Speaking Points

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, PC, MP
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Toronto, Ontario

April 5, 2017

Check Against Delivery

Good morning. Thank you, Mike [Mike Gerbis, Chief Executive Officer, GLOBE Series], for the kind introduction.

Ladies and gentlemen, my message to you today is simple and direct: The time to invest in Canada is now.

I’m here today to make the case for why we should future-proof our economy.

More importantly, I’d like to talk about how.

In particular, how Canada’s globally recognized expertise in clean technology is a promising area for growth and investment.

It’s also an area of the economy that will cushion us against the intensifying effects of climate change.

All of us in this room keep a close eye on Canada’s economic vital signs.

Canada has a stable and growing economy, which is increasingly rare for countries these days.

In fact, the latest numbers from Statistics Canada show that our economy grew faster than expected in January.

It was one of the fastest growth rates in nearly six years.

According to the International Monetary Fund, our economy will be the second-fastest growing among G7 nations for this year and the next.

This growth benefits Canadians.

We’ve seen incredible gains in the number of full-time jobs added to the economy—more than a quarter of a million since last fall.

This pace of growth did not happen by chance.

Our government is making the smart and responsible investments that have resulted in better jobs and opportunities for all Canadians.

Indeed, we have targeted our investments in high-growth areas where Canada is a world leader.

Clean tech is one of those areas.

Clean tech reflects our government’s commitment to protecting the planet.

But it also points to a clear and strategic direction for economic development through innovation.

Clean tech shows that conservation and innovation can be competitive advantages.

At last year’s event, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a prediction.

He said that the future will belong to the countries, and the companies, that lead the way in clean technology, innovation and sustainability.

Canada is seizing those opportunities in the emerging market for clean tech.


Because the global clean-tech market is estimated to be worth at least $5.8 trillion.

And it’s growing at more than 3 percent annually—faster than the growth rate of most national economies.

Innovations in clean tech can lead to products and services that have an impact on sectors across the economy.

Clean tech also has the potential to create thousands of well-paying jobs for Canadians.

When we talk about future-proofing our economy, we are talking about securing Canada’s early leadership in clean tech.

And I can tell you, the world is taking notice.

Last year, I visited India.

While there, I learned that officials in the state of Maharashtra are very interested in Canada’s expertise in water management, renewable energy and technology that will lead to cleaner air in our cities.

Meanwhile, Tesla, a leading brand in electric cars, has enlisted a Canadian researcher to design its fuel storage systems.

That researcher, Jeff Dahn of Dalhousie University, is the latest winner of Canada’s top science honour, the Herzberg prize.

These are just two examples of how Canada’s global leadership in clean tech is growing.

That said, Canadian innovators have identified three challenges that hinder growth in the clean tech market.

First, entrepreneurs need access to long-term, committed financing that allows them to survive long and uncertain product-development cycles.

Second, they need access to markets.

And they made it clear that the Government of Canada can support companies by being an early adopter of clean tech.

In fact, it makes a huge difference to these companies to have government as a first customer.

It gives companies a testing ground to refine their products and services.

And it opens doors when they go abroad in search of new clients.

Third, companies want to take their innovations more quickly from the lab to the market, which is why they want the government’s business innovation programs to be simple and coordinated.

Ladies and gentlemen, our government’s recent budget responds to all of these concerns.

First, Budget 2017 includes more funding and options for innovators.

Financing fuels the growth of companies.

It provides the capital needed to hire new staff, develop products, and support sales both at home and internationally.

That’s why we plan to make more than $1.4 billion in new financing available to clean tech producers.

The new funding will be available through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada.

This financing will include $380 million for equity investments to help companies scale up.

It will support investments in assets, inventory, talent and market expansion with $570 million set aside for working capital.

Finally, $450 million will be available for project financing to enable clean technology deployment.

This funding will help Canadian start-ups grow beyond our borders, support firms throughout their life cycle and create more good, well-paying jobs for all Canadians.

Success will require partnership with the private sector, and this new financing will be used alongside private sources to increase the overall amount of capital.

Second, we are recapitalizing the Sustainable Development Technology Fund, which supports early-stage clean tech companies.

The fund, worth $400 million over five years, will go toward projects that demonstrate new clean technologies and promote sustainable development.

The fund has invested in 320 clean technology projects to date.

And those projects have created more than 9,200 jobs and are responsible for reducing carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 6.3 megatonnes per year.

Third, the budget includes funding to establish an international business development strategy for clean technology.

That fund is worth $15 million over four years.

It will help clean tech entrepreneurs sell their goods and services abroad.

The future growth and success of Canada’s clean tech producers relies on their ability to access and serve international clients.

These investments are part of our government’s Innovation and Skills Plan.

A large part of this plan includes introducing other measures to support clean tech innovators.

We have the Global Skills Strategy.

This program will help Canadian firms quickly recruit the best and brightest people from around the world.

We are also launching a new procurement program called Innovative Solutions Canada.

This program will open up more opportunities for businesses to develop and sell their most promising solutions to the Government of Canada.

In particular, it will provide small and medium-sized businesses with a testing ground to refine new products and services.

This will help them make inroads with new clients when they move into export markets.

In return, our government will have access to the latest, most innovative products and services, enabling increased efficiency and environmental performance.

Finally, we have Innovation Canada.

This new single-window service brings together all of the government’s business innovation programs.

The goal is to make it easier and faster for Canada’s innovators and entrepreneurs to find and access government programs and services.

The new single-window service will include a dedicated hub for clean tech to streamline client services, improve government program coordination, enable tracking of clean tech results and connect stakeholders to international markets.

Our government has also committed to fund a clean technology data strategy and provide support for R&D in our natural resources sector.

And we will invest $21.9 billion in green infrastructure across the country.

All of these measures will help clean tech entrepreneurs bring new offerings to market.

But government can’t do it alone.

We need those of you in this room to do your part.

According to a recent report by a Waterloo think tank, Canadian firms—especially those in more traditional industries—are reluctant to adopt clean technologies.

The report also noted that these very same industries stand to benefit the most from clean tech by creating new products using less energy or fewer resources.

Ladies and gentlemen, now is the time for Canada to reinforce its globally competitive advantage in clean tech.

This is Canada’s moment.

We can demonstrate to the world that the economy and the environment can go hand in hand.

We can serve as a model to all nations seeking a responsible, sustainable way of life.

The time to invest in Canada is now.

Thank you.

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