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Deepening Reconciliation, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Considerations in Canada’s Clean Technology Funding Programs

DATE: March 30, 2021

Clean technology is set to play a critical role in meeting our net zero climate goal and in the diversification and growth of the Canadian economy. To help meet these objectives, the Government of Canada runs a number of granting programs that fund the advancement of clean technology in a range of sectors and thematic areas. As we transition towards this exciting future, we must also strive to ensure this transition is just and equitable. To do so requires that these granting programs increase their reach and impact in underrepresented populations.

Building on Stratos’ previous work in federal science, innovation and clean economy, we brought together 50 federal representatives to discuss approaches to deepening consideration of reconciliation, equity, diversity, and inclusion (REDI) across the lifecycle of these clean technology granting programs.

We put a special emphasis on Indigenous reconciliation because we recognize that reconciliation, and the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership with Indigenous peoples, is an essential journey for Canada.

Figure 1: Clean tech funding program lifecycle

Stratos developed a report summarizing the dialogue into actionable tactics and insights to support greater inclusion across the program lifecycle, including for example: robust and inclusive stakeholder consultation to inform program design, promoting more broadly and in networks of relevance to underrepresented communities, having diverse and representative selection juries; and providing “in-stream” capacity building opportunities.

Other key observations include:

  • Build a community of practice: There is a strong interest and desire in deepening REDI practices in clean technology granting programs, but there is a need to create a coherent network or community of practice to sustain.
  • Employ thoughtful roll-out of clean technology solutions: Clean technology solutions are needed rapidly to address pressing issues like climate change, but if we rush the deployment without properly considering REDI, we risk unintended negative outcomes.
  • Promote strong leadership: Effective leadership is necessary to drive REDI in the federal government paired with a diverse and representative program implementation team.
  • Co-design Funding Program with underrepresented groups: Funding programs need to be co-designed with marginalized and underrepresented groups to maximize REDI opportunities; creating a diverse and representative application jury, allowing Indigenous communities to be involved in project selection, and tailoring processes to community ways of governing can enhance project are some ways to incorporate REDI considerations in funding programs.
  • Strengthen Gender Based+ Analysis approaches: Undertaking GBA+ analysis can ensure REDI elements are meaningfully considered in program design and throughout the program lifecycle.
  • Reinforce privacy assurance: Issues associated with privacy are viewed as a key barrier in the collection of REDI data. Over-arching guidelines would be needed within the Government of Canada to support the collection of REDI data.
  • Lead with human-centered design, rather than data: It is important that programs continue to implement practices, without waiting for data approaches to catch up. Yes, data is important, but underrepresented and marginalized communities have been telling us for years what is needed. Let’s not be paralyzed by the data gap, but brave and bold in our actions.  The data will catch up.

The REDI Workshop Report and Executive Summary are available for download. For a presentation on this report, or for information on our work in Science, Innovation and Clean Economy, contact Jennifer Davis at jdavis@stratos-sts.com

We would like to extend a huge thanks to the Clean Growth Hub for their advice and support in bringing together the clean technology and clean innovation granting program community.

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