Scaling Circular Economy Innovation in Canada

In Canada – as is the case globally – the last few years have seen significant increases in the volume and pace of activity focused on advancing the circular economy. This is a sign that thoughtful policymakers, business leaders, and innovators across the country are starting to see “circularity” as an effective and unifying approach to achieving net zero emissions, addressing pollution and biodiversity loss, enhancing competitiveness, and fostering a stronger and more resilient economy.

Advancing a circular economy for Canada represents an enormous opportunity. Achieving this, however, will require a national strategy and a circular economy innovation network – a ‘network of networks’ – that can bring an ecosystem of stakeholders together to in a coordinated fashion, find synergies, and build the tools, programs, and capacity to implement and accelerate circular economy solutions across businesses, industry sectors, supply chains, and communities.


Why a CE Innovation Network?

This is a unique moment in time where need and opportunity converge through an initiative such as the one being proposed. The objectives of such an innovation network are to:

  • Integrate circular economy strategies into existing and new supply chains;
  • Support industry and SMEs with the development of new business models;
  • Enhance process innovation and improve productivity through related technology applications that result in deeper greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions and improved material and resource efficiency; and
  • Create jobs and increase competitiveness across key sectors in Canada.

Programs would be developed by industry and the innovation ecosystem partners that would bring together all the essential ingredients for successfully scaling innovation, building on recent investments, including demonstration projects and research efforts, accelerators, and other collaborations, and go further by scaling knowledge sharing, advancing regional clusters and sectoral transition projects.

This initiative would position Canada as a leader in circular economy innovation and would send a strong signal to industry, investors, and the innovation community. It also presents a legacy platform for Canada coming out of hosting the World Circular Economy Forum in September 2021.


Who is Involved?

Creating the proposed network will require that we bring together a broad, multi-sectoral network from across Canada that includes industry, SMEs, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations. A small group of champions for such a network has already been working together to build the beginnings of such a strategy. Proposal partners acknowledge that taking this from concept to execution is going to require considerable effort and investment, but if not now – then when? If not us – then who?   More than 3 dozen organizations so far have provided letters of support, with core partners including:

  • Circular Economy Leadership Canada
  • The Natural Step Canada
  • National Zero Waste Council
  • Smart Prosperity Institute
  • Canada Plastics Pact
  • Circular Innovation Council
  • Recycling Council of Alberta
  • Our Food Future / COIL (Guelph- Wellington, ON)
  • Council of the Great Lakes Region (Ontario)
  • Metal Tech Alley (BC)
  • Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources (Manitoba)
  • École de technologie supérieure / Center for Intersectoral Studies and Research on the Circular Economy (Quebec)
  • Ivey School of Business
  • International Institute for Sustainable Development


More Information?

Download the Backgrounder and Slidedeck Overview.  We welcome the opportunity to meet with those interested in exploring this initiative with us further.


To arrange a meeting, or to share feedback directly, please contact Paul Shorthouse, Managing Director, Circular Economy Leadership Canada, at


You have successfully subscribed to our mail list.

Too many subscribe attempts for this email address.