3 Technology Development

Download the Report

Technology development will be critical both in addressing climate change and in supporting long-term economic growth. When Canadian companies develop new or improved technologies—such as innovative fuels, materials, or software—they provide better and cheaper options for businesses adopting technologies (Indicator #4) and new sources of economic growth and jobs. At the same time, these innovations can ultimately improve resilience and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, both in Canada and internationally.

Headline Indicator #3: GDP of Environmental and Clean Technology Products

To measure low-carbon technology development, we use Statistics Canada data on environmental and clean technology (ECT) products as an estimate of goods and services sold by Canadian companies (Figure 3.1). An increasing contribution of these technologies over time would be a measure of cleaner growth. In 2018, the sector represented around three per cent of Canada’s GDP ($66 billion in 2018 dollars, or $60 billion in 2012 dollars). 

ECT products include any process, product, technology, or service that: a) prevents, reduces, or eliminates pollution and environmental degradation; b) makes natural resource extraction more efficient; or c) makes industries less energy or resource intensive relative to the industry standard. This includes environmental products such as low-carbon electricity, biofuels, and recycling services, as well as clean technology manufactured goods, waste and scrap goods, and clean technology services (Statistics Canada, 2019).1

  1. The ECT product database is developed by tagging economic activities spread across a range of other sectors already captured in traditional metrics of GDP (usually allocated to industries using the North American Industry Classification System). Since there is no classified clean technology sector, this approach is the only way to get a full picture of environmentally related economic activity.