Canada is failing to meet its potential on the global environmental goods market

By Arman Kazemi

June 4, 2015

Canada’s clean technology industry is worth $12 billion and already employs more people than the forestry sector or aerospace manufacturing, according to a recent report by Analytica Advisors. But a lack of unified policy mechanisms and financial incentives means Canadian companies are falling behind in the push to bring domestic innovation to global markets.

The fourth annual Canadian Clean Technology Industry Report, published last week, found that despite growing four times faster than the Canadian economy as a whole, the clean tech industry’s global market share declined by 41 per cent since 2008.

Canada’s drop is the third largest amongst the top 24 exporting nations of clean technology, according to the report, just ahead of the U.K. and Japan. “For many of our trading partners, this sector is key to diplomatic engagement with emerging markets,” the authors write. Engagement at the political level has helped other countries “to become world leaders in their markets. Not so for Canada.”

According to the report, with proper support Canada could create a domestic clean tech industry worth $50 billion by 2022, accounting for 2.5 per cent of the global market share. But the authors argue that the necessary political infrastructure is simply not available for Canadian clean technology companies to compete in an increasingly competitive global market.

Consistent and multi-tiered regulatory and financial support could help Canadian companies move from the research and development phase to initial industrial applications and finally production and deployment. With the right support, the value proposition of a new technology can be made clear, allowing the private sector to step in and help scale up the growth of a company.

“It should be fairly straightforward to take the next step so that the investments that have been made in early research now are translated into jobs, exports and environmental stewardship,” Analytica president and report author Celine Bak told Canadian Press.

The solution, according to Bak, is for provincial and federal policies to align on incentives and financing methods, thereby easing the transition from development to deployment in order to help Canada’s clean technology become a globally competitive market force.



Photo Credit: Beth