The ball is rolling on the path towards cleaner and more sustainable energy in the prairies. A news release came out Tuesday morning announcing that over $4 million in funding from the Government of Canada will be invested into the transition away from coal in both Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Albertan initiatives will be receiving $3,633,417 and similar efforts in Saskatchewan will receive $578,500. All of this funding is through the Canada Coal Transition Initiative (CCTI). In efforts to switch from the coal industry to a clean energy economy, it is important to protect the workers and communities who may be affected by the change. The CCTI and government funding are specifically for this purpose.

According to the Albertan news release, the projects that are receiving funding will be working to support business development and re-employment. The projects include a business hub to support small businesses and entrepreneurs, funding to The County of Paintearth No. 18 to support new business development and transition staff in central Alberta, and funding to the United Steel Workers to hire a transition coordinator to support any coal workers who get laid-off. 

As for Saskatchewan, the news release states that their projects are of a similar nature, focusing on supporting tourism, business development, and re-employment. Their specific funding will be going towards the Town of Coronach to develop a Coal Interpretive Centre and to the City of Estevan to launch a brand new business incubator to increase new businesses in the community. 

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development explained in the release that "Canadians understand the importance of rising to the challenge of climate change.” He continued to say that these investments are to help empower workers and communities to prepare for and act on new opportunities outside of the coal-fired power industries.

The investments are split among three projects in Alberta and two in Saskatchewan. Many of the projects include support for small businesses and entrepreneurs working to create new, innovative industries in places formerly dependent on coal for their livelihood. Judging by how the funding is dispersed, it’s clear there will be significant changes to how impacted individuals and communities earn money.

Projects are set in place to make the transitions away from coal fair for everyone impacted. With these initiatives and investments, the hope is to build resilience to climate change through business development and re-employment.

If we have to stray from old methods and industries, the intention of these hundreds of billions is to create “new economic growth opportunities and well-paying jobs,” said The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources and Member of Parliament for Edmonton Mill Woods in the release.

Massive industry adjustments are disruptive, to say the least. The Canadian government is offering this investment as a chance to get innovative with new industries.


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