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SOCI - Standing Committee

Social Affairs, Science and Technology

Report of the committee

Thursday, June 13, 2024

The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology has the honour to present its


Your committee, to which was referred Bill C-50, An Act respecting accountability, transparency and engagement to support the creation of sustainable jobs for workers and economic growth in a net-zero economy, has, in obedience to the order of reference of May 23, 2024, examined the said bill and now reports the same without amendment but with certain observations, which are appended to this report.

Respectfully submitted,



Observations to the twenty-third report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology (Bill C-50)

Your committee heard from the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources that the federal government operates within, and is guided by, the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The Minister emphasized that Indigenous reconciliation encompasses services, governance, and economic reconciliation.

However, your committee also heard testimony raising concerns that the current language of the bill does not adequately represent the nation-to-nation engagement with Indigenous peoples. Witnesses noted that Indigenous peoples must be distinctly recognized, particularly regarding net-zero projects on their traditional territories.

As it stands, the bill’s wording suggests an optional approach to Indigenous knowledge, which contradicts the principles of UNDRIP. UNDRIP emphasizes that Indigenous peoples have the authority to determine which projects are developed on their lands, their locations, and their ownership.

Therefore, your committee strongly urges that the Government of Canada respect Indigenous peoples as rights holders and adhere to UNDRIP and free, prior, and informed consent. Indigenous peoples are not just collaborators; they are leaders with the right to make decisions about their lands and waters.

Your committee heard that a sustainable jobs approach should be inclusive and address barriers to employment, emphasizing the creation of employment opportunities for groups historically underrepresented in the labour market, including women, persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, Black and other racialized individuals, members of the 2SLGBTQI+ community and other equity-deserving groups (referred to in the bill as “equity-seeking groups”). However, your committee heard that the proposed Sustainable Jobs Partnership Council does not have a requirement for membership from equity-deserving groups, except for Indigenous peoples. Your committee strongly urges the Minister to ensure that the perspectives of equity-deserving groups are well represented among the proposed Council’s membership.

Your committee also urges the federal government to ensure that the barriers faced by equity-deserving groups are adequately addressed in the Sustainable Jobs Action Plans.

Considering that this legislative measure fails to explicitly mention official language minority communities (OLMCs), your committee urges the federal government to systematically apply an “official languages” lens in all its public policy development processes, in accordance with the spirit and the letter of the Official Languages Act (the Act). The Act codifies the federal government’s commitment to fostering the development of Canada’s francophone and anglophone minorities and supporting their development, as well as promoting the full recognition and use of French and English in Canadian society.

Your committee urges the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources to respect their commitments to OLMCs, in full compliance with their duly signed letter submitted to the committee.

In view of the obligations under the Act, your committee expects that concrete efforts be made to ensure that OLMCs are engaged through the processes established by the Sustainable Jobs Secretariat and the Sustainable Jobs Partnership Council. Furthermore, written documents and opportunities for participation must be available in both official languages.

Your committee has taken careful note of the commitment made by the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, in his letter on June 11, 2024, in response to concerns from committee members, to ensure that conditions are created so that persons with disabilities and other members of equity-deserving and underrepresented groups can truly benefit from all the opportunities offered by the ongoing transition to a net-zero economy; and that the needs of these groups are taken into account in all measures taken to accelerate the growth of sustainable jobs, including future Sustainable Jobs Action Plans.

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