The environmental industry in Canada consists of approximately 8500 firms. Small firms (SME’s) form the majority of environmental companies (96 percent), and the industry is spread across Canada.
Environmental Industries sector in Canada
Canada’s environmental industry is valued at C$29 billion and employs approximately 251,000
people. While the industry is highly fragmented, environmental practitioners make up the
majority, representing around 166,000 (66 per cent).
Global demand for sustainable environmental technologies is rising due to concerns about clean
water, clean air, the effects of industry on the environment and climate change. The
Environmental Industries sector in Canada is well placed to take advantage of increased demand
As a result, Canada’s environmental industry will continue to grow.
The environmental industry in Canada consists of approximately 8500 firms. Small firms
(SME’s) form the majority of environmental companies (96 percent), and the industry is spread
ξ Ontario (43.4%)
ξ Quebec (18.8%)
ξ Alberta (15.2%)
ξ British Columbia (12.5%)
ξ Manitoba/Saskatchewan (4.8%)
ξ Atlantic Canada (4.9%)
ξ Territories (0.2%).
Between 1999 and 2003, the Canadian environmental workforce grew by 13.7% - 60 percent
faster than the growth of the Canadian workforce as a whole, and it continues to be one of the
strongest growing sectors today. Canadian firms generate exports worth more than $1.5 billion
per year. US and EU markets are the most attractive to Canadian companies.
The Canadian Federal Government has implemented various regulation related to the
environmental sector, however, Provincial Governments are more active than the Federal
Government and have demonstrated commitments to innovation and actions to address Climate
Change. This affects both the environmental and clean technology sectors. There is a keen
interest amongst some provinces to become the “go to” jurisdiction for clean
technology/environmental industries with Ontario and British Columbia (BC) at the forefront.
However, each province has varying strengths due to unique geography and legislation
Although all levels of government are responsible and involved to some extent with water,
wastewater, waste and recycling, ownership and major responsibilities fall to municipal
governments. As is elsewhere, one of the significant drivers of the water and wastewater markets
in Canada is previous underinvestment in infrastructure spending. The Canadian Federal
Government has committed $33 billion to infrastructure spending between 2007 and 2014.
Air quality policy in Canada is managed at all levels of government. Overall, air pollution in
Canada is monitored and managed well. Recent data shows that Canadians currently experience
significantly better air quality than any other time since the 1970’s. However, niche opportunities
may exist in high emitting sectors.
Each of Canada’s provinces and territories differ geographically, demographically, culturally and
has a diverse set of resources. Provinces/territories have competency on energy efficiency,
transport, education and have control of their own natural resources. For these reasons, it is better
to view each province/geographic area as a separate market and opportunities will vary
Water and Wastewater
ξ The Canadian Federal Government has committed $33 billion to infrastructure spending
between 2007 and 2014.
ξ Canadian firms believe that municipal wastewater treatment plants and water utilities
represent their best prospects for growth.
ξ Ontario is providing significant support for municipal water and wastewater infrastructure,
including over $400 million in funding $1.2 billion in financing for projects.
ξ Ontario Small Waterworks Assistance Program - $40 million for small municipalities and
local service boards for water system upgrades.
ξ British Columbia and the Metro Vancouver area have an interest in innovative
technologies such as heat recovery technologies from wastewater.
ξ Alberta’s Oil and Gas industry provide opportunities in process water reuse and tailings
ξ There is interest across Canada in waste-to-energy technologies, and many new projects
and pilot projects have recently been developed using these technologies.
ξ There are opportunities in Canada in the reduction of construction and demolition waste
ξ British Columbia offers opportunities in biomass from wood waste which is produced
from its large forestry industry; the province has a $25 million fund available to bio-energy
ξ The top emitters of air pollutants in Canada include electricity and heating, industrial
activities, the oil and gas industry, transport and agriculture.
ξ The provinces with the highest emission levels in 2010 were Alberta, Quebec and Ontario.
For further information related to the environmental sector in Canada, the Canada Cleantech
Newsletter has up to date information. Please email us if you wish to be added to our distribution
list to receive future issues.
Latest export opportunities in the Environment and Water sector
Latest export opportunities in Canada
Getting into the market
Various routes are available to British companies looking to gain access to the Canadian
ξ Supplying directly to customers/end-users
ξ In-market representation through intermediaries like distributors and manufacturers’
ξ Partnerships/strategic alliances
ξ Establishing a local presence
More about doing business in Canada
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke
market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market
Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists
in country - or contact your local international trade team.
ξ Sarah Soetopo, British Consulate-General, Vancouver. Tel: +1 (604) 683 4421, ext 2208
or email: email@example.com.
Contact your local international trade team
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to
overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.
Latest events in the Environment and Water sector
Canadian Waste & Recycling Expo
Date: 14-15 November 2012
Website address: http://www.cwre.ca/
Date: 19-21 March 2013
Website address: http://americana.org/Home
Vancouver, British Columbia
Date: 26-28 March 2014
Website address: http://2012.globeseries.com/
More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters