As residents of the Town of Hanna and Special Areas prepare for the provincial transition from coal-fired power generation, members of local social and service organizations have come together to discuss the social impacts of the transition. The announcement of the planned closure has generated ripple effects throughout the community (Urban Systems, 2018). In order to mitigate the negative social effects, which have begun and will continue to occur throughout the transition, social service organizations have determined that engagement with the community is essential for a ‘just transition’.
According to the Government of Canada (2018), a just transition is necessary for society to share in the costs of transitioning to a low-carbon economy. In practice, ‘just transition’ requires cooperation and collaboration among workers, employers, communities, families, and all orders of government. The goal of this process is to actively identify and implement opportunities to develop skills, secure decent work, ensure sustainable development, and enhance social protections (Government of Canada, 2018). By understanding local needs along with building the capacity of residents and relevant community organizations to work together, communities are able to address economic and social issues more efficiently and effectively (Treller & Robert, 2017), which contribute to community resilience.
Community-specific and community-driven analysis is necessary to understand the impacts and opportunities of the coal phase-out, and plan for supports to assist residents to thrive through this transition (Treller & Robert, 2017). As a result, Hanna Learning Centre (HLC) partnered with two researchers from the University of Calgary to gather information to better understand the community’s resilience in order to assist residents to thrive through this transition, and beyond.