Challenging Canadian governments to go even further to transition to a strong, clean economy, a new report makes recommendations on how this process can be accelerated.

The report entitled “New Thinking” was released by Sustainable Prosperity, a national economic think tank that draws on the advice of business leaders and economists to develop policy and market-based solutions in pursuit of a green and competitive economy.

The report recommends that Canada implement a national strategy to advance its clean-tech sector through policies, procurement standards, and practices that drive investment, research, and development such as Ontario has done for the water sector.

It also identifies best practices in harnessing economic instruments—such Ontario’s Green Bond program for financing clean infrastructure projects and stormwater pricing—to ensure economic success is aligned with environmental objectives.

The report states that, “Canada’s smart prosperity track record to date is mixed, boasting real success in some areas but lagging behind in others […] Canada’s resource wealth and highly skilled workforce offer significant potential for major strides in clean innovation. But achieving that potential requires a unifying vision and clear goals that guide meaningful, economy-wide progress.”

The report notes that countries like Israel and Australia have used stringent water-use policies to spur innovation and water conservation.

“We have two critical innovation opportunities in Canada right now. One is to enable our traditional industries to reinvent themselves in order to compete in a low-carbon economy. The second is to build capacity for the emerging clean-tech entrepreneurs, who are going to be the economic engines of this country,” wrote Annette Verschuren, member of Smart Prosperity and CEO of NRStor (and former CEO Home Depot Canada).

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“Using our water wisely isn’t just an environmental responsibility, it is also a growing global economic opportunity for Canada” said Stewart Elgie, co-chair of Smart Prosperity and Director of the Institute of Environment at University of Ottawa.

“Smart Prosperity means scaling up Canadian innovations in water treatment and management. These technologies, skills and policies will help Canada meet the demands of an increasingly water-stressed world,” he said.

The full report is available online.

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