Member Participation



All around the world, people are embracing innovation and the opportunities it brings – opportunities to rethink everything from how we build our cities, to how we grow our economy. Innovation can do more than just drive strong economic growth. It also has the potential to solve the big challenges that face Canadians and their communities.

Innovation and clean technologies are key components of the Government of Canada’s approach to promoting sustainable economic growth and will play a crucial role in Canada’s transformation into a low-carbon economy. Investing in the research, development and demonstration (RD&D) of new clean energy technologies accelerates the innovation required to bring these technologies closer to commercialization.

Through its participation in Mission Innovation, the Government of Canada aims to:

  • Double federal investment in clean energy research and development over five years, from C$387 million in 2014-2015 to C$775 million by 2019-2020;
  • Encourage private sector investment in early-stage clean energy innovation companies in Canada; and
  • Increase domestic and international collaboration to advance Mission Innovation goals.

“Canada is proud to be a partner in this ambitious global initiative. By working together, we will deliver real benefits for our environment while also strengthening our economy, including through the creation of more middle class jobs.

A strong economy and healthy environment go hand-in-hand, and we are committed to leaving our children and grandchildren with a more sustainable and prosperous country. Mission Innovation will tap into the vast economic opportunities of our environment by helping to create the growth and jobs Canadians need.”

– Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

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Doubling Canada’s federal funding for energy research, development and demonstration (RD&D) requires a whole of government approach. Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) plays a leadership role in federal RD&D activities as a funder, through the Office of Energy Research and Development, and performer, through its CanmetENERGY and CanmetMATERIALS laboratories.

In carrying out its activities, NRCan works in collaboration with many other departments, agencies and federally-funded, arms-length organizations. In all, 18 federal organizations fund energy RD&D, with the following organizations accounting for over 90 percent of the Government of Canada’s energy RD&D spending in 2015-2016:

  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Atomic Energy of Canada Limited
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • Sustainable Development Technology Canada; and
  • National Research Council

The remaining federal investment in energy RD&D is shared between thirteen organizations: Canada Foundation for Innovation, Transport Canada, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Western Economic Diversification, Agriculture and Agri-foods Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Defence Research and Development Canada, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, Genome Canada, and Polar Canada.

Canada’s federal energy RD&D investments target greenhouse gas reductions in Canada’s five highest emitting sectors:

  • Electricity generation
  • Transportation
  • Buildings
  • Oil and gas
  • Emissions-intensive industries (e.g., cement, chemicals, iron and steel)

Baseline and Progress

Canada’s baseline of C$387 million is based on federal energy RD&D expenditures as identified in the International Energy Agency’s Survey of Energy RD&D Expenditures. The baseline is composed of reported federal expenditures for fiscal year 2014-15 of Natural Resources Canada and 14 other federal departments, agencies and organizations.

In 2015-16, Canadian federal departments, agencies and organizations increased their energy RD&D expenditures by 24% relative to the baseline year (2014-15). In all, 18 federal organizations reported expenditures of C$479M. This increase was largely driven by capital investments in research infrastructure at Canada’s national nuclear laboratories, as well as the construction of first-of-kind large demonstration-scale facilities for the production of next-generation renewable fuels.


Since the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris, the Government of Canada has moved quickly to take the necessary steps to begin implementation of its Mission Innovation commitment.

Over the past year, the Government of Canada has implemented several targeted clean energy programs announced in Budget 2016, including to support RD&D of clean energy technologies; to reduce GHG emissions from the oil and gas sector; to advance technology for charging electric vehicles; to advance clean technology projects that address climate change, air quality, clean water, and clean soil; and to enhance regional development agencies’ support for clean technology development. Investments in these initiatives are expected to total around $280 million over two to four years. The Government of Canada has also committed investments of $800 million over five years to revitalize infrastructure at Chalk River Laboratories – Canada’s largest science and technology complex – some of which will fund important clean energy infrastructure such as the Harriet Brooks Building, a state-of-the-art nuclear materials and process research facility named after Canada’s first female nuclear physicist.

In December 2016, the Government of Canada signed a Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change with provinces and territories, which will serve as the basis for action to meet or exceed Canada’s 2030 emissions targets and transition Canada to a stronger, more resilient low-carbon economy. Accelerating innovation to support clean technologies and create jobs was a key pillar of the Framework, alongside pricing carbon pollution, complementary measures to further reduce emissions, and measures to adapt to the impacts of climate change and build resilience.

Going forward, the Government of Canada has announced significant spending to deliver on the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change and to boost the growth of Canada’s clean technology sector:

  • $400 million over 5 years to support projects across Canada to develop and demonstrate new clean technologies that promote sustainable development, including those that address environmental issues such as climate change.
  • $229 million over 4 years to continue R&D activities through existing clean energy and clean transportation innovation programming.
  • $200 million over 4 years to support clean technology research, and the development, demonstration and adoption of clean technology in Canada’s natural resources sectors.
  • $75 million over 4 years for a new mission- or “challenge”-based approach to accelerate efforts toward solving Canada’s big challenges, such as helping Canada’s rural and remote communities reduce their reliance on diesel as a power source.

Canada also plans to invest $21.9 billion over the next 11 years in green infrastructure, including through bilateral agreements with provinces and territories, through the creation of a Canada Infrastructure Bank, and through a series of national programs that support clean technology demonstrations.

The Government of Canada is also working to increase domestic and international collaboration to advance Mission Innovation goals. Domestically, under the Canadian Energy Strategy (CES), provincial and territorial Ministers have welcomed the collaboration of the federal government in the areas of energy technology and innovation, energy efficiency and energy delivery. As part of an annual Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference, to be held in August 2017, federal, provincial and territorial governments are exploring opportunities for collaboration in clean technology, and enhancing partnerships and collaboration on international energy issues, including opportunities to enhance provincial and territorial engagement in Mission Innovation.

Underpinning these domestic efforts is “Generation Energy”, a national dialogue on Canada’s path to a low-carbon future recently launched by the Minister of Natural Resources. The dialogue invites all Canadians to share their ideas and participate in helping to define Canada’s energy future, ultimately leading to the development of an approach focused on how the federal government can work with the provinces and territories to create the affordable energy and innovative jobs Canadians want.

Internationally, the Government of Canada continues to explore opportunities for collaboration with international partners. We have a strong history of collaboration with our North American neighbours. In February 2017, Canada’s Prime Minister and the President of the United States issued a joint statement noting close cooperation in the area of clean energy innovation. Canada also works with the United States and Mexico in a trilateral context framed by a Memorandum of Understanding Concerning Climate Change and Energy Collaboration that was signed in Winnipeg on February 12, 2016. In June, 2016, Canada, the United States, and Mexico recognized Mission Innovation as a key initiative to accelerate clean energy innovation in a leader’s statement on a North American Climate, Clean Energy, and Environment Partnership.

Other key Mission Innovation country partners with whom Canada also collaborates include China, South Korea and India. On February 25, 2016, a Joint Declaration on Canada-China Clean Technology Cooperation was signed in Ottawa. On September 1, 2016, as part of Prime Minister Trudeau’s first official visit to China, Canada and China announced their intention to establish a working group under the Joint Declaration on Clean Technology. At its inaugural meeting in Ottawa on May 17, 2017, the Canada-China Clean Technology Working Group agreed on a Terms of Reference and identified technology areas for collaboration. Canada is also collaborating with China on a nuclear energy cooperation Work Plan under a Memorandum of Understanding signed November 8, 2014. Natural Resources Canada signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Innovation and Energy Technologies with the Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on March 3, 2016 at the GLOBE Summit in Vancouver. On September 9, 2016, Natural Resources Canada released a Joint Statement on Enhancing the Canada-India Energy Dialogue in collaboration with India’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. Together, these instruments frame bilateral laboratory, regulatory, government, and industry engagement to meet a variety of clean energy research, policy development, and trade objectives.

Finally, Canada also participates alongside Mission Innovation members in multilateral fora to promote clean energy solutions, exchange information and expertise, and advance technological development. These fora include, among others, the Clean Energy Ministerial, the International Energy Agency, the Nuclear Energy Agency, and the Generation IV International Forum.

Baseline and Doubling Plans

  • Country-Determined Baseline Year(s): FY 2014-15
  • Baseline Funding Amount: CAD $387 million (USD $295 million)
  • Doubling Target-Year: FY 2019-20
  • Doubling Target Amount: CAD $775 million (USD $590 million)

Methodology for Determining Baseline

Based on federal energy RD&D expenditures as identified in the International Energy Agency’s Survey of Energy RD&D Expenditures. The baseline is composed of reported federal expenditures for fiscal year 2014-15 of Natural Resources Canada and 14 other federal departments, agencies and organizations. Of these 15 federal contributors to the Mission Innovation baseline, the following six organizations constituted over 90% of Government of Canada spending on energy RD&D:

  • Through collaboration with academia, industry and other governmental partners, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) is a performer and a funder of research, development and technology demonstrations to find innovation solutions to environmental challenges in the energy sector.
  • With a focus on discovery research and innovation, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) facilitates partnerships between Canada’s universities, colleges and industry, and the training of Canada’s next generation of scientists and engineers.
  • Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), a federal Crown corporation responsible for enabling nuclear science and technology at its nuclear laboratories through a Government-owned, Contractor-operated model.
  • As a federally-funded, arms-length organization focused on technology development and demonstration, Sustainable Development Technology Canada works to bring economically viable clean technologies closer to market.
  • The National Research Council is a national research and technology organization that works with clients and partners to provide innovation support, strategic research, and scientific and technical services.
  • Through investments in research infrastructure – including state-of-the-art equipment, databases, and laboratories – the Canada Foundation for Innovation allows researchers to push the boundaries of knowledge, explore the unknown and generate exciting outcomes that benefit humankind.

The remaining federal investment in energy RD&D is shared between nine organizations: Transport Canada, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Western Economic Diversification, Agriculture and Agri-foods Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Defence Research and Development Canada, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, and the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Country-Definition of Clean Energy R&D Investment

The research, development, and demonstration of technologies that provide solutions covering the span of energy supply (e.g., fossil fuels, wind, bioenergy, nuclear), energy transmission (e.g., smart grid, energy storage), and energy use (e.g., buildings, transportation); as well as solutions that improve operational performance or process efficiency, while reducing energy use, waste or environmental pollution.

Federal investments are implemented through a number of mechanisms including: cost-shared projects with the private sector that often leverage provincial and territorial funding programs, research and development activities at National Laboratories and Research Centers, and grants to universities.

Overview of Clean Energy R&D Focus Areas Emphasized in Mission Innovation Portfolio

Industry & buildings


Vehicles & other transportation


Bio-based fuels & energy


Solar, wind & other renewables


Nuclear energy


Hydrogen & fuel cells


Cleaner fossil energy


CO2 capture, utilization & storage


Electricity grid


Energy storage


Basic energy research


Indicators are for key areas of Mission Innovation R&D investment but do not imply a comprehensive representation of a country’s full R&D portfolio.