Indicators and targets: Clean growth

 Jobs and innovation: Tracking progress and results


  • Double the value of Canada's exports of clean technologies by 2025

Clean technology refers to any process, product or service that reduces environmental impacts. As Canada strives to mitigate climate change while growing the economy, clean technology will play an integral role in supporting the transition to a clean economy. Canada's clean technology sector is well positioned on the global stage, ranking 4th on the Global Cleantech Innovation Index (Cleantech Group, 2017).

Canada's clean technology sector has grown in recent years. Clean technology exports reached $9.0 billion in 2017, up from 7.6 billion in 2015, while employment in the sector reached 183,000 jobs (Figure 15.1 and Figure 15.2). Average annual compensation in clean technology industries was more than 25% greater than the economy-wide average in 2017 – $82,000 compared with $63,000 (Statistics Canada, 2018).

Figure 15.1: Value of exports of clean technologies

Text version
Year Total, environmental and clean technology exports ($billions) Clean technology exports ($billions)
2007 8.3 5.4
2008 9.7 6.5
2009 8.2 5.8
2010 8.1 5.9
2011 9.4 6.8
2012 9.5 6.9
2013 10.2 6.9
2014 11.4 7.7
2015 11.1 7.6
2016 11.4 8.1
2017 12.4 9.0
2025 - 15


Statistics Canada, Table 36-10-0371-01 (current dollars, unadjusted for inflation)

Innovation, Science and Economic Development estimates

1. Clean technology is a subset of Environmental and Clean Technology Products Economics Account, which excludes electricity production activities, energy/primary products and waste management services.

Figure 15.2: Clean technology employment

Text version
Year Total environmental and clean technology employment Clean technology employment Clean technology, average compensation
2007 262,354 169,538 $64,133
2008 266,210 171,767 $66,014
2009 260,666 166,154 $68,683
2010 261,217 166,312 $70,584
2011 264,218 168,983 $71,605
2012 267,875 173,299 $71,778
2013 270,082 175,503 $74,568
2014 273,548 177,950 $75,330
2015 275,304 181,646 $79,479
2016 276,828 181,978 $77,130
2017 282,045 183,265 $82,159


Statistics Canada, Table 36-10-0411-01

Innovation, Science and Economic Development estimates

1. Clean technology employment is a subset of Environmental and Clean Technology Products Economic Account and excludes employment in electric power generation, transmission and distribution, waste management and remediation services and water, sewage and other systems.

Across the economy, ten percent of enterprises adopted clean technologies in 2017 (Statistics Canada, 2019). Compared with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in other sectors, SMEs in the cleantech sector are more reliant on government financing, tend to grow faster, export more and hold more intellectual property (ISED, 2019).

Clean technology is an integral component of the Innovation and Skills Plan and the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. The Framework, developed in collaboration with provinces and territories and in consultation with Indigenous people, will help Canada meet emissions reductions targets, grow the economy and build resilience to a changing climate. The Government has announced more than $2.3 billion to support clean technology, including $1.4 billion in new financing through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) and approximately $450 million in additional project financing.

Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), an arm's-length foundation, supports Canadian companies with the potential to become world leaders in the development or demonstration of new clean technologies that address climate change, clean air, clean water and clean soil. The government is recapitalizing the SDTC's SD Tech Fund by making $400 million available to support the development and demonstration of pre-commercial clean technology projects.