New & Noteworthy

Highlights from the 2013 Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC) Empowering the Future Today Conference

This year’s event attracted delegates from across the country, industry, educational institutions, unions, government and media. Click here for more conference highlights!

Findings from Renewing Futures were also released! Results from this national renewable electricity human resource research project indicate strong growth in future employment opportunities in Canada’s renewable electricity workforce and calls for national human resource collaboration amongst industry participants to meet future labour requirements. 

“The Renewing Futures reports provide the renewable electricity sector with reliable and valuable human resource data and analysis outlining future industry growth and the lack of skilled workers available  to meet the demands,” said EHRC’s CEO, Michelle Branigan pictured below (right) with The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development Canada and Minister for Multiculturalism, along with Diane Obam Dallaire, Senior Project Manager for Renewing Futures.

“Our Government’s top priority is creating jobs, economic growth, and long-term prosperity. That is why we are taking action to address the paradox of too many  Canadians without jobs and too many jobs without Canadians,” said The Honourable Jason Kenney.

” Canadian have a great interest in a reliable, robust and clean energy system. The renewable electricity industry has a critical role to play in reaching these objectives” said Ted Kantrowitz, Chair of the Renewing Futures National Steering Committee; pictured below. “Intelligent, well-trained workers will be key to our country’s success in building  this system. The Renewing Futures study and action plan sets the stage to effectively equip workers to meet the renewable electricity industry’s needs in the medium and long terms.

The results of the research will inform ongoing analysis, which will in turn provide market intelligence for firms, educators and policy makers. To find out how you can obtain your copy of the reports click here.

Interactive Panel: Building Powerful HR Strategies for Canada’s Electricity Related Renewable Workforce

Study findings were unveiled
November 6th at EHRC National Conference in Toronto

 Be part of the dialogue as we shape Canada’s renewable electricity workforce. A first for Canada!

The proposed national human resources study has been developed to provide the provinces and industry stakeholders with the information they need for deploying limited resources to meet labour requirements and avoid skill shortages. Key elements include:

• Assessment of demands and labour markets that may limit the electricity related renewable energy (ERE) workforce;

• A plan for more efficient recruiting based
on enhanced labour mobility across sectors and provinces.

• A plan for filling labour markets gaps related to existing skill shortages with
needed training and certification; and

• A shared view on the pace of investment in new installed capacity for ERE.

Learn more about the research, and how to obtain your copy of the report 


Industry stakeholders throughout Canada are invited to contribute to the discussion and bring clarity to some of the issues affecting the various renewable energy sectors—as they play out in their respective fields, by submitting a short “essay” for our Monthly Last Word Series. To find out more details, and on how to submit your essay, click here.

Minister Oliver Highlights the Benefits of Energy Market Diversification in Ontario

The Honourable Joe Oliver, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, in a luncheon speech today to the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, emphasized that the expansion and diversification of Canada’s energy markets is a priority of the Harper Government. The Minister highlighted how the energy sector is crucial to jobs, economic growth and prosperity, and outlined steps the government is taking to ensure continuing environmental protection and strong safety standards in the energy sector for the benefit of Canadians.

NEB Tracks 16% Increase from Renewables

Wind, tidal and solar produced 43 PJ of energy in 2012, a 15.7% increase over the 37 PJ in 2011, according to the ‘Canadian Energy Overview 2012′ from the National Energy Board. In 2008, these three sources of renewable energy produced 14 PJ, which rose to 24 in 2009 and 35 PJ in 2010. Total domestic energy production in 2012 was 17,356 PJ, 1.8% higher than 2011 and dominated by petroleum at 8,021 PJ and natural gas at 5,500 PJ. In 2012, electricity generation grew by 1.6% to 645 TWh, of which hydroelectric was 390, thermal was 137 and nuclear contributed 91, while wind, tidal and solar generated 12 TWh, up from 10.4 in 2011 and from 3.8 TWh in 2008. Canada added 900 MW of wind capacity in 2012, mostly in QC, AB and BC, which boosted wind capacity to 6,195 MW, a 18% increase over 2011.

Federal Audit Approves ecoENERGY for Renewable Power Conduct

A federal audit of the $1.4 billion program was approved by NRCan as a ‘high priority’ because there has been no previous audit on this program. The ecoENERGY for Renewable Power program was launched in April 2007 to encourage the generation of green power from wind, low-impact hydro, biomass, solar PV and geothermal energy. New contribution agreements ended in March 2011, but many projects will continue to receive payments until 2021. As of March 2011, 104 projects qualified for funding of $1.4 billion over 14 years, for 4,500 MW of green power capacity. In FY2011-12, contribution spending was $126 million and $143 million in FY 2012-13. The audit was to ensure that the management control framework is working as intended, with an efficient governance process and administered with due diligence and transparency. While there are sound controls, the audit noted that the highly specialized nature of the program requires a well-defined knowledge management and human resources succession plan and the audit identified gaps in the area of proactive disclosure.


The ESC is now EHRC!

Funding axed, but electricity organization has no plans to turn out the lights.

With a new name, slick new website and refocused direction, Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC) –formerly the Electricity Sector Council–has doubled down on its efforts to keep the lights on in Canada.

By revitalizing itself, the Ottawa-based organization knows it can more effectively help the industry meet its human resources challenges.

EHRC is already the authority on human resources in Canada’s electricity industry. For the last 8 years, it has provided the industry with valuable research on labour market issues, and practical tools to address skill shortages.

“Our new strategic direction reflects EHRC’s desire to become an even more important resource to the electricity industry,” said Chief Executive Officer Michelle Branigan. “Industry expressed overwhelming support for our work, for our ability to connect stakeholders. And now they want more.”

“We’ll continue to provide invaluable labour market intelligence and practical workplace support. And the industry will look to us as a hub for research, learning and networking.”

Since its inception in 2005, EHRC (then ESC) has relied on operational funding from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada through the federal Sector Council Program. But recent budget cuts mean the end of government funding to all sector councils.

As of next year, the organization must become self-sufficient.

Norm Fraser, Chief Operating Officer of Hydro Ottawa, and Chair of the EHRC Board of Directors, acknowledged the value that EHRC brings to the electricity industry. “EHRC connects all the players in the industry–business, labour, government, and academia.

“By refocusing, the organization will become an even more effective partner to industry, helping address the human resource challenges it faces. The industry has two key drivers that will impact on its ability to provide reliable service – massive impending retirements and the need to maintain and build infrastructure.
We need to collaborate at all levels to proactively address these issues and EHRC provides the forum for that collaboration to take place.”

“Over the next few years” said Branigan, “EHRC will continue to expand the services and research it provides to the electricity industry, and ensure HR needs, resources and strategies are effectively communicated to the industry at large”.

Please visit its new website for more information or contact Michelle Branigan at 613-235-5540 ext. 235 or via e-mail.

Why is EHRC’s Work So Important?

Electricity is one of Canada’s essential utilities. More than 100,000 Canadians are involved in generating, transmitting and distributing it.
However, in the face of changing demographics and technology, the industry’s highly skilled workforce needs to grow and adapt. By meeting these challenges, the industry can secure Canada’s long-term electricity supply.

How EHRC Helps Build a Better Workforce

EHRC works to strengthen the ability of the Canadian electricity industry to meet current and future needs for their workforce – one that is highly skilled, safety-focused, diverse and productive.

Its mandate:

  • Conduct and disseminate valuable research about human resources in Canada’s electricity industry.
  • Help the industry create and sustain a skilled and diverse labour force.
  • Promote awareness of career and employment opportunities in the industry.
  • Develop partnerships that better enable the industry to meet its human resources needs.

    Notice on IEA-RETD

    The International Energy Agency (IEA’s) Implementing Agreement on Renewable Energy Technology Deployment (IEA-RETD) is a policy-focused, technology cross-cutting platform that brings together the experience and best practices of some of the world’s leading countries in renewable energy with the expertise of renowned consulting firms and academia.

    The mission of  IEA-RETD is to accelerate the large-scale deployment of renewable energies. It is currently comprised of nine countries: Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom. Hans Jørgen Koch, Deputy State Secretary, Ministry of Climate and Energy, Danish Energy Agency, serves as Chair of the IEA-RETD.

    The IEA-RETD is one of a number of Implementing Agreements on renewable energy under the framework of the IEA. The creation of the IEA-RETD was announced at the International Renewable Energy Conference in Bonn, 2004.

    The IEA Implementing Agreements function under the IEA legal framework.  It is important to note that the views, findings and publications of the IEA-RETD do not necessarily represent the views or policies of the IEA Secretariat or all of its individual member countries. For further information, please visit: