On 20 July 2021, Natural Resources Canada published its People-Centred Just Transition discussion paper, inviting stakeholder feedback on proposed legislation to enact an inclusive and fair transition to a carbon neutral economy.

The consultation seeks comment on draft just transition principles meant to inform government policy and decision-making related to climate change action, and the creation of a Just Transition Advisory Body to provide strategic guidance on implementation.

Key recommendations

PRI supports the Canadian Government in legislating for a people-centred just transition; this will be key to accelerating urgently needed climate action in ways that will impact the real economy and deliver the Sustainable Development Goals. Policymakers, companies, and investors have vital roles to play in ensuring that human rights and climate justice are upheld throughout the transition to a carbon neutral economy.

In the face of systemic climate risk, investors increasingly want to understand how their investment decisions contribute to real-world outcomes. They understand that negative consequences from unsustainable economic activities undermine long term value creation, and they seek better alignment of capital allocation with the sustainability preferences of their beneficiaries. To date, over 158 institutional investors with $10.1 trn in assets have endorsed a PRI-led commitment to the just transition[1].

The PRI recommends:

  • Just transition legislation should enable the Government of Canada to take proactive and decisive climate action measures that deliver real economy outcomes aligned with the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. It should set out robust rules for public participation, establish social and environmental safeguards and develop independent grievance mechanisms for all proposed climate solutions.
  • Just transition legislation, and the People-Centred Just transition Principles, should clearly reference the International Labour Organization guidelines for a just transition towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all, the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Just transition legislation, and the People-Centred Just transition Principles, should explicitly name financially vulnerable consumers as stakeholders. Just transition legislation should ensure for equitable distribution of access to energy and climate solutions at an affordable price and encourage ownership and/or co-benefits of climate solutions by Indigenous groups and disadvantaged communities[2].
  • Membership of the Just Transition Advisory Body should ensure adequate sectoral, regional, and Indigenous representation, and strive to reflect the diversity of Canadian society. The advisory body should be tasked with translating the People-Centred Just Transition Principles into clear and measurable expectations, specific to each province’s unique circumstances, to guide legislators, policymakers, and market participants.
  • The Just Transition Advisory Body should establish provincial just transition implementation plans based on Paris-aligned national net-zero pathways set out by the Net Zero Advisory Body, and informed by meaningful social dialogue with affected communities, including the free prior informed consent of Indigenous peoples. The plans should include interim 2025 targets.

Download the detailed response below.