doing things like building windows and doors, making our homes more efficient and designing new, green buildings. It’s not just good energy policy; it’s good economic policy,” said Mark Rowlinson of the United Steelworkers (USW) union, one of Blue Green Canada’s member organizations.
“Ontario needs to catch up to leading jurisdictions by making this a priority. And with smart policy, we can make sure the jobs are retained in the province.”
According to the group, implementing these 25/25/25 targets would result in a 1.6 per cent increase in growth for Ontario’s manufacturing sector, with paper and allied products and primary metals seeing the greatest benefit.
As well, Blue Green Canada says greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by 19 million tonnes, more than the total emissions from the Nanticoke coal generation plant in southwestern Ontario when it was running at full capacity.
“This report comes as government is deciding what role conservation will play in the province’s energy plan, and shows that acting aggressively to cut energy waste is good for the economy and our environment,” said Gillian McEachern of Environmental Defence Canada, another member organization of the group.
“Energy conservation is by far the cheapest way to reduce carbon pollution and should be a priority in our fight against climate change.”
The report, More jobs, less pollution, also recommends that the province set an ambitious energy conservation target in its energy plan, develop a strategy to harness the jobs and economic benefits of conservation, and put in place the right financial signals for industry, businesses and homeowners to save energy.