Ontario companies urge government to set winning conditions to maximize
economic potential of sector
TORONTO, April 5 /CNW/ - Ontario needs bold new policies to encourage
greener economic development if it is to effectively compete in the
world economy in the coming years, according to a new report from the
province's environment and cleantech companies. Still Ready to Grow, a report released today at the Ontario Legislature by the Ontario
Environment Industry Association ("ONEIA"), finds that while provincial
policies are moving in the right direction, much more needs to be done
- and much more quickly - if Ontario is to keep up with its major
competitors around the world.
"Our province has a real opportunity to follow a path similar to
Germany, The Netherlands and China, which have become economic
powerhouses by embracing the clean, green economy," said Alex Gill,
Executive Director of ONEIA. "Failure to keep up with them could see
Ontario instead become a North American version of Argentina, which has
endured decades of economic decline as its economy failed to evolve and
became increasingly reliant on natural resources."
ONEIA defines the environment and cleantech sector as including
organizations or divisions of organizations based in Ontario whose
primary business is the production, provision or development of
products, technologies or services that are designed to produce
beneficial environmental outcomes. Still Ready to Grow follows up on ONEIA's landmark 2009 report, Ready to Grow, that looked at how the Ontario government can leverage the strengths
of these companies to foster growth.
Companies surveyed in the original Ready to Grow report sent a clear message, echoed in the new report that government
should not focus on public policies that support specific environmental
technologies, approaches or companies. Rather they recommended adopting
broader policies that support all companies in the sector to respond to
market needs, and to grow and compete.
"While the government-wide Open for Business program embodies the
'winning conditions' companies are looking for, other initiatives seem
to be looking for the 'next big thing'," said Gill. "This sends mixed
signals to businesses and, depending on the programs and levels of
support, may pit certain parts of the market against others."
In addition to concerns about how the province should set "winning
conditions", ONEIA's Still Ready to Grow recommends the following:
Accelerating the modernization of the approvals process within the
Ministry of the Environment
Undertaking a comprehensive green procurement program to support Ontario
clean tech businesses
Supporting research conducted by companies to support that done in
Supporting an industry-led bridge strategy that helps connect our
environment and cleantech firms with established players in the Ontario
The importance of the sector to the provincial economy cannot be
overemphasized. Federal statistics indicate that this sector already
employs 65,000 people in Ontario, working in some 3,000 companies that
generate $8 billion in revenues, including $1 billion in exports. The
world market for environmental and cleantech goods, services and
technology is estimated at $780 billion annually and is growing
rapidly, offering a significant opportunity for Ontario companies.
"As a significant and growing part of Ontario's 'next generation'
economy, it is important that our companies present their concerns to
government and begin a responsible public debate," said Robert Redhead,
ONEIA Chair. "While the province has made some important first steps to
support growth, much remains to be done. The future of the Ontario
economy and whether it is able to compete against global leaders
demands no less."
ONEIA is the business association for Ontario's environment industry.
The Association's members include environmental product, service and
technology companies, research institutes, universities and
governments. Through their innovation and experience in Ontario and
around the world, ONEIA's members provide market-driven solutions for
society's pressing environmental problems.
SOURCE Ontario Environment Industry Association
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