The COVID-19 pandemic is not like any other recession. Job losses have been steeper & deeper and have been felt most in specific industries and by certain demographics. So as we begin the thoughtful journey to build back better, it's imperative we implement solutions that are reflective of this unique situation. Given where we are now and which sectors and individuals have been impacted most, we have the opportunity to choose a stimulus strategy that builds in economic, health and climate benefits.
Community Energy Association and the BC Municipal Climate Leadership Council have created a guide to provide critical policy insights for job creation, while leveraging climate action for a strong economic recovery. A link to the resource is below, but keep this in mind as your exploring it:
1. COVID Job losses are different
- COVID job losses are steeper and deeper: Canada is experiencing the highest unemployment rate since comparable statistics started in 1976 at over 13%, but the real unemployment rate is closer 20% if you include those not looking for work. Add in those working less than 50% of regular hours and it is a third of the workforce
- The job losses are mainly from youth working in food, hospitality, retail, and recreation sectors
- Job losses vary significantly regionally
2. Job creation coming out of COVID must be different
- Responsive to regional differences and a key role for local governments
- Different job creation strategies for 3 stages:
- Summer jobs: infrastructure changes to support food, recreation, and retail as well as jobs with low training requirements that youth can do (climate mitigation and adaptation projects are ideal for this)
- Weathering a 2nd wave: dynamic day-to-day management
- Building the future: Infrastructure and continued youth employment support
Traditional stimulus will stimulate sectors already working. COVID job creation must be local and youth-focused – local government climate mitigation and adaptation initiatives are ideal for this.
Dale Littlejohn, CEA's Executive Director, further noted, “COVID has been the greatest collective experiment in caring, particularly for elders and those most at risk, of our time. As we begin the careful journey to get people, particularly youth, back to work, local governments are exploring their role. CEA has developed a pathway for local governments and has identified solutions that address the economic imperative without sacrificing other priorities. Ultimately, actively building the future is full of opportunity to support healthy, resilient communities.”
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Recently our Senior Community Energy Manager, Maya Chorobik, joined the David Suzuki Foundation's Charged Up team and the Climate Caucus to explore these solutions in the context of city climate action in the time of COVID-19. To sign up to receive access to the recorded webinar, visit https://bit.ly/CityBuilderWebinarCovidClimateAction