As global competitors vie for dominance in critical net-zero industries where Canada is well-positioned to lead, the country must act urgently to position itself for economic success or risk the jobs and long-term prosperity that Canadians depend on.
This was the core message of a media briefing event hosted by Ivey Foundation, a leading foundation focused on supporting Canada’s transition to a net-zero economy, which took place yesterday in Ottawa.
The event featured a panel of net-zero policy experts and industry association leaders who highlighted the threat to the long-term competitiveness of major Canadian industries if urgent action isn’t taken. The briefing drew attention to the need for increased media coverage and a national conversation on this pressing issue.
“The climate crisis has rightfully received ample media attention in recent years, raising awareness of extreme weather events, biodiversity loss, and the need to achieve our greenhouse gas emission reduction targets,” said panel moderator Bruce Lourie, president of Ivey Foundation. “We are shining a light on an equally urgent matter – the threat to Canada’s economy and competitiveness if we fail to seize the opportunities in the net-zero industries of the future.”
The expert panel highlighted industrial competitiveness as central to Canada’s transition to a net-zero economy; along with the need for collaborative planning among governments, industry, investors, Indigenous peoples and other stakeholders.
“Canada’s trading partners and competitors are using industrial strategies to position their economies in net-zero supply chains where Canada could lead,” said Bentley Allan, research director at The Transition Accelerator and Associate Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. “Canada has what it takes to prosper in the global net-zero economy, but we must act now and take a strategic approach to align climate objectives with economic growth and diversification.”
“Industrial competitiveness must be a key consideration of Canada’s climate strategy as we transition to a net zero economy. Canada must recognize the urgency by creating the best possible investment climate through incentives, predictable requirements, and affordable clean energy sources,” said Catherine Cobden, president and CEO of the Canadian Steel Producers Association. “It is also imperative that we address the significant amount of carbon intensive steel coming into Canada on a daily basis. Canada’s steel industry produces the greenest steel in the world, but we cannot remain competitive if carbon leakage continues at today’s pace.”
“Canada has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a zero-emission vehicle industry, re-envisioning our industrial future,” said Matthew Fortier, president and CEO at Accelerate. “Now is the time for industry and government to frame the strategic approach together, setting out economic and job targets in the mining, battery and manufacturing sectors and laying out action and investment plans to meet those targets. Getting this right will mean securing Canada’s future in the global zero-emission vehicle industry.”
Some of Canada’s leading voices on the transition to a net-zero economy were in attendance, including: Canadian Climate Institute, The Transition Accelerator, Efficiency Canada, Institute for Sustainable Finance, Smart Prosperity Institute, National Farmers Union, Accelerate, Canada’s Zero-Emission Vehicle Supply Chain Alliance, and SeedChange.