One of the most important public policy decisions on the table for Society members is the fate of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. Working with our partners in the nuclear industry, The Society has been actively campaigning for the life extension of the Pickering site, which employs 1,200 members, to the year 2024. While this push has faced opposition from those ideologically or economically opposed to nuclear, the campaign is finding success at Queen’s Park.
However, the recent revelation that Ontario has been negotiating with Quebec Hydro for increased energy imports rang alarm bells. Though experts believe it is not a viable solution, opponents of Pickering’s life extension have cited Quebec imports as the way Ontario could keep the lights on without Pickering.
In response to these reports, The Society quickly issued a media release urging the government to abandon negotiations for any new energy imports before 2024. This strong response resulted in the Minister of Energy reaching out to the union to provide details about the government’s intentions with regard to Quebec and Pickering. In the call between Minister Thibeault and President Scott Travers, the minister re-stated the government’s full support for Pickering’s life extension to 2024. Additionally, he noted the three criteria the government will use to assess whether an electricity import deal is good for Ontario.
Following the Quebec issue in August, Premier Kathleen Wynne also reiterated her government’s support for the Pickering life extension during an interview on The Agenda with Steve Paikin.
“Though the government has continually reassured The Society and other stakeholders of its commitment to Pickering we can’t take it for granted,” said SEP President Scott Travers. “If opponents of nuclear aren’t ending their campaign, we won’t end ours.”
With the much delayed Long-term Energy Plan (LTEP) expected next month, The Society is working with the Canadian Nuclear Association and many of its Ontario-based members to execute a high-profile campaign called Ontario’s Nuclear Advantage. This campaign brings all the facts to the table by showing nuclear’s environmental and economic benefits. The facts are being packaged in TV and digital ads that are expected to be viewed 300,000 times, as well as for an outdoor advertising campaign around Queen’s Park. It is expected that the province will telegraph its full intentions with regard to Pickering and the rest of the province’s nuclear fleet in the LTEP.
Also in lead up to the LTEP SEP will be asking members to show their support for Pickering to local and provincial representatives, which will complement the union’s efforts to lobby local elected leaders.