Recent news focused on Canada's economy has largely centred on inflation and rising interest rates, which is unsettling to say the least. While much of the Government of Canada's attention is directed at resolving (what will hopefully only be short-term) economic uncertainty, government officials also remain committed to investing in the future, including cleantech.

In this regard, the 2022 Canadian Federal Budget allocated $28.2B to a variety of cleantech endeavours. The figure represents a sizeable increase over the 2021 Federal Budget, and is a promising step towards meeting Canada's 2050 net-zero targets. The Budget provides funding for several key cleantech areas, such as modular nuclear reactors, which can provide clean energy to Canada's remote communities; extraction of minerals critical to the development of electric vehicles and other clean technologies; and several initiatives focused on hydrogen-based technologies.

Other key cleantech funding initiatives outlined by the Budget are as follows:

Greener housing

  • $183.2M over seven years to conduct research and development on innovative construction materials, with hopes of creating low-carbon housing solutions.
  • $150M towards building code reform, with an emphasis on promoting the adoption of low carbon materials.

A greener economy

  • Launching the $15B Canada Growth Fund, which aims to attract private sector investment to help Canada meets its economic policy goals in a greener manner. The Fund "will accelerate the investment of private capital into decarbonization and clean technology projects; help to promote the diversification of Canada's economy; play a key role in helping to meet Canada's climate targets; and strengthen both Canada's economic resilience and capacity."

Agricultural innovation

  • $329M to triple the size of Canada's Agriculture Clean Technology Program, with the goal of prompting the creation of clean agriculture technologies.
  • $469.5M over six years to expand Agriculture Climate Solutions' On-Farm Climate Action Fund.

Green tax credits

  • New tax credits (up to 30%), with a focus on net-zero technologies, battery storage solutions, and clean hydrogen. The full details of the tax credit program will be released in the 2022 fall economic and fiscal update.

Green procurement

  • The federal government has more than $20B in purchasing requirements each year. The 2022 Budget proposes the Development of new tools, guidelines and targets to facilitate "green procurement" for Public Services and Procurement Canada.

Next steps

Even with significant government investment, it remains incumbent on Canadian private enterprise to develop and commercialize cleantech. Doing this requires Canadian businesses to implement an intellectual property (IP) strategy that will enable them to successfully compete on national and international stages. We discussed high-level strategic IP concerns and various funding sources available for scaling Canadian businesses in an earlier article, which can be found here. In particular, Canadian businesses should consider the following when developing an IP strategy:

  • An IP audit to assess their current inventory of IP, as well as identify IP best management practices;
  • A landscape search to determine how active competing businesses are in patenting their own technology;
  • A freedom-to-operate search to lower the likelihood that cleantech commercialization will result in getting sued for patent infringement; and
  • Patentability searches to determine the likelihood that inventions they may wish to protect will be found patentable.

Apart from the 2022 Federal Budget, government funding for scaling Canadian cleantech businesses, such as through NRC IRAP, may be available for IP strategy development.