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There Are Now More Canadians Working in ‘Green’ Jobs Than Oil & Gas

It looks like Canada is starting to make good on its promise for a green future.

According to recent estimates by Statistics Canada, there are now more people working in ‘green’ jobs than there are those employed by the oil and gas sector.

Last year, around 274,000 jobs were attributable to environmental and clean technology activity. These account for 1.5 per cent of all jobs in the Canadian economy. Direct employment in Canada’s oil and gas sector, meanwhile, was estimated at around 174,000 people.

Canada’s growing clean tech economy has us green in more ways than one, too (technically all colours of the rainbow since we’re talking Canadian bills, but anyway…). Green labour is yielding double its share of the economy, with 3.1% of Canada’s total GDP attributable to environmental and clean technology products. Canadians working these jobs take home an average of $92,000 a year, which is significantly more than the average worker ($59,000).

Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains was, of course, happy to boast about his government’s role in accelerating green growth.

“Unlike the previous government, our government is taking steps to boost the growth of Canada’s clean technology sector, with the aim of fostering the growth of Canadian technologies and companies,” said Bains.

While this is all very promising, it’s important to note that growth in environment employment has been considerably slower than the growth of most other sectors. A strong showing compared to oil and gas should be expected considering the recent decline of jobs in that industry. According to the National Observer,  employment in the environmental and clean tech sector grew by 4.5 per cent since 2007. This is only slightly more than half the rate of growth seen in jobs across the rest of the economy (8.4 per cent).

Bains is confident Canada’s green record will continue to improve, pointing to a $2.2-billion investment in the clean tech sector this year. This should help us catch up with the global clean energy economy we so desperately envision ourselves a part of.

Christian Nathler

Christian Nathler is a contributing writer at Notable Life.