In accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals (2010), a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) was completed for Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC). The assessment revealed ISC is likely to enable purchasing of greener, newer technologies, which may help advance progress on certain goals and targets of the 2016-2019 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS).
During the summer of 2016, stakeholders conveyed that Canadian innovators lack access to large, anchor customers who can provide test beds, early validation and ultimately a path to commercial success. ISC seeks to address these gaps by allocating funding by federal departments and agencies towards early-stage, pre-commercial R&D, late-stage prototypes, and other goods and services from Canadian innovators and entrepreneurs.
ISC will provide government departments and agencies with new mechanisms to meet operational challenges while accessing new technologies, including those that will help the Government meet its sustainable development goals. Participating departments and agencies will likely have challenges that encourage innovations related to making progress towards a low carbon economy, addressing climate change and advancing clean growth. The expected environmental impact of all challenges will be assessed in funding decision-making.
The ISC program recognizes that, while governments are directly responsible for a relatively small share of Canada's GHG emissions (about 0.6%), they have an opportunity to lead by example. The public sector can demonstrate the effectiveness of ambitious policies to reduce emissions from vehicle fleets, buildings, and other assets. Governments are also major purchasers and providers of goods and services, and can help to build demand for low-carbon goods and services by being a first customer. This can help validate early-stage, pre-commercial technologies that can lead to follow-on investment and growth.
The proposed program, therefore, would enable the purchasing, and scaling-up, of greener, newer technologies, which may help advance progress on the following goals and targets of the 2016-2019 FSDS:
Goal 1: Effective action on climate change
- Long-term goal: A low-carbon economy contributes to limiting global average temperature rise to well below two degrees Celsius and supports efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius
- Medium-term target: By 2030, reduce Canada's total GHG emissions by 30%, relative to 2005 emission levels
Goal 2: Low-carbon government
- Long-term goal: The Government of Canada leads by example by making its operations low-carbon
- Medium-term target: Reduce GHG emissions from federal government buildings and fleets by 40% below 2005 levels by 2030, with an aspiration to achieve it by 2025
Goal 3: Clean growth
- Long-term goal: A growing clean technology industry in Canada contributes to clean growth and the transition to a low-carbon economy
- Medium-term target: Implement our Mission Innovation commitment to double federal government investments in clean energy research, development and demonstration, by 2020, from 2015 levels