This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 12/14/2018


The environmental technologies sector covers a large variety of processes and activities across the Canadian economy. Such technologies are generally categorized by the environmental media they are designed to protect or provide: air, water, and soil. They generally include industrial goods and services that:
  • Foster environmental protection and physical resource efficiency in industrial settings;
  • Generate compliance with environmental regulations;
  • Prevent or mitigate pollution;
  • Manage or reduce waste streams;
  • Remediate contaminated sites;
  • Design, develop, and operate environmental infrastructure; and
  • Afford the provision and delivery of environmental resources.
The Canadian regulatory framework is coordinated from the federal level by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Canada (Environment Canada). The ministry’s mandate is to coordinate policies and programs and to preserve and protect the quality of the natural environment. The Ministry also administers the compliance of products with applicable regulations. Provincial governments develop and enforce policies, regulations, legislation, and standards.

The Canadian environmental technologies sector, including a complexity of goods, services, and other intangible components such as Intellectual Property (IP), has an overall annual value of several billion U.S. dollars. The actual installations, equipment, and components include a large variety of product groups such as electric motors, generators, mechanical machinery, process controls, and ICT systems that are classified into various sectors.

The market size evaluation in this report is focused on product categories specific to the environment, including filtering and purification machinery and apparatus and the surveying instrumentation and apparatus for atmospheric, hydrographic, and geophysical purposes (HS842121, HS842129, HS842139, HS842199, HS9015, HS9025, and HS9026).

The total value of Canadian imports for this market was US$2.8 billion in 2017. Approximately 63 percent of these imports originated from the United States. Canada’s environmental technologies sector also has a strong domestic manufacturing base, which is highly integrated in international trade by supplying foreign markets.

The table below provides statistics for the Canadian market for filtering and purification machinery and apparatus and all surveying instrumentation and apparatus for atmospheric, hydrographic, and geophysical purposes, in US$.

Table: Canada Environmental Technology Data (US$ Millions)
 2015201620172018 (Estimated)
Total Local Production3,3173,2523,4423,501
Total Exports1,7791,6831,7471,928
Total Imports2,9612,9442,7952,976
Imports from the US1,8331,7041,7621,866
Total Market Size4,4984,5134,4914,549
(total market size = (total local production + imports) - exports)

Leading Sub-Sectors

The following environmental technology sub-sectors are those expected to offer the best opportunities for U.S. exporters.  The 2017 Canadian import dollar value is listed in parentheses where available:
  • Surveying, Hydrographic, Oceanographic, Meterorological or Geophysical Instruments (US$225 million)
  • Thermometers, Pyrometers, Barometers, Hydrometers and Other Measuring Equipment (US$151 million)
  • Instruments and Apparatus For Measuring or Checking Variables of Liquids or Gases (US$679 million)
  • New Tertiary Membrane Treatment Plants
  • Chlorine Tanks
  • Upgrades to Secondary and Tertiary Treatment Facilities
  • UV Disinfection Systems


The Canadian government estimates that US$10 billion (C$13 billion) is required in investment toward modernization over the next 30 years. One in every four wastewater treatment plants needs upgrades to comply with the 2012 Systems Effluent Regulations. More than 800 wastewater treatment plants require upgrade. High-risk systems are required to meet standards by 2020, medium-risk by 2030, and low-risk by 2040.

The federal and provincial governments implemented significant air, water, and soil pollution limits, which are important drivers for the market. In addition, governments have support programs for environmental technologies.

In January 2018, the Government of Canada announced that it would invest C$700 million (US$532 million) in clean technology innovation over the next five years, in an effort to grow the industry, protect the environment, and increase the number of jobs. This is part of its 2017 budget, which allocated over C$2.3 billion (US$1.8 billion) for clean technologies – the largest public investment ever pledged to this industry in Canada.

In December 2016, a Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change was adopted by the provincial Premiers and the Prime Minster of Canada outlining critical actions for growing the economy while reducing GHG emissions.

Most wastewater systems in Canada are owned and operated by municipalities, and best prospects usually fall within a municipal jurisdiction. Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia are top provinces for projects. Municipal water treatment spending in Canada is expected to see significant growth. Wastewater treatment is a category supported by the Provincial-Territorial Base Fund, the Green Infrastructure Fund, the Gas Tax Fund, and the Building Canada Fund.

  • Lions Gate Secondary Wastewater Treatment Plant - C$700 million, North Vancouver, BC, project started in 2017, operation by 2020
  • Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (ACTL) with Agrium – carbon capture, operation by 2018
  • Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (ACTL) with North West Sturgeon Refinery – operation by 2018
  • Seaterra Program - C$788 million, Southern Vancouver Island, BC, implementation by 2020
  • Spectra Energy’s Fort Nelson CCS - C$34.1 million, Fort Nelson, BC, carbon capture and storage project, starting in 2018
  • Phase 2A of the Rennies River Flood Mitigation Project - C$1.9 million
  • Windsor Lake Water Treatment Plant Process Improvements Project - C$5 million
  • St. John’s Water and Sewer Reconstruction Project –C$15 million
  • Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation Waterline - C$19 million, 2017-2018
  • Bonnybrook Wastewater Treatment Plant D Expansion - C$400 million, Calgary, AB, 2017-2022 and $126.1 million plant upgrade, completed by 2018
  • Cold Lake Regional Water Supply Expansion - C$65 million, Cold Lake, AB, commencing 2018
  • Devon Water Treatment Plant - C$28 million, Devon, AB, 2016-2018

Major upcoming events/tradeshows:

ACWWA Annual Conference;; Membertou Trade & Convention Centre; September 16-18, 2018, Sydney, NS

WEFTEC 2018 Conference and Exhibition;; Morial Convention Center, September 29, October 3, 2018; New Orleans, LA

CWWA National Water and Wastewater Conference;, Hotel Bonaventure Montreal; November 4-7, 2018, Montreal, QC

2018 Annual SWWA Conference;;Holiday Inn Downtown (Conference Hotel); November 7-9, 2018; Saskatoon, SK
AWWA Water Quality Technology Conference & Exposition;; Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, November 11-15, 2018 Toronto, ON

Web Resources

Alberta Major Projects:
Alberta Water and Wastewater Operators Association:
AWWA American Water Works Association, Western Canada Section:
British Columbia Major Projects:
Business Development Bank of Canada:
Canadian Water and Wastewater Association:
Environment and Climate Change Canada:
Government of Canada – Budget 2017:
Ontario Water Works Association:
Public Services and Procurement Canada:
Public Works and Government Services Canada:
Saskatchewan Water and Wastewater Association:
Statistics Canada:
U.S. International Trade Administration - 2017 Top Markets Report, Environmental Technologies:
For additional information on this sector, please contact Commercial Specialist Stefan Popescu at, tel: (416) 595-5412.


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Canada Environmental Technology Trade Development and Promotion