This spring has been marked by several significant announcements for Ontario’s cleantech sector.
Volkswagen Group’s PowerCo announced the construction of a massive EV battery gigafactory in St. Thomas, Ontario. The investment has the potential to create up to 3,000 highly skilled jobs at the factory and tens of thousands of indirect jobs in the region. It will have ripple effects on other clean technology areas and accelerate Canada’s transition to a resilient, clean economy. Great news!
Related: Intellectual Property Ontario (IPON) announced a one-year pilot that will link academic researchers with industry partners to accelerate the development, adoption, and commercialization of new technologies across the EV supply chain, including critical minerals, cleantech and EV batteries.
Statistics Canada just published the 2022 Cleantech Industry Survey results. Finally, we have more solid cleantech data! This wouldn’t have been possible without Canada Cleantech’s partners – OCTIA is one of them – and their members. Thank you!
Overall, the survey results are not surprising. Access to capital, customers, and talent remain the main challenges for Canadian cleantech companies.
About half of the respondents identified access to funding and a lack of regulatory drivers to adoption as the greatest challenges to clean technology commercialization in Canada. Two thirds indicated that there’s a strong need for industry connections – also not surprising (and part of OCTIA’s mandate!). Two thirds also shared that they were unaware of federal procurement opportunities.
When it comes to government funding and programs, more than 50% cited lengthy approval processes and excessive paperwork as the main barriers.
Other big areas of concern? Access to talent and training resources, specifically in Atlantic Canada as well as Manitoba.
With regards to equity, diversity, and inclusion, Canada’s cleantech sector is better positioned than the traditional tech sector. However, only 13% of Canada’s cleantech executives are women and 2% Indigenous. Looking at the workforce as a whole, every third employee is a woman, but only 6% of the employees are Indigenous.
Re: building strong industry connections and facilitating access to capital: I’m pleased to share that OCTIA has some exciting events in store for you this spring. On June 8 we’ll be hosting another GrowON Pitch Session targeted towards cleantech companies looking for series B+ funding. Thanks to ARC Financial, BDC, Climate Innovation Capital and MKB for funding and supporting the session. Thanks also to the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, Cleantech North, Foresight Canada, Innovation Guelph and MaRS for helping us spread the word. You can register for the event here. If you’re interested in making a pitch, please apply here.
We are also planning a tour of Enbridge’s P2G and hydrogen blending facilities in June combined with a panel discussion (date TBA). Stay tuned!