Joint statement: Government of Canada and Government of British Columbia announce a partnership to accelerate integrated clean technology markets in British Columbia and beyond

Statement

August 11, 2021

The Honourable Mary Ng, Canada’s Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, and the Honourable Ravi Kahlon, British Columbia’s Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, are today announcing a partnership to accelerate the development and testing of integrated markets for clean technologies in Canada, using British Columbia as a test bed. Integrated markets—where buyers come together to flex their purchasing power and provide important sales opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) innovators—can be a winning formula for boosting Canadian clean technology and exporting it to a global customer base.

British Columbia’s CleanBC plan and Canada’s strengthened climate plan show how the Government of British Columbia and the Government of Canada have shared interests in innovation and climate action, including:

  • supporting greater domestic adoption of clean technologies;
  • encouraging clean growth and job creation;
  • integrating innovation into new and existing products;
  • better aligning research to the needs of domestic industries;
  • extracting increased value from public investments;
  • positioning Canadian SMEs for business growth and export success; and 
  • achieving our 2030 to 2050 greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.

Integrated marketplaces for clean technology will be an important tool in helping to meet these objectives and position innovative SMEs for growth and scale-up in British Columbia, Canada and beyond.

The clean technology sector is a major economic contributor to British Columbia’s economy. The gross domestic product (GDP) generated by the clean technology sector in British Columbia grew from $3.1 billion in 2014 to $4.4 billion in 2019, or 44%.  Clean technology companies also employ a large number of workers from communities across Canada. In 2019, over 41,000 workers were employed in the clean technology sector in British Columbia. With the support of the governments of Canada and British Columbia, growth in this sector will be further accelerated.

Background

For many clean technology companies, early sales to domestic customers will make or break their success. Domestic sales are evidence of product acceptance and efficacy for international customers, and domestic reference sales give Canadian clean technology companies the edge they need to stand out against international competitors. Relationships with and sales to domestic customers are also critical to helping innovative companies improve their next‑generation product to address new and emerging business requirements. 

However, Canada’s market can be small. It is therefore critical that Canadian clean technology companies and innovators can find ways to integrate into the procurement and supply chains of larger firms and organizations, including governments. Similarly, companies looking for clean technology solutions may not know where to go to find innovators. Bringing the solutions providers and the buyers together in integrated markets can help both the clean technology producers and the adopters while helping Canadians work toward important climate targets.

Collectively, integrated marketplace networks will provide a structured approach to implementing clean technology solutions and facilitating procurement across a larger, integrated marketplace more than any single technology purchaser could provide on its own, thereby offering opportunities to help grow companies more quickly. These networks may also help to identify new products, product improvements and innovations that procuring entities are either immediately seeking or wishing to procure in the near future. 

Because the procurement of clean technologies faces unique barriers for both buyers and sellers, our two governments are committed to exploring opportunities and joint funding partnerships to advance an integrated marketplace approach in British Columbia. Through this approach, Canadian purchasers will become part of a broad, consolidated procurement network composed of a range of private, public and not-for-profit entities and collaborate to assess, adopt, purchase and innovate Canadian technologies and solutions. Such a network could also help promote adopted technologies to other industry purchasers and offer feedback so solutions providers can better adapt solutions to the market’s needs. Clean technology solutions providers can then take the successes of their Canadian sales as a critical reference when they sell their products internationally.

Planned activities and outcomes

Together, and without prejudice to existing programs or services, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and the British Columbia Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation (JERI) aim to jointly identify opportunities to collaborate on and advance integrated marketplaces for clean technology that will provide:

  • benefits to both clean technology solutions providers and adopters;
  • opportunities for learning and product improvement;
  • replicability potential across Canada;
  • the ability to expand to other sectors;
  • the ability to leverage private sector investment; and
  • the potential for export opportunities. 

In further support of this effort, the Government of Canada is committed to sharing the learnings and best practices from all projects undertaken under this collaboration with all interested provinces and territories, with a view to maximizing the overall impact for both companies and governments across Canada.

The Government of Canada also commits to connect any companies participating in activities undertaken through this collaboration with the entire suite of federal clean technology support, such as the Trade Commissioner Service and the Clean Growth Hub, in order to maximize impact and help position companies for further growth and international success.

Similarly, the Province of British Columbia will work to support other jurisdictions to participate in the integrated marketplace to help share learnings, develop increased purchasing power and build integrated supply chain opportunities for more domestic companies. The Province will also work to focus policy and programming where applicable to support the success and scaling of integrated marketplaces to other areas of the economy that provide public and industry benefit. 

This collaborative work between ISED and JERI will be focused on the clean technology sector and associated technologies, although there is the potential for spillover into, and further collaboration in, additional sectors. Potential projects will be within British Columbia, although it is recognized that supply chains and buyers may expand to, and ultimately benefit, the rest of Canada.

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