Canada needs a green industrial strategy to combat climate change: Report

October 25, 2022

OTTAWA—Canada’s efforts to combat climate change are coming up short because the country lacks a clear industrial policy, according to a new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

“Climate policy is often so focused on the things we need to stop doing—namely, burning fossil fuels—that it fails to articulate an alternative,” says Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood, CCPA senior researcher and co-author of Bet Big: A citizen’s guide to green industrial policy in Canada. “What workers and communities across the country want to know is: if not fossil fuels, then what?”

Green industrial policy refers to government efforts to reorganize the economy away from fossil fuels and toward strategic green industries, such as zero-emission vehicle manufacturing and renewable energy generation. Industrial policy includes public coordination, direct investment, subsidies and other measures that the market would not undertake on its own.

“Industrial policy is the bedrock of modern economies around the world, including Canada’s,” adds report co-author Noah Kathen. “The oil sands only exist today because of public investment and the support of Canadian governments over the past four decades. It’s high time we did the same for the green industries of the future.”

Drawing on a variety of Canadian and international case studies, Bet Big identifies key principles for a national green industrial policy in Canada. And it makes four recommendations to the federal government:

  • Articulate a clear economic mission for 2050;
  • Build a grassroots political consensus around the vision;
  • Develop a comprehensive green industrial strategy; and
  • Drive the industrial transformation with public money.

“Our governments’ reluctance to tackle fossil fuel production is clouding the vision of a climate-safe future,” says Mertins-Kirkwood. “To make matters worse, the current scale of public investment in green industries falls well short of what is necessary to achieve net-zero emissions.”

“Fortunately, it’s not too late to put Canada on the right path. With a clear goal, a smart plan and an ambitious budget, we can ensure a prosperous, sustainable and inclusive future in a net-zero world.”

Bet Big: A citizen’s guide to green industrial policy in Canada is available at


For more information, please contact: Amanda Klang, CCPA Senior Communications Specialist (Media & PR) at [email protected] or cell: 514 996 3515