Canada’s Intellectual Property Firm

Canada Spending More on Clean Technologies than Ever Before

Authored byChristine Wong and Giselle Chin

The Canadian federal budget is not often of interest to the clean technology or intellectual property communities. However, this year, clean technology IP is a focal point. The federal government dropped the 2022 Federal Budget (Budget 2022) in Ottawa on April 7, unveiling billions in spending focused on housing, national defence, and notably, climate change. This comes on the heels of their 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan (the 2030 ERP) unveiled at the end of March. To achieve Canada’s net-zero emissions targets, both documents highlight the ongoing urgent need for innovative climate technologies across all sectors. To that end, entities engaging in clean technology development may have access to a larger government pot than ever before.

Building on previous investments, Budget 2022 proposes to provide $96.6 million over five years, and $22.9 million onwards, to bolster Canada’s intellectual property regime. Among other things, the proposals includes $47.8 million over five years, and $20.1 million onwards, to launch a new national lab-to-market platform to help graduate students and researchers take their work to market. $35 million over five years is earmarked for the CanExport program, run by Global Affairs Canada, to help Canadian businesses break into, and secure their intellectual property in, foreign markets through international partnerships. Another $2.4 million over five years, and $0.6 million ongoing, is proposed to expand use of ExploreIP, an online resource for businesses to explore possible licensing and collaboration opportunities with public sector patent holders.

The Low Carbon Economy Fund is proposed in the 2030 ERP to be expanded through a $2.2 billion renewal, a portion from which businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and public-sector entities can apply for funding for eligible green project expenditures. Since 2017, the Canadian government has invested over $2 billion through the Fund to support the innovation, commercialization and adoption of clean technology. The renewed Low Carbon Economy Fund includes a new $180 million Indigenous Leadership Fund that is slated to support clean energy and energy efficiency projects led by First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities and organizations.

For those working in the electric vehicle sectors, you’ll be pleased to know that Budget 2022 and the 2030 ERP also set out $400 million in additional funding for zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) charging stations and $500 million in ZEV charging and refueling infrastructure. The objective is to add 50,000 ZEV chargers to Canada’s network. A further $1.7 billion is proposed to extend the Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles (iZEV) program to further increase consumer demand for new electric light-duty vehicles.

Other green features include new tax incentives for businesses investments with a focus on net-zero technologies, battery storage solutions, clean hydrogen, and air source heat pumps. Funding will also continue to further develop small modular nuclear reactor technology, for carbon capture, utilization, and storage tax credits, and for grid modernization projects.

Existing investments in clean technologies, and their associated IP, already appear to be bearing fruit. In 2022, 13 Canadian companies were named to the Global Cleantech 100 list, more than any other country (except the United States). This is an improvement from the 5 Canadian companies that were named to the Global Cleantech 100 list in 2014. The fields in which the 13 companies operate are diverse. Four relate to carbon capture technologies, two relate to innovative energy storage, and the rest are in the fields of electrification of heavy-duty vehicles, hydrogen production, fusion power, remote greenhouse gas sensing, digital mining, smart grids, and waste water treatment.

As recognized by the federal government, fostering innovation through new inventions is required for Canada’s climate strategy to succeed. Patents play an integral role in these innovation-heavy fields by allowing inventors to protect their inventions, both domestically and abroad. The Canadian Government’s financial commitment to encourage clean technological development and deployment, and the Canadian Patent Office’s fast-track patenting process, makes patenting green innovations in Canada more financially and logistically viable than ever.