The nearly 274,000 Canadians working in jobs deemed green—in cleantech, renewable energy, and the environment—now outnumber those directly employed in oil and gas extraction, according to estimates newly released by Statistics Canada.
“Nearly 274,000 Canadians had green jobs in 2016, according to new estimates released by the federal government’s statistical agency,” the National Observer reports. Earlier this year, PetroLMI, a division of Enform, a Calgary-based research firm, estimated direct employment in Canada’s oil and gas sector at the end of last year at 174,000 people.
“And, with an average annual salary of about C$92,000, including benefits, these Canadians are earning a lot more than the average worker, who makes about $59,000,” the Observer adds.
Green jobs account for only about 1.5% of Canada’s total employment, but they generate an outsized 3.1% of the country’s GDP—about $60 billion in 2016. However, employment growth in the sector has lagged the national average—rising only 4.5% in the last ten years, compared to 8.4% for all occupations.
As oil and gas producers have shed jobs in recent years, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, among others, has claimed replacements in green sectors have not kept up. Meanwhile, some employment listed as green may also show up under oil and gas for statistical purposes. That would be the case, for instance, with “a wave of jobs” expected to materialize in the oil patch in response to pending regulations to limit methane emissions.
In response to the numbers, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains told the Observer by email that the Liberal government hoped to accelerate green job growth.
“Unlike the previous government,” Bains said, “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.” The government’s 2017 budget included a $2.2-billion investment in the clean tech sector, he added, and billions more have been promised over the next decade through a clean tech-focused infrastructure bank.
“When it comes to clean technology,” Bains wrote, “Canada has the opportunity to be a true global leader—creating good, well-paying jobs for Canadians while helping to meet our climate change goals.”