Canada's New Economic Engine

Modelling Canada’s EV battery supply chain potential—and how best to seize it

Key Takeaways

  • If Canada plays its cards right, it has the potential to build a domestic EV battery supply chain that could support up to 250,000 jobs by 2030 and add $48 billion to the Canadian economy annually. Tweet this
  • Jobs in Canada's battery supply chain are dependant on swift government action. In a scenario where no additional government action is taken, the supply chain would create just 60,000 jobs and contribute only $12 billion in GDP—fulfilling only about a quarter of both its jobs and GDP potential. Tweet this
  • The report identifies six ways in which Canada should focus its efforts to fulfill its battery-building potential. While Canada could do it all, a more effective strategy would double down on a few key stages, such as EV assembly, battery cell manufacturing, clean battery materials production. Tweet this

Executive Summary

Batteries are evolving. No longer just something that needs changing in your TV remote, batteries are fast becoming the engines of the global economy.

In a decade’s time, a battery will likely power your car or the electricity grid that lights your home. Perhaps the biggest opportunity lies in electric vehicles. The battery is the most valuable part of an EV, and by 2030, the International Energy Agency predicts we could see a hundred times more EVs on the road than there were in 2020.

If Canada plays its cards right, it has the potential to build a domestic EV battery supply chain that could support up to 250,000 jobs by 2030 and add $48 billion to the Canadian economy annually.

That’s according to new modelling from Clean Energy Canada and the Trillium Network for Advanced Manufacturing, which explores how Canada can build out its battery supply chain and the economic potential of this industry.14 Across the four scenarios developed, the results are clear: the more Canada goes big on batteries, the more jobs and economic benefits await.

Those quarter-million jobs would be found across the country: from the geologist exploring for copper deposits in B.C., to the engineer developing battery testing equipment in Nova Scotia, to the worker assembling electric vehicles in Ontario. And with the introduction of the U.S.’s new EV tax credit—requiring that a proportion of EV battery parts are sourced from North America and battery minerals are sourced from U.S. allies— Canada has a huge and guaranteed market right next door.

But despite some solid investments, the success of Canada’s EV battery supply chain—and the hundreds of thousands of future jobs it could support—is still largely dependent on swift government action. In fact, in a scenario where no additional government action is taken, Canada’s battery supply chain would create just 60,000 jobs and contribute only $12 billion in GDP—fulfilling only about a quarter of both its jobs and GDP potential.

Resting on our laurels isn’t a good option. To realize this battery-building vision, Canada needs to be smart about where it focuses its efforts. The EV battery supply chain involves nine stages, from mining raw battery minerals, to assembling EVs, to recycling battery materials. And while Canada could do it all, a more effective strategy would double down on a few key stages where the opportunity is greatest.

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