OCTIA applauds the recognition of cleantech as a high growth sector in the Ontario 2022 budget.
In that same vein, the budget highlights Ontario’s co-investments in electric vehicle (EV) and EV battery production facilities and charging infrastructure. It points out the province’s support of low-carbon steel production initiatives as well as its critical minerals and hydrogen strategies that are meant to restore Ontario’s capacity as a skilled trades and manufacturing powerhouse.
The support of these clean economy initiatives echoes some of OCTIA’s key policy recommendations. It is a great example of how the federal budget can be leveraged to effectively support the economic future of our province and boost job creation. One would hope that we will see more of that in the future.
These are the concrete budget items that may be of interest to and support the cleantech sector:
Critical Mineral Exploration
- The Ontario government is investing $2 million in 2022–23 and $3 million in 2023–24 to create a Critical Minerals Innovation Fund to support the mining industry, academia, startups and research and development firms to find innovative solutions for extraction and processing of critical minerals.
- Investment of $12 million for the extension of the Ontario Junior Exploration Program (OJEP) over an additional two years.
EV Supply Chain
- $1.5 million through the Regional Development Program to support an $18.5 million investment by auto parts manufacturer Ventra Group to create the Flex Ion Battery Innovation Centre in Windsor.
- $91 million to help make electric vehicle (EV) chargers more accessible to the public across the province.
- Rural Connectivity Fund to support the installation of EV chargers in rural communities – no details yet.
Small Business Support & Access to Capital
- Creation of an Entrepreneurship Council to focus on a range of key themes that will support the development of a dedicated Entrepreneurship Strategy. The new Entrepreneurship Council will include leaders from across diverse sectors to advise on the issues facing Ontario entrepreneurs and small businesses, and actions needed to set them up for success. The strategy is supposed to position the province as the fastest and easiest jurisdiction to start up and scale up a business.
- Expansion of access to startup and growth capital through Venture Ontario, currently known as Ontario Capital Growth Corporation. The government announced $200 million in investments through Venture Ontario, focusing on life sciences, clean technology, information technology and artificial intelligence.
- $2 million in 2022–23 for Futurpreneur Canada providing mentorship services and collateral free loan capital to young entrepreneurs.
- Creation of a single service window that is supposed to make it easier for businesses to navigate to relevant business information, including information tailored by industry, all in one place. The single window for business will introduce service standard guarantees so businesses can track the information they need from the government – a concrete policy recommendation OCTIA had been advocating for.
- Improved access to provincial procurement opportunities through measures such as the Building Ontario Businesses Initiative. The related legislation mandates public sector entities to give Ontario businesses preference when conducting procurement for goods and services under a specified threshold amount. This legislative change will see the government targeting to spend at least $3 billion in contracts awarded to Ontario businesses annually by 2026.
- Support of Intellectual Property Ontario with an investment of about $58 million over three years. The new agency will serve as a goto resource for IP expertise to help postsecondary institutions, researchers and companies maximize the value of their IP and strengthen their capacity to grow and compete in the global market.
- Investment of $107 million over the next three years in new critical technology initiatives to support access to and the commercialization of these technologies – no further details yet.
- $10 million in 2022–23 to establish a Food Security and Supply Chain Fund to strengthen the province’s food supply, grow the workforce and to help sustain and expand the agri-food sector.
- The design of a voluntary clean energy credit (CEC) registry that would provide businesses more choice in how they achieve their corporate sustainability goals. Voluntary CECs would represent clean electricity that has been generated from a non-emitting source, such as solar, wind, bioenergy, as well as hydroelectric and nuclear power. A CEC registry would return funds raised through the purchase of CECs to Ontario ratepayers and support future clean energy generation in the province. The IESO is currently engaging with stakeholders regarding the credits. There are concerns that the mechanism would increase the emissions intensity of Ontario’s electricity supply (i.e. the residual supply mix) for all customers that do not purchase the credits and have a negative impact on customers that are relying on the existing emissions intensity of Ontario’s electricity supply. More here.
Recent Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Investments in Ontario
- Over $5 billion for a joint investment between LG Energy Solution and Stellantis to build the province’s first large‐scale EV battery manufacturing plant in Windsor, supported by Ontario, along with municipal and federal governments.
- $1.8 billion in commitments from Ford to produce battery EVs and five new EV models at its Oakville assembly complex, with the Ontario government providing $295 million in support and the federal government making a matching contribution.
- More than $2 billion by General Motors to transform the company’s Oshawa and Ingersoll manufacturing facilities to deliver the company’s next generation of vehicles, including new all‐electric commercial vehicles, with the Ontario government providing up to $259 million in grant support and the Government of Canada making a matching contribution.
- $1.5 billion in commitments from Stellantis to upgrade its assembly plant in Windsor to build new electrified vehicles.
- Almost $1.4 billion from Honda to upgrade and retool its plants in Alliston and begin manufacturing hybrid models, with the Ontario government providing $131.6 million in grant support and the Government of Canada making a matching contribution.