Advancing Clean Technology in Canada’s Natural Resources Sectors

Public Statement of Environmental Effects

In line with the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy, the Government of Canada expanded on its commitment to boost the growth of Canada’s clean technology sector by funding the Advancing Clean Technology in Canada’s Natural Resource Sectors initiatives under Budget 2017.   The initiatives, listed below, support the development and use of clean technology to achieve Canada’s environmental and climate change mitigation objectives, and support competitiveness, jobs and clean growth in the natural resource sectors:

  1. Investing in Research and Development in Clean Energy and Transportation;
  2. Encouraging Clean Technology in the Natural Resources Sectors;
  3. Capitalizing on International Business Development for Clean Technology;
  4. Establishing a Clean Technology Data Strategy and the Clean Growth Hub.

The intent of these initiatives is to fund and support innovation, science and technology with the long-term goal of contributing to Canada’s emission reduction targets and addressing broader environmental challenges related to water, air and land. The potential positive environmental effects of these initiatives would largely arise from the funded clean technology research, development and demonstration (RD&D) projects conducted by an array of Canadian innovators, industry personnel, academic experts and government researchers under the Investing in Research and Development in Clean Energy and Encouraging Clean Technology in the Natural Resources Sectors initiatives.

Any projects for which potential adverse environmental effects are identified and determined to outweigh environmental benefits, and/or for which there would be significant public concern, would be screened through a robust project selection criteria, and when applicable, would be subject to the environmental assessment process and other applicable legislation. 

The Detailed Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) concludes that positive environmental effects are expected from these initiatives, particularly over the long-term.

Description

The Advancing Clean Technology in Canada’s Natural Resource Sectors initiatives respond to several federal drivers: the Minister of Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) mandate letter tasking to support innovation and the use of clean technologies in the natural resources sectors and invest in clean technology producers; the Government’s Budget 2016 commitment to invest over $1 billion over four years to support clean technology, including in the natural resource sectors; and Canada’s Mission Innovation commitments to double federal funding for clean energy and clean technology research and development, encourage increased private investment and international collaboration.

NRCan, Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Global Affairs Canada, and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada are all contributors to Advancing Clean Technology in Canada’s Natural Resources Sectors. Together, these initiatives will ensure a place for natural resource industries in Canada’s clean growth future; reduce greenhouse gas emissions in support of Canada’s 2030 target; build public confidence in resource projects; increase clean technology exports; and improve information and service to stakeholders.

The Government of Canada recognizes that economic development and environmental sustainability must go hand-in-hand to enable prosperity for Canadians in the global clean growth future. To meet climate change objectives, significant effort will be required to develop and demonstrate clean technologies that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from energy production and use, which account for about 80% of Canada’s emissions. Clean technology, defined as any process, product, or service that reduces environmental impacts, is a key part of this vision: providing a critical pathway to maintain and enhance competitiveness and jobs, as firms improve environmental performance. At the same time, growing markets for Canada’s clean technology producers drives increased revenues for Canadians, bringing wealth and jobs into the country. These initiatives seek to build on these linkages, and strengthen these ideas and connections.

Summary of SEA Results

In accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, a Detailed SEA was undertaken for the Advancing Clean Technology in Canada’s Natural Resource Sectors initiatives.

The Detailed SEA concluded that the potential positive environmental effects of this proposal would largely arise from the funded RD&D projects conducted by an array of Canadian innovators, industry personnel, academic experts and government researchers. Furthermore, potential positive environmental effects could arise through increased adoption and commercialization of clean technologies, not only in the natural resources sectors directly, but through any sectors indirectly related to natural resources, or sectors wherein such technologies could be applied.

Broadly speaking, these initiatives are intended to leverage the potential of clean technology to achieve Canada’s environmental objectives and support competitiveness, jobs and clean growth in the natural resource sectors. The Detailed SEA concludes that positive environmental effects are expected from these initiatives, particularly over the long-term.

Environmental Effects

Positive environmental effects of these initiatives include reductions in GHG emissions, other air pollutants, water use and contamination, solid waste production and ecosystem disturbances. Cumulatively, these programs are expected to contribute to Canada’s broader environmental priorities and climate change targets by not only increasing the use of and accessibility  to clean-technology and innovative energy technologies by Canadians, but by making it easier for innovators to develop and market their products.

Given the nature of the initiatives contained within this proposal, it is difficult to assess the potential negative environmental effects.  However, it is unlikely there will any significant negative environmental effects, and any that are identified are anticipated to be mitigated through the project selection process. 

Enhancement, Mitigation and Follow-up Measures

As RD&D projects are considered, approved and developed, continual discussions and monitoring efforts will be in place to measure and potentially enhance the positive environmental effects while mitigating any potential negative effects.

By increasing the Government of Canada’s ability to track and compile data related to Canada’s clean technology, government and stakeholders will be better positioned to measure impacts, while having insight into possible gaps to be addressed.

Results of Consultations

In order to develop a policy response, a comprehensive consultation process was undertaken to identify gaps as well as operating considerations unique to the natural resource and/or clean technology sectors. Since December 2015, NRCan has engaged more than 300 natural resource and clean technology stakeholders, including 11 multi-sectoral Ministerial roundtables across the country with industry, provinces and territories, Indigenous leaders and organizations, think tanks, academia and funders. Global Affairs Canada has also conducted extensive consultations with its private-sector Clean Technology Advisory Group, which includes executives from Canada’s top clean technology companies. The input NRCan and Global Affairs received from stakeholders was considered at length, and was integrated into the development of various programs to ensure such initiatives were a direct reflection of the feedback received.

Linkage to Sustainable Development

The suite of initiatives for Advancing Clean Technology in Canada’s Natural Resource Sectors support the following aspirational goals of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy:

1. Effective action on climate change. Specifically, initiatives will contribute to the medium-term target of, by 2030, reducing Canada’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30%, relative to 2005 emission levels;

2. Clean Growth. Specifically, initiatives will contribute to the medium-term target of implementing our Mission Innovation commitment to double federal government investments in clean energy research, development and demonstration, by 2020, from 2015 levels.

3. Clean Energy. Specifically, initiatives will contribute to medium-term targets of increased electricity generation from renewable and non-emitting sources.

 
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