This report (PDF, 5.8MB) examines the work of Canada’s Just Transition Task Force, a panel commissioned by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change in 2018. Its mandate was to engage stakeholders affected by the national phase-out of coal-fired power. This report is the second of five case studies that focus on initiatives to reduce polarization over energy and climate issues in Canada.
Authored by Positive Energy Senior Research Associate Brendan Frank and uOttawa Ph.D. candidate Sébastien Girard Lindsay, this report examines elements of the Task Force’s activities that may have helped to depolarize opinions over the coal phase-out. Most important were the neutral, non-partisan approach and the demonstration of ethical commitment of Task Force members, aided by a dynamic, iterative approach to consultations that took regional realities into consideration.
However, the Task Force’s work may have been undermined by several factors. First, the composition of the Task Force was vocationally but not geographically representative of the communities and groups with which it consulted. Second, the Task Force was not responsible for implementing its own recommendations. As such, its ultimate effect on polarization rests in part on how Ottawa proceeds with the phase-out. Lastly, the Task Force’s work also involved areas of both federal and provincial jurisdiction, which complicates the implementation of some of its recommendations.