About Work in a Warming World (W3)

“We have options, but the past is not one of them.”

Dave Sauchyn and Suren Kulshreshtha 2008[1]


Global warming is of near-universal concern, but its impact on jobs and work has been strangely absent from policy and  social science research. Nor, in Canada has it been high on the agenda of business or government. However, climate change affects work and employment in every region of the world, and Canada is no exception. It is already changing how we work, what we produce and where we produce it. It shifts employment within and between countries, regions and communities, and dislocates people and industries and futures. New occupations and professions are springing up across Canada, and the possibility of new ways of working are emerging. Education and training are challenged to widen their green focus.

The puzzle is this: work—the production of goods, services and ideas–  is a major producer of greenhouse gas emissions. It is also, potentially, a powerful actor in reducing emissions. How can the Canadian work world engage more effectively in reducing Canada’s carbon footprint?

W3 is a 5 year research programme clustering a number of projects and grants. It is a research partnership among academics and community partners to bring work back into Canadian focus in the struggle to slow global warming. The cluster of W3 projects bridge two solitudes: between environmental and labour market organisations, and between academic and practitioner research. W3 brings together more than 50 organisations and researchers in 10 universities and 4 countries.

W3 presently groups three research projects, each with a number of sub-projects:

  • What do we know? What do we need to know? A Knowledge Synthesis Project                                                                                                             – Funded by NSERC, CIHR and SSHRC. Learn more about the ‘Knowledge Synthesis’ project.
  • Work in a Warming World: Adapting Canadian work and employment to the challenge of climate change                                                                     – A 5 year Community-University Research Alliance funded by SSHRC and             partner organisations. Learn more about the ‘Adapting Canadian Work’ project.
  • Canada’s Work World and the Challenge of Climate Change: Engaging the Community                                                                                                – Funded by SSHRC and partner organizations. Learn more about the ‘Engaging the Community’ project.


[1] In Lemmen, D.S. et.al. (2008), Impact and Adaptation, Government of Canada, p.296.