Reducing carbon emissions and creating a sustainable low-carbon economy are top priorities for provincial governments across Canada. While some provinces have taken more ambitious steps than others, all provinces and territories are beginning to shape the future of climate change legislation, and with it, a series of new incentives for businesses ‘going green’.
Ontario and Alberta are among the provinces leading the way when it comes to creating new partnerships and incentives for innovative green technologies (greentech) and clean technologies (cleantech). While each offer their own unique solutions to create a low-carbon economy, they are also working together to form new research and development partnerships.
The newest of these partnerships will feature the collaboration of the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) and Alberta’s Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC). These groups will work together to accelerate the development of new cleantech funding initiatives while seeking ways that businesses can collaborate with post-secondary research institutions.
How Greentech Advancements will be Assisted by the OCE and CCEMC Partnership
To date, the two organizations have only released a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), however the explicit missions of each party detail what can be expected from this announcement.
Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Connects Businesses to Student Researchers
OCE is a publicly funded organization that supports the research, development, and commercialization of innovative technologies. The group works with industry partners to provide research grants for technology projects that incorporate student researchers from the province’s universities, colleges, and research hospitals.
The partnerships created by OCE ensure that Ontario businesses can access leading research facilities and talent, while also providing valuable experience to student researchers. This approach seeks to eliminate talent gaps in the workforce while commercializing new technologies at an accelerated pace.
Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC) Accelerates Greentech Innovations
CCEMC is an Alberta-based not-for-profit organization that was formed to accelerate Alberta’s progress towards becoming a low-carbon economy. The group supports the strategic direction of Alberta’s climate change initiatives, which includes receiving funding from heavy industry polluters and investing those funds into businesses researching and developing green technologies. These activities help CCEMC to enhance Canada’s innovation ecosystem.
The organization also supports other not-for-profits and associations across Canada who actively support a low-carbon economy. CCEMC’s vast network of financers supporting cleantech development and matchmaking services that can help businesses commercialize their innovations more quickly.
Greentech Funding Provided through Carbon Taxes and Cap and Trade Initiatives
Provinces across Canada are steadily implementing carbon taxes and cap and trade policies to raise funding in support of innovative technology development. Ontario and Alberta are two provinces using these programs, each in their own way.
Alberta’s carbon taxing system sets a limit on the amount of carbon dioxide may emit over an annual basis. Heavy polluters who surpass this level have a variety of options to pay for their polluting, which includes paying into a Climate Change Emissions Management Fund. This fund is used by government officials to create new green technology research and development incentives that will improve energy efficiency and reduce future emissions.
Alternately, Ontario’s proposed cap and trade system seeks to provide certain allowances, or ‘caps’ on an industry-by-industry basis throughout the province. In this model, heavy polluters will need to purchase cap space, as required, from the government or other businesses who do not pollute as much. This system, already implemented by Québec, will provide a market for businesses to sell cap space to raise money for innovative R&D or other strategic initiatives.
Small Business Funding for Research in Greentech
All levels of Canadian government have begun their shift towards embracing a low-carbon economy. This provides new opportunities for businesses that are committed to researching, developing, and commercializing energy efficient technologies. Canadian government grants are steadily shifting towards this innovative mindset and will continue to provide a variety of funding programs for business. Some of these programs include:
- IRAP ARP: IRAP’s Accelerated Review Process (ARP) research grants provide funding for businesses overcoming an internal technical challenge. Up to $50,000 is available to offset the costs of direct labour and contractors performing research or engineering-oriented tasks
- IRAP Mid-Size Projects: Similar to IRAP ARP, IRAP Mid-Size projects involve research and development activities that lead to the creation of innovative products, services, or processes. Up to 65% of internal labour costs may be recovered to a maximum of $500,000 in government grants per project.
- Canadian International Innovation Program (CIIP): CIIP focuses on creating international research and development partnerships between Canadian businesses and global research partners in Brazil, China, India, Israel, and South Korea. Businesses may receive up to 50% of eligible expenses to a maximum $600,000 in government grants.
- SD Tech Fund: Companies researching green technologies, sustainable energy generation, and waste management solutions may be eligible for up to 33% of eligible project expenses. SD Tech provides Canadian government grants valued between $200,000 and $15,000,000 for R&D projects that typically span 2-3 years in length.
- R&D Project Hiring Grants: Canadian businesses can host a post-secondary or post-graduate researcher for 4-month internships or 12-month fellowships. Businesses may receive up to $10,000 in grant funding per internship or $35,000 per fellowship provided.
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