Canadian heavy industry has a low-carbon competitive advantage yet lacks a plan to seize it: report

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, March 24, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As more and more countries pledge to reduce emissions, including Canada’s closest trading partners, the materials required to build a net-zero world are increasing in demand.

The good news is that many of Canada’s heavy industries—like steel, mining, cement, and wood—are lower carbon than their global peers, giving them a competitive advantage.

Already, heavy industries employ 300,000 Canadians, more than oil and gas, and with 127 countries around the world now working toward carbon neutrality, Canada’s comparatively clean sectors are ideally positioned to grow.

But to seize this significant opportunity, Canada needs a federal action plan for clean industry, concludes Clean Energy Canada’s new report, The Next Frontier. A competitive action plan would include:

  • using the clean products we produce in government infrastructure, thus increasing demand for Canada's clean goods;
  • a strategic focus on the materials Canada can competitively supply a rapidly transitioning global economy;
  • investment and support for these well-positioned industries;
  • and showcasing a new “Clean Canada” brand to the world.

The market signal is clear: the U.S.-Canada roadmap unveiled last month commits both countries to working together to cut emissions, while the U.K. released its own Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy earlier this month.

And while a Supreme Court ruling is expected this week regarding the federal carbon price, a clean industry action plan is where our focus should be, says Clean Energy Canada executive director Merran Smith: “We shouldn’t still be debating whether to fight climate change and modernize our economy—but rather how we do so in a way that plays to our strengths and ensures our long-term competitiveness.”

Report | The Next Frontier

Keri McNamara
Communications Specialist

Clean Energy Canada ( is a climate and energy think tank housed at the Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University. We work to accelerate our nation’s transition to a clean and renewable energy system.