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Focus on sustainability and skills

A green and sustainable economy can be defined as one “that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities”.

(Source: United Nations Environment Program).

235,000 – 400,000

Number of new jobs to be generated through the sustainable economic transition

(Source: RBC)

$125 -140 billion

The required annual private and government investment needed to complete the transition to a net-zero economy

(Source: Federal Budget 2022)

40%

Canada’s target for carbon emissions reduction by 2030 (vs. 2005 levels)

(Source: Government of Canada)

In Canada, this transition to a sustainable economy can be seen on two fronts:

  • the transformation of traditional industries, especially through the implementation of net-zero emission targets for these businesses to contribute to the overall carbon emission reduction;
  • the emergence of new sectors and industries that will help Canada compete in a decarbonized global economy.

This sustainable transition will have a significant impact both in terms of new job opportunities and of skills development needed for existing jobs. According to RBC, 3.1 million jobs (almost 15% of the workforce) will be disrupted over the next 10 years. Many sectors will be affected by these changes including oil and gas, agriculture and food, mining and automotive – among many others.

These green career pathways (in both new and existing industries) can also bring significant opportunities through the upskilling of the workforce, with between 235,000 and 400,000 new jobs potentially added in industries where enhanced skills will be critical.

FSC and its partners have made skills for sustainable futures a strategic priority in order to help Canadian employers and workers navigate the sustainable transition. We support work that identifies current and future skills needs, tests new ways to support the skills development of workers in transitions, and helps employers identify current and future sources of skilled labour.

The transition to a net zero economy will be felt unevenly in different regions, populations and industries. FSC is working with local partners and stakeholders to gain an understanding and ensure that our actions respond to the needs of all — both in terms of environmental impact and for employment opportunities.

Read the latest research on skills and sustainability

Two construction workers in hardhats installing a solar panel

Jobs and skills in the transition to a net-zero economy: A foresight exercise

This report presents a foresight exercise that models the jobs and skills that would be required in a net-zero economy across a set of distinct futures.

Green occupations pathways: from vulnerable jobs to rapid-growth careers

The nature of work in Canada is changing. So is our climate. Can we alleviate…

Transitioning to Jobs in the Clean Economy: From High-Risk Occupations to Green Careers

One in five Canadian employees works at a job that’s vulnerable to automation. The clean…

Responding to Automation: Building a Cleaner Futureexternal link icon

The Future Skills Centre and the Conference Board of Canada research the paths that workers…

Retraining workers will be essential for our net-zero goals

Canada needs a blueprint for a green skills revolution

Discover our projects supporting sustainable skills development

Scuba diver underwater

Test the waters: Competencies for the sustainable blue economy

This research project aims to develop national standards for jobs related to sustainable use of ocean resources, also known as the “blue economy”.
Group photo of construction graduates wearing hard hats.

Workforce 2030: Rapid upskilling for green building

More than 500 workers affected by the pandemic will benefit from training in the green…
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Monitoring climate change in the Northwest Territories

This project builds local capacity for community-based monitoring of towers to measure climate change in…
Image of Fraser Valley Farmland.

The future of food through agricultural technology

This ground-breaking research explores the potential of cellular agriculture – food created in a lab…
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Securing sustainable northern fisheries

This partnership supports small-scale Arctic fisheries by introducing and promoting locally harvested products to Canada’s…
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Free education for an inclusive economy

This research project examines free education in a town grappling with unemployment and recession.
Man smiling while working in a beer brewing factory.

Skills for a clean economy

National research will identify regions and workforce segments disproportionately affected by the pandemic and scope…