Report released on supporting communities affected by coal mining phase-out

A task force is making 10 recommendations in its final report on preparing coal mining communities for a future when their products aren't needed.

The Task Force on Just Transition for Canadian Coal Power Workers and Communities says Ottawa needs to focus on making the transition work if it wants to maintain public support for climate-change action.

It wants new policies written into legislation to make them difficult to undo and for the government to provide longer-term certainty for the affected workers and communities.

Canada has ordered that all existing coal plants be closed or converted to natural gas before 2030 as part of its plan to reduce emissions to 70 per cent of 2005 levels by 2030.

The task force has spent the last 10 months hearing from people in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the four provinces that still use coal as a source of electricity.

There are 16 coal-fired generating stations left in the country, and nine mines for the "thermal coal" that feeds them; five in Alberta and two each in Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia.

About 42,000 workers are employed directly or indirectly in coal mining.