A green recovery needs a robust building workforce

New coalition will fast-track the workforce needed to build a low-carbon Ontario

Toronto, ON – July 23, 2020 – As governments look to stimulus investments in infrastructure as a vehicle for economic recovery, there is an opportunity to support Ontario’s workforce to ensure the building industry can help meet Canada’s climate goals and create jobs, with equity and inclusion at the forefront. Workforce 2030, which launched today, brings together a broad, cross-sectoral coalition of employers, educators, and workers in the building sector in an unprecedented collaboration to fast-track workforce development.

Workforce 2030’s goal is to accelerate workforce capacity by collectively impacting government policy, business practices, and education. The Coalition is catalyzed by The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) and Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC).

The building industry is a proven cornerstone of economic recovery, able to mobilize shovel-worthy projects such as building retrofits and new low-carbon construction. The industry can play a critical role in Ontario’s recovery by getting people to work while helping reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, create healthier buildings, and improve resilience.

According to CaGBC research, government investment in a green recovery that prioritizes green building combined with progressive policy leadership could, by 2030, lead to over 600,000 direct green building jobs in Ontario and 1.5 million jobs nationally.

While the pandemic has the world’s focus, this remains the critical decade for climate action. Buildings can significantly contribute to Canada’s efforts to reduce carbon, as they account for almost 30 per cent of the country’s GHG emissions when including operations, construction, and materials. In urban centers such as Toronto, approximately half of all emissions come from homes and buildings. An investment in green building will create jobs that will be in demand for years to come as Canada transitions toward a low-carbon economy.

Workforce 2030 is funded by TAF and the Catherine Donnelly Foundation. The coalition work is guided by a senior leadership group of foundational partners, through an Advisory Board.

Workforce 2030 Advisory Board of Foundational Partners

Interested parties can learn more at workforce2030.ca and join the coalition by signing the Declaration of Participation.

Quotes:

“Green building can create significant opportunity. The building industry is a proven cornerstone of economic recovery. If governments invest in a green recovery and undertake progressive policies that prioritize green building, the industry can quickly generate the jobs Ontarians need and transform cities and neighbourhoods for the better.” — Akua Schatz, Vice President of Market Engagement and Advocacy, Canada Green Building Council

“We know first-hand that net-zero construction and deep energy retrofits are technically and financially viable, and critical to achieving Canada’s carbon commitments. What we need now is people: we need to train the workforce of tomorrow, starting today. There are thousands of jobs and decades of work in creating green homes and buildings in all of Canada’s communities.” — Julia Langer, CEO, The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) the seed funder for the Workforce 2030 coalition.

“The success of our industry draws on the skills of generations of workers who come from many backgrounds. Workforce 2030 is a collaboration that will increase the capacity of the skilled trades to meet the low-carbon standards required in the built form of tomorrow. We need to continuously improve low-carbon skills for the entire sector, deepen our commitment to high-quality training, and grow our workforce through equity and inclusion.” — John Cartwright, President, Toronto and York Region Labour Council

“As a sector, we have the solutions and technology to be 2030-ready. The pandemic has expedited trends such as digitalization and building information modeling that were already transforming building design and engineering. By aligning with Workforce 2030, we look to accelerate new approaches for rapid upskilling, grow women’s participation in STEM occupations, and emphasize continuing professional education to build design capacity and deliver enhanced low-carbon buildings performance.” — Sandro Perruzza, CEO of Ontario Society of Professional Engineers

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About CaGBC

CaGBC is the leading national organization dedicated to advancing green building and sustainable community development practices. As the voice of green building in Canada, CaGBC works closely with its members to make every building greener. CaGBC reduces environmental impacts from the built environment through project certification, advocacy and research, and has helped meet the demand for skilled workers by providing green building education to more than 45,000 professionals across the country since 2002. CaGBC established the LEED® green building rating system in Canada and developed the country's first Zero Carbon Building Standard. It also oversees the Canada Coalition for Green Schools and is a member of the World Green Building Council supporting international efforts to reduce environmental impacts from the built environment. For more information: cagbc.org.

About The Atmospheric Fund

The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) is a regional climate agency that invests in low-carbon solutions for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and helps scale them up for broad implementation. We are experienced leaders and collaborate with stakeholders in the private, public and non-profit sectors who have ideas and opportunities for reducing carbon emissions. Supported by endowment funds, we advance the most promising concepts by investing, providing grants, influencing policies and running programs. We’re particularly interested in ideas that offer benefits in addition to carbon reduction such as improving people’s health, creating local jobs, boosting urban resiliency, and contributing to a fair society.