The Canadian labor market has evolved over the decades, with numerous policies that seem to affect the workers and the national economy of Canada (MacDowell and Galer, 2010, p. 4). The intent of this paper is to investigate a labor market policy related to climate change, work, and employment, which has reasonable impacts on the Ontario government, its companies, and its workers. The paper discusses the background and the current situation concerning the identified labor market policy, the controversial issues, and the major discourses associated with its existence. Additionally, the paper discusses how the policy specifically affects the workers and provides personal opinions concerning the alternatives that may assist in improving the climate, workers, and the Ontario government.
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The Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions reporting policy
One of the recent policies that directly associate with climate change, work, and employment in Ontario is the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions reporting policy. Canada is among the nations in the world, which has tailored its efforts towards mitigating global warming and reducing environmental depletion (Hsu and Eliot, 2009, p. 485).
The GHG emissions reporting policy is a greenhouse gas emission reporting policy that requires the Ontario companies to report the annual levels of their greenhouse gas emissions, and the efforts attempted to control such levels of emissions. The GHG emissions reporting policy developed prior to an assessment of the energy sector in Canada. The increasing evidence concerning the environmental influence of the greenhouse emissions in Ontario prompted the formation of the GHG emissions reporting policy.
On the 1st of December 2009, the Ontario government submitted its Greenhouse Gas Reporting Policy dubbed as O. Reg. 452/09 (Miller, 2011, p. 15). The source laws for the formation of the GHG emissions reporting policy are the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and the Ontario Regulation 452/09. The GHG emissions regulation became part of the Canadian law after the environmental scientists noticed a dramatic increase of the greenhouse emissions from the Canadian companies. The Ontario government enacted the law in January 2010 and made it constitutional (Lipsig-Mummé, 2010, p. 10). The GHG regulation governs greenhouse emissions from aluminum, ammonia, and carbonate manufacturers, glass producers, coal stores, cement companies, lead producers, and even the food producing companies (Miller, 2011, p. 17). The GHG emissions reporting policy is generally contentious.
Current situations concerning the GHG policy
The GHG emissions reporting policy has several requirements that seem to affect the economy of Ontario, the companies, and the Ontario labor market. The GHG emissions reporting directive requires all the prescribed companies and facilities to quantify their yearly GHG emissions (Kainer and McDowell, 2013, p. 8). The companies should use standardized methods described in the new guidelines for conducting GHG emissions reporting.
Kainer and McDowell (2013, p. 9) state that the GHG reporting regulation requires greenhouse gas-emitting companies to conform to the procedures set out by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Western Climate Initiative (WCI). The companies that exceed 25,000 tonnes of carbon emissions must gather emissions data, undergo the accreditation process, and constantly retain the annual records for seven years.
The positive contribution of the GHG reporting policy
To the government
The GHG reporting policy is very imperative to the Ontario government. The GHG reporting policy reduces the economic burden that the Canadian government incurs in curbing carbon dioxide emissions. Before 2005, Canada used to contribute approximately 2% of the overall worldwide GHG emissions (Hsu and Eliot, 2009, p. 434). Such statistics made Canada rank among the highest GHG per capita emitters because of its highly industrialized regions, its low population density, and its high-energy demand. These industrial and residential demands made the Ontario and the federal governments incur high costs in developing the carbon regulation strategies (Hsu and Eliot, 2009, p. 434). The GHG reporting policy effectively reduces carbon emissions and helps Canada to restore its global market image, which often attracts investors.
To the Corporate World and the Workforce
The GHG reporting regulation helps companies not to exceed a carbon emission level of 25, 000 tonnes (Miller, 2011, p. 11). The prescribed companies and facilities often benefit economically because the initial burden of controlling the high greenhouse emissions has decreased. In attempts to ensure that the emitting companies operate within the emission limits, strategic innovations, new technologies, and new carbon recycling methods have emerged. According to Miller (2011, p. 13), the GHG emissions reporting regulation is a possible emission reduction strategy that helps companies to regulate emissions in a standardized manner that promotes human safety and health. Workers benefit from improved workplace environments, which promote high personal productivity, job contentment, motivation, and good health.
The negatives associated with the GHG reporting laws
Ethical and legal dilemmas
The most disturbing issue of the GHG reporting regulations, concerns the manner in which the Ontario government handles the confidential information of the companies (Lipsig-Mummé, 2010, p. 12). The verification of the annual reports that forces companies to assemble emission data is controversial because the reporting the annual greenhouse gas emissions to the accredited third parties involve exposure of the confidential business information.
According to Lipsig-Mummé, the most controversial issue is that most of the Ontario companies are skeptical about the regulation because they fear to disclose their confidential business information to third parties (2010, p. 10). The handling of the verification process is a dilemma because the government faces legal battles from companies concerning the mishandling of their confidential business information.
Economic problems in the verification process
The companies are often willing to challenge the Ontario government concerning the taxation and other charges that often emerge from the verification procedure of the GHG emissions reporting regulation. According to Jayasundara and Wagner-Riddle, the government verification procedure requires a certified third party company to audit the reports of the carbon emitters to ensure accuracy (2014, p. 78).
This commitment comes with some direct levies and economic burdens that companies barely escape. The companies often incur administrative burdens and high costs that arise from the integration and implementation of the third-party verification systems (Jayasundara and Wagner-Riddle, 2014, p. 80). Such consequences of the GHG reporting regulation are creating corporate and public controversies in the State of Ontario.
The GHG emissions reporting regulation and the workers
Improved health and workplace conditions
Greenhouse gas emissions are predisposing factors of many environmental health complications that affect the Canadians who work in carbon-emitting companies (Hsu and Eliot, 2009, p. 450). Miller states that the Ontario Regulation 452/09 and the Environmental Protection Act ensure that companies are liable for any of the health harms that workers encounter when they surpass the gas emission threshold (2011, p. 10).
A standardized cap-and-trade program of the GHG reporting regulation type is significant in ensuring that workers who engage with the carbon emitting companies remain protected by the Ontario laws. A continued proper implementation of the GHG reporting regulation would help employees of the carbon emitting companies to work in the workplaces with minimized health risks.
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Reduced employments and wages
Companies that have faced the repercussions of maintaining the high costs incurred in integrating and maintaining the GHG reporting regulation have resorted to unfriendly policies that affect workers (Hsu and Eliot, 2009, p. 434). The increased tax rates and costs incurred from the cap-and-trade program have prompted companies to impose strategies that ensure pay cuts to sustain the increasing production costs.
The costs of fuel have increased dramatically in Ontario because the government demands concerning the mitigation of the greenhouse gases are affecting the energy companies financially (Lipsig-Mummé, 2010, p. 17). Additionally, the employment rates of the Ontario workers are reducing at unknown and unobserved rates, because companies are gradually reducing their workforce to meet the tax demands and costs related to the cap-and-trade program.
Reduced health insurances
Apart from the threats related to unemployment and reduced wages, the Ontario workers have started experiencing reduced healthcare benefits in some companies. The companies affected by the GHG emissions reporting regulations tend to oppress their workers by reducing their healthcare insurance covers. The GHG emissions reporting regulation 452/09 has forced the gas-emitting companies to increase their investment and technology to control the carbon gas emissions to ensure they maintain the postulated emissions of the 25,000 tonne threshold. Companies have relented to ensure that workers have access to healthcare insurance because the policy has resulted to high taxation and maintenance costs that affect productions.
A personal viewpoint
The subject of controlling carbon emissions, especially those from the greenhouse productions is intense and of legal, economic and ethical dilemmas. An insensitive enactment of the GHG emissions reporting policy may result in a high cost of fuel, increased production costs, unemployment, legal controversies, and economic downbeats.
While the demand for energy for corporate activities is a universal demand that pushes economic growth and national stability within nations, the green technology is a unique solution to the reduction of the greenhouse carbon emissions (Khanna, Crago, and Black, 2011, p. 234). I personally advocate for the implementation of the policies that enforce the integration and consumption of the green fuels, which have recorded credible performances across many regions in America.
The delayed action to enact policies that stabilize the use of bio-fuels and bioelectricity are malicious plans that the carbon energy producers are using to manipulate the Ontario government and its people (Jayasundara and Wagner-Riddle, 2014, p. 79). The increasing influence of the companies of coal mining, natural gas, and petroleum may continue to affect the Ontario government economically and legally because these companies are major actors in the national economy.
The United States is among the nations across the world, which has understood the importance of biotechnology in reducing greenhouse carbon emissions. According to Khanna et al., the use of marginal pasturelands, crops, and perennial grasses to produce an effective bioelectricity, and bio-fuels is a more economical practice than the extraction and use of the carbon fuels (2011, p. 234).
The Ontario government has enacted several labor market policies that seem to touch on climate change, work, and employment altogether. The GHG emissions reporting regulation 452/09 is one of the effective policies tailored towards reducing the greenhouse gas emissions, but it has several significances and consequences. Regulating greenhouse carbon emissions through a standardized national program is a progressive process that assures employees of improved workplace conditions.
However, the implementation of the policy is controversial, as it requires some certified third parties to approve the accuracy of the GHG emission reports. Although the policy has enhanced corporate accountability, increased taxation, high cost of production, and safety of business information, are issues on the rise. Bio-fuels and bioelectricity are efficient solutions for mitigating GHG emissions.
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Jayasundara, Susantha, and Claudia Wagner-Riddle. “Greenhouse Gas Emissions Intensity Of Ontario Milk Production in 2011 Compared with 1991.” Canadian Journal of Animal Science 94.1 (2014): 155-173. Print.
Kainer, Jan, and Laurel MacDowell. “Climate Change, Work and Employment in the Agri-Food Sector: Is the Ontario Food System Sustainable?” Work in a Warming World. 2013. Web.
Khanna, Madhu, Christine Crago, and Mairi Black. “Can bio-fuels be a Solution To Climate Change? The Implications of Land Use Change-Related Emissions for Policy.” Interface Focus 1.2 (2011): 233–247. Print.
Lipsig-Mummé, Carla. “What Do We Know? Reviewing the State of Knowledge on Climate, Work, and Employment in Canada.” Work in a Warming World. 2010. Web.
MacDowell, Laurel, and Dustin Galer. “Climate Change and Work.” Work in a Warming World. 2010. Web.
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