Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change first annual report: clean technology, innovation and jobs

Under the Pan-Canadian Framework, federal, provincial, and territorial governments committed to a common vision of immediate actions designed to accelerate clean growth in Canada and abroad. Collaboration led to advancements in each of the four core elements of the Pan-Canadian Framework’s clean technology, innovation and jobs pillar including: building early-stage innovation, accelerating commercialization and growth, fostering adoption, and strengthening collaboration and metrics for success. These actions will help create the conditions necessary to position Canada as a leader in the global clean economy.

To achieve this, governments are working together on a number of actions, including access to capital that will help Canada’s clean technology firms grow and expand through financing, and a streamlined “no-wrong door” approach to delivering client services for clean technology producers. Additional initiatives include new procurement programs aiming to promote clean technology adoption, and improved data on Canadian clean technologies. The development of “grand challenges”-type programming is another area of collaboration that focuses on accelerating efforts to solve Canada’s big climate change challenges.

Innovation Ministers, along with Ministers in other areas such as Energy and Agriculture, are overseeing progress on key clean technology and innovation measures under the Pan-Canadian Framework. Innovation Ministers have also charged their officials to develop and implement a work plan to increase collaboration on clean growth. This includes sharing information and collaborating on existing and future federal, provincial and territorial initiatives for clean growth.Footnote 1  In the first year of implementation, good progress was made across all clean technology and innovation measures in the Framework. Funding has been committed, partnerships are being developed, and programs are being launched.

5.1 Building early-stage innovation

Canada needs a strong flow of innovative ideas to become a leader in the development and deployment of clean technologies. Government investments in clean technology research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) will most effectively help Canada meet its climate change goals, create economic opportunities, and expand global-market opportunities, while positioning the country’s energy, mining, forest and agriculture sectors as leaders in the new resource economy.

Federal, provincial, and territorial governments committed to support new approaches to early-stage technology development, including breakthrough technologies, to advance research in areas that have the potential to substantially reduce GHG emissions and other pollutants. A key element of this work is supporting the development of innovative ideas to solve the big challenges Canadian communities currently face, such as reducing Canada’s rural and remote communities reliance on diesel as a power source.

Strong progress was made in 2017 and key initiatives are on track. Governments are implementing individual measures and at the same time working together through the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Group on Clean Growth to collectively identify specific technology “missions” or “challenge” areas that could inform new initiatives to help solve Canada’s big challenges and accelerate clean energy innovation.

The Government of Ontario created a “Grand Challenge” initiative, the Ontario Solutions 2030 Challenge, a global call for innovators to propose their solutions to help Ontario industry reduce GHG emissions. The Challenge will support a winning team to bring their transformative technology to market. Phase One of the challenge is currently underway.

Through Budget 2017, the Government of Canada allocated $75 million to create the Clean Technology stream of Impact Canada, a new initiative through which Canada will pilot innovative policy tools that advance clean technology solutions for Canada’s biggest problems. This program and initial clean technology challenges (including to support northern and remote communities in reducing their reliance on diesel as a powers source) are expected to be launched in winter 2018 with additional challenges to follow later in the year.

The Government of Canada also allocated $200 million in Budget 2017 to support clean technology research, development, and demonstration in Canada’s natural resources sectors. As part of this, the $155 million Clean Growth in Natural Resource Sectors Program focusing on the energy, mining, and forestry sectors was launched in November 2017. Projects co-funded with provinces and territories are anticipated to be announced in 2018.

5.2 Accelerating commercialization and growth

Canada’s success in the clean technology marketplace requires globally competitive talent, access to the capital and resources needed to demonstrate the commercial viability of products, and strong international networks that facilitate the cross-border flow of clean technology goods and services. Streamlining and integrating access to support programs and services is also a priority, and essential to building commercial capacity.     

Federal, provincial, and territorial governments committed to work together to improve access to government programs, increase support to advance and commercialize innovative technologies, and strengthen support for skills development and business leadership. Governments also committed to collaborate on expediting immigration processes for global talent and highly qualified personnel, promoting exports of clean technology goods and services, and playing a leadership role in international standards-setting processes for new clean technologies.

Implementation of these and other initiatives is well on track for 2017. Governments are working together to create a coordinated “no-wrong door” approach to supporting Canadian clean technology businesses and ensuring full and effective access to relevant government programs and services. For example, Québec and the federal government partnered to offer services through specific portals namely, the Entreprises Québec and Infos Entrepreneurs, to address the needs of entrepreneurs.

Federal, provincial, and territorial governments are also working together to enable access to capital for clean technology producers to help bring their products and services to market. In its 2017 budget, the Government of Canada announced $1.4 billion to the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) to support the growth of Canada’s clean technology businesses through new financing. An additional $400 million was also made available to recapitalize the SD Tech Fund under Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) to support projects across Canada to develop and demonstrate new clean technologies that promote sustainable development.

The Cleantech Equity Fund initiative is a $55M investment under Ontario’s Business Growth Initiative that will focus on providing venture capital to high potential, innovative Ontario-based cleantech businesses. The initiative is expected to leverage a minimum of $80M in additional private sector funds.

Several provinces and territories are in the process of partnering with the federal government to leverage this new federal funding and maximize outcomes for clean technology producers. For example, the Government of British Columbia and the Government of Canada have established a $40 million partnership between the Innovative Clean Energy Fund and SDTC to support the development of pre-commercial clean energy projects and technologies. The funding available through this joint fund will leverage federal, provincial, territorial and private sector investments.

Nova Scotia and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) provided funding to support start-ups through six business acceleration programs, including a new competition to find innovative ways to address problems in the ocean sector.

A number of provincial governments are also developing strategies to address skills shortages in specific industries. In addition, the federal government has launched a new Global Skills Strategy to support employers in attracting top talent and new skills to Canada. To support clean technology exports and access to global markets, the federal government is implementing an international business development strategy for clean technology. New funding has been allocated to the Standards Council of Canada to support efforts related to international standards-setting.

Saskatchewan is demonstrating global leadership through the transfer of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) knowledge and through collaboration with the International Standards Organization in the development of international standards for CCS to accurately measure, monitor and verify emission reductions by CCS projects.

5.3    Fostering adoption

Support for domestic adoption of Canadian clean technologies is needed for Canada to achieve its climate change goals, build climate-resilient infrastructure, and create a strong domestic clean technology market. This will also help lay a solid foundation of support for Canadian clean technology firms heading to global markets.

Federal, provincial, and territorial governments committed to foster the adoption of clean technology through leading by example as early adopters of clean technology and serving an essential role as a first or “reference customer” for Canadian clean technology goods, services and processes.

The Government of Canada is preparing to launch Innovative Solutions Canada, a $50 million new innovation procurement program announced in Budget 2017. This program will seek novel solutions to challenges issued by federal departments and agencies, which could include enhancing clean technology innovation.

Governments also committed to working together to support Indigenous Peoples and northern and remote communities in adopting and adapting clean technologies and ensuring business models support community ownership and operation of clean technology solutions to reduce reliance on diesel.

Implementation of initiatives is on track for 2017. Work is underway by federal, provincial, and territorial governments to develop action plans for greening government operations, and to encourage utilities, municipalities, and other public sector entities to adopt clean technologies and lead by example. The Government of Canada is taking steps to support technology adoption that makes government procurement an essential first deployment/ reference market for new technology. Federal and provincial governments also supported visible and effective certification programs (e.g. ENERGY STAR) and other programs to ensure consumer and business confidence, support green procurement, and the adoption of clean technology.

Ontario’s $74M TargetGHG program supports the adoption of innovative technologies for large emitters, and helps industry find solutions to meet more aggressive future GHG targets. Project announcements are expected in the near future. Ontario also offers SMART Green, a $25M program that helps small and medium-sized manufacturers upgrade their processes and facilities to reduce GHG emissions and energy consumption, and in many cases also make productivity gains.

5.4 Strengthening collaboration and metrics for success

An effective strategy to clean technology development, commercialization, and adoption in Canada requires coherent, collaborative, and focused approaches.

Under the Pan-Canadian Framework, federal, provincial, and territorial governments committed to work together to improve policy and program coordination and to establish a clean technology data strategy.

In 2017, good progress was made and implementation is on track. The Government of Canada announced the Clean Growth Hub in Budget 2017 to streamline client services, improve federal program coordination, enable tracking and reporting on clean technology results across government, and connect stakeholders to international markets. The Clean Growth Hub will focus efforts on federal program coordination, engaging partners including provinces and territories and consulting stakeholders.

Federal, provincial and territorial governments also undertook concrete action to build better clean technology data capacity and potential, as well as clear metrics for tracing the impact of government activities. The Government of Canada committed $14.5 million to develop a clean technology data strategy to ensure the alignment and integration of data collection and reporting activities to foster consistent, complementary and comparable information on clean technology in Canada. The Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Group on Clean Technology Data undertook consultations with provinces, territories, industry and other stakeholders to advance the development of the clean technology data strategy. The first release of pan-Canadian data by Statistics Canada will take place on December 13, 2017, and will provide the first comprehensive snapshot of the clean technology landscape in Canada.

Under the Ontario-Québec Joint Work Plan on Economic Development Through Climate Change Innovation, the two provinces joined forces with Statistics Canada and the sub-committee on the federal clean energy technology strategy, namely to identify issues related to defining the clean technologies sector for the compilation of statistics.

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