Advisory Panel on Coal Communities
Consulted with communities and workers affected by the end of coal-fired electricity generation to identify challenges and opportunities.
Status: Concluded Nov 2017
Ministry responsible: Economic Development and Trade
Programs are available to help communities and workers affected by the phase out of coal-fired electricity generation. For more information visit:
Under federal regulations, coal-fired electricity generation will be phased out by 2030 and replaced with renewable and natural gas-fired electricity.
Eliminating coal pollution is a key component of Alberta's Climate Leadership Plan. Moving 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.
The Advisory Panel on Coal Communities met with workers and community members to hear their challenges and ideas for the long-term economic sustainability of their communities. The panel members:
- examined the potential effect of the retirements of coal-fired generation plants and associated mining operations on communities and workers
- identified strategies to support worker transition
These meetings helped the panel fully understand the challenges and opportunities communities and workers face to ensure their recommendations respond to concerns and align with community priorities.
The panel submitted their recommendations on an approach to support affected workers and communities.
The 35 recommendations focus on three areas: workers, communities and First Nations.
- Report: Advisory Panel on Coal Communities recommendations (PDF, 2.0 MB)
- News: New transition supports for Alberta coal workers (Nov 10, 2017)
The government responded to the recommendations with additional supports for affected workers.
Stakeholder and public engagement
The panel held facilitated discussions with stakeholders and First Nations in communities most affected by the retirements of coal-fired generation facilities and associated mining operations. They met with:
- municipal leaders
- First Nations
- community economic development organizations
- small businesses
- affected workers in impacted communities
Albertans and stakeholders shared their feedback through an online survey, which closed May 31.
Input from the community discussions and survey informed the panel's final report.
Telephone town halls
Two telephone town halls were held for community members and workers in the coal communities of Hanna, Forestburg, and Leduc and Parkland Counties with Minister Shaye Anderson on Monday, May 15. A total of 2,238 people participated.
Common themes included:
- support for workers in terms of training, relocation and new job opportunities
- consideration of miners when mining operations shut down
- impacts of the coal phase-out on electricity prices
- the commitments of companies in the off-coal agreements
- the role and responsibility of the federal government; renewable energy options
- carbon capture and storage
- the future of workers' family farms after losing their electricity or mining jobs
- the sharing of the panel’s report with the public
Coal community visits
Minister Deron Bilous visited coal communities to meet with workers and community members. These visits complemented the panel's visits and set the stage for the Alberta government to receive the panel's recommendations.
Coal community meeting handout (1.5 MB)
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The panellists have decades of combined experience working with government and stakeholders to address industry transition in response to economic and sector-based changes.
Ritu Khullar, Justice, Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta
Prior to her appointment to the Court of Queen’s Bench on March 24, 2017, Justice Khullar was managing partner at Chivers Carpenter Lawyers. After her appointment, Justice Khullar was able to continue work on the Advisory Panel on Coal Communities by the authority of Orders in Council 139/2017 and 242/2017.
While at Chivers Carpenter, Justice Khullar’s practice focused on litigation relating to public law issues including labour and employment, privacy, administrative, human rights, and constitutional law. She represented 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 was 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, constitutional and advanced administrative law), Justice Khullar 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. She lives in Edmonton, Alberta.
Ken Delaney is a Partner at Prism Economics and Analysis, as well as the Executive Director of the Canadian Skills Training and Employment Coalition. 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.
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.
Coal in Alberta
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.
It's estimated $10.5 billion in new investment will flow into the provincial economy by 2030, creating at least 7,200 new jobs for Albertans as projects are built.
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.
In addition, in 2016, the federal government announced it is speeding up the end-of-life date for remaining coal plants to 2029. This means an end-of-life date of 2029 for the 6 remaining units in Alberta (Sheerness, Keephills and Genesee).
This aligns closely with Alberta's Climate Leadership Plan, which will see emissions from coal-fired electricity generation phased out by 2030 and replaced with natural-gas fired electricity and renewable energy.
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.