TORONTO—The unexpected results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election may have injected a degree or two of uncertainty into the Canadian cleantech industry—particularly when it comes to exporting to the U.S.—but that doesn’t mean the sector is on the ropes.
Continuing to post strong financial results and secure record levels of funding, the industry is poised for growth both within Canada and abroad, according to this year’s Cleantech Directions report.
“Our cleantech companies punch above their weight internationally. They are heavy exporters to developing markets, not just the U.S.,” said Jane Kearns, senior advisor for cleantech, with Toronto business incubator MaRS DiscoveryDistrict.
One participant in a roundtable discussion at the Toronto Stock Exchange last fall, Kearns outlined how cleantech companies that were startups just a few years ago have now reached maturity and are busy exporting, developing new markets and creating jobs.
“Canada could become an energy superpower. It’s just not necessarily oil and gas,” she added.
With more supportive government policies at home and countries around the world beginning to ratify and implement the global climate accord reached at the COP21 conference in Paris, the growth opportunities are only increasing.
Innovative Canadian companies in the water, energy production and biopolymer sectors are just several examples of areas Canada could establish a comparative advantage in innovation, Chris Evans, a senior account manager and clean technologies advisor with Export Development Canada (EDC), said at the roundtable.
But that’s not to say there aren’t challenges.
The 2017 Directions report highlights Canadian cleantech’s biggest opportunities, as well as some of the obstacles still standing in the industry’s way.