Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change second annual report: section 6

5.0 Clean technology, innovation and jobs

Carbon pollution pricing mechanisms and other complementary actions to reduce GHG emissions can create incentives for businesses and consumers alike to make choices that reduce their environmental impact. These incentives in turn support the adoption of clean technologies as businesses and consumers seek solutions that are also beneficial for the environment.

Canadian companies are developing and deploying clean technology solutions across all sectors of the economy to help find new ways to improve energy and resource efficiency, meet environmental objectives, and boost global competitiveness. For example, both carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) and smart meters are examples of clean technologies although aimed at different users. CCUS is used to target large, point sources of emissions, such as fossil-fueled power plants and industrial facilities to capture CO2 emissions before they are released into the atmosphere. Smart meters are commonly used in everyday life to support consumers in optimizing energy efficiency to lower heating bills and carbon emissions.

Countries around the world, including Canada, are acting on the economic opportunity the clean technology marketplace presents. The global clean technology market is expanding, with the industry’s value projected to exceed $2.5 trillion by 2022.Footnote 17  Moreover, a report by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate Change found that a global shift to a low carbon economy between 2018 and 2030 has the potential for a direct economic gain of $26 trillion (USD) when compared to business as usual.Footnote 18 

In 2019 Canada will host the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM)/Mission Innovation (MI) Ministerial. By hosting this annual meeting, which will take place in Vancouver, B.C., Canada will position itself as a global leader on clean energy and innovation.

Clean technology activity in Canada continues to grow, and in 2016, environmental and clean technology, excluding waste management and electricity production, accounted for $26.7 billion of Canada’s GDP and 178,000 jobs.Footnote 19 

This year saw significant progress from federal, provincial and territorial governments towards implementing PCF objectives to support clean technology uptake in Canada and the transition to clean growth. This included joint program announcements, funding allocations and disbursal to clean technology projects across the country. The Government of Canada announced a targeted export strategy for the clean technology industry through the Trade Commissioner Service, launched the Clean Growth Hub, Clean Growth Program, and Impact Canada Initiative, as well as the BDC clean technology practice.

A deeper understanding of the clean technology landscape in Canada was supported through the release of new data measuring the economic contribution of clean technology in Canada and increased collaboration among clean technology stakeholders and governments.

5.1 Building early stage innovation

If Canada is to build a robust clean growth economy, supporting research is a priority to help technological innovation get to market and achieve commercial success.

In 2018, governments launched new programs to advance early-stage clean technology innovation, including through the use of tax credits, innovation prizes and research funding. Programs included Alberta’s Clean Technology Development Program; and the Government of Canada’s $155 million Clean Growth Program.

Alberta launched the $43.2 million Clean Technology Development Program to facilitate and support the development of novel clean technologies from bench scale to field pilots and a $7 million Alberta Investor Tax Credit (AITC) that provides a 30% tax credit to encourage investment in clean technology, with strong job creation potential. The capital raised has allowed companies to develop technologies such as carbon capture technology, value-added synthetic fuel production technology, heat mapping technology, and lower carbon electricity generation technology.

Governments also made progress in encouraging new targeted research approaches to focus research and development on clean technology issues. Several jurisdictions launched innovation challenges to support high-potential projects, including the Government of Canada’s Impact Canada fund, Emission Reduction Alberta’s challenges, and Newfoundland and Labrador’s innovation challenges to stimulate the province’s technology sector.

In addition the Government of Canada made significant progress on its Mission Innovation objectives, including on doubling federal clean energy research, development, and demonstration expenditures.

5.2 Accelerating commercialization and growth

Given the size of Canada’s domestic market, innovative Canadian clean technology producers are looking to international markets for opportunities to grow and expand their businesses. Ensuring the success of Canadian clean technology companies in a competitive global marketplace requires supports across the innovation ecosystem: access to capital and resources to demonstrate the commercial viability of products; opportunities for companies to more easily hire globally competitive talent to meet their workforce needs; and, encouragement for international networks to facilitate the export of clean technologies.

There are already a myriad of programs and services at the federal, provincial, and territorial level designed to support commercialization and growth. The Government of Canada has created a “no-wrong door” approach, through the creation of the Clean Growth Hub, to ensure that companies can take advantage of the suite of programs and services available to them. Additionally, in 2018 Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) opened a new office in Atlantic Canada, as well as established partnerships between the Government of Canada and British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Québec that provide one-window access to funding and reporting.

New initiatives launched by governments this year support access to financing and skill development for clean technology producers. For example, Québec announced its Action Plan for Growth and Clean Technologies which will help support Québec businesses in developing and implementing clean technologies and in their approach to adopting eco-friendly business practices.

To encourage private investment in clean technology solutions, Ontario, as part of its new environment plan released on November 29, 2018, will establish a $350-million emission reduction fund (“The Ontario Carbon Trust”) to support and encourage investments across the province for initiatives that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Ontario will also launch a $50-million Ontario Reverse Auction, allowing bidders to send proposals for emissions reduction projects and compete for contracts based on the lowest cost greenhouse gas emission reductions.

The Government of Canada and Yukon College collaborated to launch the Yukon Innovation Hub, bringing together entrepreneurs, business advisory support services and Yukon College under one roof. Ontario’s Scale-up Vouchers program offers access to funding and specialized growth coaching services that help firms overcome challenges such as accessing talent, generating sales outside Canada, and protecting intellectual property.

Nova Scotia has partnered with Innovacorp, an early stage venture capital organization, to launch the Innovacorp Demonstration Centre (IDC), an 88-acre industrial demonstration facility that offers access to raw materials and testing facilities, allowing industry innovators and researchers to test their products before bringing them to full market scale.

5.3 Fostering adoption

Domestic adoption of clean technology can create a strong Canadian “first market” and support market- ready Canadian technologies that have the potential to be exported. Federal, provincial and territorial governments have continued to take action to foster clean technology adoption in Canada by increasing the use of clean technology in government operations, providing support for clean technology projects in Indigenous, northern and remote communities, and by incentivizing consumer and industry adoption.

In 2018, governments continued work to green government operations in addition to encouraging utilities, municipalities, and other public sector entities to adopt clean technologies. Government adoption of early-stage clean technology can provide clean technology companies with an important opportunity to test, scale-up and generate support for their technologies. British Columbia continued to streamline procurement of clean technology for municipalities and other public sector organizations through its use of Corporate Supply Arrangements (CSA) for electric vehicle charging stations and forthcoming CSA for energy management studies. Moreover, the new B.C. Procurement Strategy (PDF - 855 kB) is creating a concierge service to help commercial-ready vendors connect to government buyers.

As a way to reduce reliance on diesel and improve energy security in Indigenous, northern and remote communities, governments have committed to support those communities in the adoption of clean technologies. In 2018, the Government of Canada, provinces and territories continued to develop and implement partnerships with Indigenous communities and to support community-scale and community-owned clean energy projects. The Yukon Territory is developing the Vuntut Gwitchin Government Solar Project and Kluane First Nation Wind Project, the first Independent Power Producer projects in the Territory. Both projects received funding from the Government of Canada’s Northern REACHE program.

Also in 2018, governments continued to implement programs designed to increase consumer and industry adoption of clean technologies, thereby creating cost savings for consumers and businesses through improved energy efficiency. For example, through the ENERGY STAR® program, the Government of Canada introduced three updates to energy efficiency regulations for 40 products, expected to lead to $6 billion in savings for consumers by 2030 and 2 Mt of GHG emissions reductions. Nova Scotia introduced the Technologies for Value-Added Agriculture program that supports agricultural producers and processors who want to advance their operations through innovation, efficiency and quality improvements.

5.4 Strengthening collaboration and metrics for success

As jobs related to clean technology increase in Canada, collaboration between federal, provincial and territorial governments can streamline company access to government programs and services, and better focus government resources. Metrics for success will provide an important indicator in measuring the contribution of clean technology to the Canadian economy.

In January 2018, the Government of Canada launched the Clean Growth Hub to leverage existing knowledge, expertise and relationships across the Government of Canada while providing an easy, single point of contact for clean technology users and producers. Sixteen departments and agencies are official members of the Hub, with staff from ten departments co-located. Since its launch, the Hub has served over 650 clients.

Other examples of streamlined services include Alberta‘s Clean Innovation Office to coordinate and promote government programs, and Québec’s Carrefour Québecois de l’Economie Verte which will help clean technology producers and users in Canada access the supports they need to grow their business.

Collaborative efforts designed to better focus resources continued in 2018. For example, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between Ontario and Sustainable Development Technology Canada to increase information sharing and align investment opportunities. Alberta announced its Climate Change Innovation and Technology Framework that provides strategy funds to entities that establish networks, partnerships or collaboration in priority sectors including green buildings, low-carbon electricity and waste to value-added.

The Clean Technology Data Strategy was launched in 2017 to develop metrics that evaluate the penetration of clean technology in the Canadian economy. In December 2018, as part of the Strategy, Statistics Canada will release the second round of national clean technology data. This data will improve knowledge on the contribution of clean technology in the Canadian economy and help inform future decision-making, for stakeholders and governments as both continue to collaborate to support the growth of clean technology in Canada. For example, the 2018 Generation Energy Council report highlighted the need for better energy data, and the linkages to climate actions.

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