As the world moves towards net-zero, Canada needs to position its industries for success in the 21st century global green economy. Otherwise, Canada will be left behind by the strategic efforts of other countries, with real consequences for our future prosperity.

The current approach to clean competitiveness is a good start, but we need a more focused and strategic approach. Instead, Canada should bring together firms, investors, governments and experts. Together, they can co-develop roadmaps that form the basis of industrial strategies.

To ensure its success, Canada must focus industrial strategy and roadmap efforts on its top economic opportunities in the global net zero transition.

To begin this work and start a much-needed conversation, the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, Smart Prosperity Institute, and the Transition Accelerator conducted a study of Canada’s prospects in a net-zero world by developing a strategic lens that positions Canada in the 2050 energy system. This report makes significant contributions to the discussions around Canada’s net-zero future:

Areas of Opportunity

In Canada’s Future in a Net-Zero World, seven priority opportunity areas are identified and outlined which can be transformed from current emissions profiles to green industry while building Canada’s economy: 

  • Medium and heavy-duty vehicles 

  • Alternative proteins 

  • Green aluminum 

  • Mass timber 

  • Green chemistry 

  • Hydrogen 

  • Carbon capture, utilization, and storage 

Strategic Framework

This report lays out a four-part framework for a strategic approach, founded on a deliberate move from a risk averse approach to one that is experimental and strategic: 

1. Establish a vision of Canada’s place in a net-zero world. 

2. Identify priority opportunities and build a focused portfolio of investments across sectors. 

3. Develop sectoral strategies or roadmaps that show the sequences and policies that are needed to drive industrial development and transition. 

4. Collaborate across public-private and federal-provincial lines to advance the roadmaps – evaluating, realigning, and adjusting as we go. 

Canada’s Future in a Net-Zero World concludes by outlining principles for how Canada might forge ambitious public-private collaborations to build an industrial strategy.

First, there is an important role for the government, which must articulate public purpose, set targets, leverage finance, and coordinate a whole supply-chain approach.

Second, governments must work with intermediary organizations that can facilitate good information flows between governments and businesses, provide independent expertise, and serve as sites of learning and experimentation. 

This report ultimately highlights the need for, and seeks to advance, the development and implementation of strategic and experimental roadmaps for high-opportunity sectors so Canada can build a prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable position in the net-zero future.