Taking action to eliminate coal pollution is a key component of the Government of Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan. Emissions from coal-fired electricity generation will be phased out by 2030 with Alberta moving towards more renewable energy and natural gas-fired electricity.

Transitioning from coal-fired generation to cleaner sources of energy is the right thing to do to protect our health, economy and environment. We understand this is not an easy time. That’s why we formed an Advisory Panel on Coal Communities (APCC) – to ensure workers and community members are consulted and heard, and to understand their challenges and ideas for the long-term economic sustainability of their communities.

What will the panel do?

The three panel members are experts in the areas of jobs and training, economic development, industry, local governance and indigenous relations.

They will meet with stakeholders and First Nations to:

  • examine the potential effect of the retirements of coal-fired generation plants and associated mining operations on communities
  • identify strategies to support worker transition

These meetings will help the panel fully understand the challenges and opportunities communities are facing so that next steps are responsive to concerns and align with community priorities.

Outcomes

The panel will submit a report with comprehensive advice and options to the government on an approach to support affected workers and communities. The report will include:

  • what the panel heard from community members
  • an assessment of relevant regulations, policies and programs that support workers and communities
  • an assessment of local knowledge, interests and perspectives related to economic impact and retraining opportunities
  • recommendations for connecting impacted communities to GoA resources
  • recommendations and guidance to support community economic transition, as well as specific actions that government can take to support workers and communities during the transition

The panel is expected to report back to government in early 2017. We will work with local elected officials to get information to communities as soon as it’s available.

Stakeholder and public engagement

The panel will hold facilitated discussions with stakeholders and First Nations in communities most affected by the retirements of coal-fired generation facilities and associated mining operations. 

The panel will meet with:

  • municipal leaders
  • First Nations
  • community economic development organizations
  • small businesses
  • affected workers in impacted communities

We also want to hear from Albertans. Share your ideas by completing the online survey.

Take the survey

Input from the community discussions and survey will inform the panel's final report.

Coal in Alberta

Effects from coal-fired electricity generation

Alberta’s electricity sector accounted for 16 per cent of Alberta’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2014. The majority of these emissions were from coal-fired electricity generation. Coal-fired electricity is one of the most emission-intensive forms of electricity generation and one of the highest man-made sources of air pollution. Today, Alberta produces more coal pollution than all other Canadian provinces combined.

This affects the health of Albertans. Poor air quality has been linked to a number of health conditions, including respiratory and heart diseases, stroke and diabetes. Doctors estimate coal pollution is responsible for more than 100 deaths and 4,000 asthma episodes each year. (Source: Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment)

This is in addition to the approximately 4,800 missed days of work and school caused by coal plants annually due to asthma. (Source: Pembina)

Government action on coal pollution

Under existing Government of Canada regulations, coal-fired power plants are required to meet strict standards to lower GHG emissions or retire when they reach 50 years of operations. Under these regulations, 12 out of 18 coal-fired generating units in Alberta will retire before 2030.

Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan will accelerate this timetable so there will be no pollution from coal-fired electricity generation by 2030. To achieve this, coal-fired generators will have to comply with both federal and provincial regulation. This means Alberta’s 6 remaining coal-fired generating units will be phased out and replaced by renewable energy and natural gas-fired electricity, or use technology to produce zero pollution.

Fact Sheet: Phase-out of coal-fired emissions in Alberta (1.7 MB)

Working with coal-fired generation owners

In addition to the panel’s work with communities, the government appointed a facilitator in March 2016 to lead discussions with coal-fired electricity generation owners on the transition to cleaner sources of power.

Terry Boston, the retired head of North America’s largest power grid, worked with coal-fired generation owners, the Alberta Electric System Operator and the government to develop options to phase out emissions from coal-fired generation by 2030. These options will strive to maintain the reliability of Alberta’s electric system, maintain reasonable price stability for consumers, and maintain Alberta’s reputation as a great place to invest.

Scope of work for coal phase-out facilitator (0.1 MB)

Mr. Boston has completed his work and made recommendations to the government.

Coal phase-out recommendations (0.1 MB)

Coal production in Alberta

Eight coal mines currently operate in Alberta. Five of these mines produce subbituminous coal.

Subbituminous coal is used in Alberta for electricity generation. Five mines produced about 23.3 million tonnes of subbituminous coal for domestic coal-fired power plants in 2015. These include:

  • Genesee
  • Highvale
  • Montgomery
  • Paintearth/Vesta
  • Sheerness

Bituminous coal, often referred to as metallurgical or coking coal, is exported for steel making and other purposes. Three mines produced about 4 million tonnes of coal in 2015. Metallurgical and export mines will not be affected by the phase-out of coal-fired emissions.

  • Cheviot (Cardinal River)
  • Coal Valley
  • Grande Cache (suspended operations in late 2015)

For more information on coal in Alberta, visit What is coal?

Chart showing the retirement timeline for coal units and associated mines in Alberta

Panel members

The panelists have decades of combined experience working with government and stakeholders to address industry transition in response to economic and sector-based changes.

Ritu Khullar, Q.C.

Photo of Rita Khullar

Ritu is managing partner at Chivers Carpenter. Her practice is focused on litigation relating to public law issues including labour and employment, privacy, administrative, human rights, and constitutional law. She represents public and private sector unions, administrative tribunals, and individual clients. She has acted for the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, and appeared before various boards and tribunals, all levels of court in Alberta, and the Supreme Court of Canada. She has been selected for The Best Lawyers in Canada in the speciality of Labour and Employment Law and was selected as the Best Lawyers’ 2015 Edmonton Labour and Employment Law “Lawyer of the Year”.

In addition to teaching at the University of Alberta faculty of law (labour arbitration and constitutional law), Ritu has made numerous presentations at many seminars and conferences (academic and professional) on a wide variety of topics including: labour, employment, privacy, human rights, constitutional law, appellate advocacy and running a fair hearing. Ritu Khullar currently lives in Edmonton, Alberta.

Ken Delaney

Photo of Ken Delaney

Ken Delaney is a Partner at Prism Economics and Analysis, as well as the Executive Director of the Canadian Steel Trade and Employment Congress. He also serves as Industry Liaison and Special Advisor in the Faculty of Social Science at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, where he is helping launch a policy research center that will examine the role public policy can play in ensuring a competitive and sustainable manufacturing sector.

Mr. Delaney’s diverse work history includes senior positions with United Steelworkers, managing a private equity fund, and acting as a management and public policy consultant.

From March 2007 until October 2011, Mr. Delaney was Assistant to the National Director for United Steelworkers, and as such was the National Director’s chief advisor on strategic, political, and operational matters. During this period he also negotiated collective agreements and strategic alliances, launched the Union’s initiative to explore new forms of collective representation, helped set up sector training councils, and directed the implementation of legislative and communication strategies.

In 1995 Mr. Delaney launched First Ontario Fund and served as its President until it merged with a larger fund in 2006.  First Ontario raised over $100 million in a series of public offerings during this period and made private equity investments in over 30 mid-sized Ontario businesses.

Mr. Delaney also worked for the Steelworkers from 1985 until 1995, serving as Research Director from 1991 to 1995. He was a key figure in the employee buyout of Algoma Steel in the early 90’s, at the time the largest employee buyout ever in Canada.

Mr. Delaney has undergraduate degrees in Economics and Business Administration from the University of Windsor, and a graduate degree in Industrial Relations from Wayne State University in Detroit. Ken Delaney currently lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Kerry A. Jothen

Photo of Kerry A. Jothen

Kerry has 38 years of experience in various human capital roles, including the last 15 years as CEO of Human Capital Strategies (HCS) and over 4 years as CEO of the Industry Training & Apprenticeship Commission (ITAC). As a workforce advisor and strategist on more than 225 consulting projects, Kerry recognizes that in order to succeed today, organizations need a strong, innovative and flexible talent strategy to directly support and actualize their business plans.

As a recognized BC leader in global talent mobility, human capital, talent development and labour market research, Kerry has led the development and implementation of major multi-stakeholder workforce initiatives with business – including Fortune 500 companies and major business groups – government, immigrant, educational, First Nations and other organizations to address complex human resource challenges and needs.

Much of Kerry’s work has involved diversity research and developing strategies to support the training and employment of Aboriginal people, immigrants, visible minorities and persons with disabilities – from addressing employment barriers to connecting with employers.

Kerry has advised and developed and executed strategic plans and workforce strategies for several industries in B.C., including clean energy, construction, forestry, manufacturing, mining, oil and natural gas, public sector, screen-based media, technology, tourism and trucking. In doing this, he has worked closely with governing directors, executive teams and stakeholders.

Kerry has held several senior management positions within the B.C. government along with faculty and administrative positions at four B.C. post-secondary institutions. Kerry has a B.A. in Psychology from Simon Fraser University and an M.A. in Adult Education from University of British Columbia. Kerry Jothen currently lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.