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Construction sector can help build a greener Canadian economy

With provincial officials in British Columbia poised to closing access to a vast section of its backcountry to mitigate the wildfire risk, tourism, as well as many B.C. businesses, will be affected by the loss of revenue. Added to this is the uncertainty of any firm data on financial losses caused by the wildfires, which could still take weeks to compile, reports the Times Colonist.

So the news of the study, Jobs for Tomorrow – Canada’s Building Trades and Net Zero Emissions, should come as some good news to the folks impacted by the worst wildfire season since the 1950s.

Bob Blakely, the COO of Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU), an alliance of 14 unions, was glad to hear the report and said the construction industry is really needed to get Canada to net-zero, reports The Tyee. It was the CBTU who was responsible for instigating the study because there really wasn’t much research on the industry’s role in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Columbia Institute, a think tank, was commissioned to investigate potential job growth in the present climate as Canada moves toward a greener economy. The study explored the history of Canada’s construction sector and focused on its potential for low-carbon job growth. Their findings suggest that as many as 4.0 million building trades job could be created by 2050 as the country transitions to a low-carbon economy.

Vancouver skyline and Burrard Inlet seen from North Vancouver.

Vancouver skyline and Burrard Inlet seen from North Vancouver.

When talking about building trades jobs, there are a whole plethora of employment opportunities, including boilermakers, electricians, carpenters, insulators, ironworkers, heavy equipment operators and much more. Green construction has already become a mandate for Vancouver. On May 1, this year, the City of Vancouver’s updated Green Buildings Policy for Rezonings came into effect.

The B.C. government has followed in Vancouver’s footsteps, stipulating that new construction be net-zero energy ready by 2032. What does net-zero ready mean? They are talking about buildings so efficient that they could satisfy all of their annual energy needs with on-site renewable sources, such as rooftop solar panels.

The province of Ontario has already adopted a similar requirement, and the federal government is looking to encourage other provinces in developing similar strategies. The construction industry will have a major role in providing the jobs needed to reach net-zero emissions, and for those families who have lost their homes or livelihoods because of the wildfires, they will have homes that are more energy-efficient, cleaner and healthier.

Written By

Karen Graham is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for environmental news. Karen's view of what is happening in our world is colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in man's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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