Premiers Focus on Innovation

Premiers Focus on Innovation

REGINA, August 7, 2009 – Premiers agreed on the vital importance of innovation in ensuring Canada’s economic recovery and long-term prosperity.

“There are going to be huge opportunities available to our respective regions and the country, as the global recovery begins to take hold,” said Premier Brad Wall, Chair of the Council of the Federation. “It’s now very important to begin taking action to ensure we’re ready to take advantage of new opportunities.”

Premiers focused their discussions on innovation to green the economy, improve competitiveness and support the knowledge sector.

It is important to act now to green the economy. The early mover advantage on green innovation will enable jurisdictions to capture new markets and emerge from the current challenging economic climate smarter and more prosperous. Different approaches across this diverse country could include smarter electricity grids, increasing renewable energy, high speed rail, public transit, CCS technologies and cold climate technologies.

Premiers agreed to implement a Canada-wide water efficiency labeling program. This program will reduce water consumption by informing consumers of the most efficient products on the market.

Premiers also agreed to create a Council of the Federation Water Stewardship Council based on the already existing Council in Western Canada. The Council of the Federation Water Stewardship Council will focus its work on water efficiency and conservation and will report to the Premiers at their next summer meeting.

Premiers called on the federal government to modernize Canadian Environmental Assessment Act by amending the legislation to permit the federal government to enter into agreements with provinces and territories on a case by case basis to allow for the process and decision to be made on a one project-one assessment basis. The benefits of one project-one assessment include reducing overlap, eliminating unnecessary delays and assigning clear authority for decision-making, while ensuring the highest standards of environmental protection.