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A resilient recovery: an open letter from Canada’s clean energy sector

OTTAWA — As the conversation in Canada shifts from immediate relief to economic recovery, new questions will arise: what does recovery look like, and how do we design stimulus that delivers secure jobs in a cleaner, innovative and diverse economy?

Done right, the federal government’s stimulus and recovery efforts can create jobs, spur cleantech innovation, encourage economic diversification, cut both carbon pollution and illness-causing air pollution, and ultimately make Canada a more resilient country.

On Friday, April 3, industry and non-profit leaders representing Canada’s clean energy sector—including renewable power, energy efficiency, cleantech, advanced biofuels and electric transportation—submitted an open letter to Prime Minister Trudeau on the need for clean-energy-focused stimulus in order to build a better, more resilient economy.

You can read the letter here. It emphasizes three overarching recommendations:

  1. To signal climate policy continuity and enhancement.
  2. To invest in sufficient, sustained and sustainable stimulus.
  3. And to move quickly to support clean energy solutions, Canadian cleantech innovation and businesses by expanding existing initiatives and programs.

In particular, the letter says, “investment in economic diversification must place special attention on the regions that need it most and that have seen record layoffs.”

The clean energy sector employs 298,000 Canadians in a wide range of jobs: insulating homes, developing clean technologies, manufacturing electric vehicles, building and maintaining wind, solar and hydro projects, producing renewable fuels—these are just a few examples. Independent modelling has found that, by 2030, Canada’s clean energy sector will employ 559,400 Canadians, thanks in part to climate policies and programs spurring a clean energy growth rate four times the Canadian average.

The energy transition is also enhancing competitiveness and creating new opportunities in other sectors of the economy. These include jobs in low-carbon concrete, steel and aluminum, sustainably produced mass timber, and mining the metals and minerals used in many clean technologies.

In short, a clean recovery creates winners across the country and across the economy. Organizations that support the letter are listed below. Read the letter here.

SIGNATORIES

Merran Smith, Executive Director, Clean Energy Canada, Simon Fraser University

Anne-Raphaëlle Audouin, President & CEO, WaterPower Canada

Robert Hornung, President, Canadian Wind Energy Association

Wesley Johnston, President and CEO, Canadian Solar Industries Association 

Daniel Breton, President and CEO, Electric Mobility Canada 

Corey Diamond, Executive Director, Efficiency Canada

Ian Thomson, President, Advanced Biofuels Canada

Julia Langer, CEO, The Atmospheric Fund

Jacob Malthouse, Canada Cleantech Alliance

Jeanette Jackson, CEO, Foresight Cleantech Accelerator

Denis Leclerc, President and CEO, Écotech Québec

Maike Althaus, Executive Director, Ontario Clean Technology Industry Association