The idea of “going green” continues to play a big part in Canada’s economy and brings forth opportunities for green careers.
According to a report by Globe Advisors, “Climate change will emerge as the major driving force affecting the business of the environment in Western Canada. Described as the ultimate sustainable development issue, climate change represents both an environmental challenge and an economic opportunity.”
The challenge will be to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and practice sustainable development without causing major disruption to society’s economic and social well-being. Thus, the opportunity lies in the prospect of achieving all the benefits of these sustainable development technologies.
Western Canada offers many opportunities for getting involved in the green sector. For one thing, British Columbia has the largest concentration of fuel cell expertise in Canada, putting it at an advantage when it comes to fuel cell technology and causing a lot of company growth (which means more job opportunities!).
Read on to see where each province prospers and the best directions for you to take your green career!
British Columbia’s green sector employs more than 166,000 people and, according to Globe Advisors, the number of green jobs in BC could grow to more than 200,000 by 2020 – a nearly 75% increase over the 2008 estimate! You’ll find the majority of green office jobs in large cities such as Vancouver and Victoria, and many in-the-field jobs spread across the province, from the lakes and rivers in the Rocky Mountains to the farmland and natural gas fields of Northern B.C.
B.C.’s green strengths:
- Alternative energy systems
- Sustainable resource management
- Environmental instrumentation technologies
Green careers with growth in B.C.:
The most promising areas for opportunity are those related to alternative energy systems (including fuel cells and clean fuel technologies), green building design and technologies, sustainable communities, waste/wastewater technologies, and service and environmental marketing.
As Canada’s leader for green building and construction (because it is so abundant in the necessary resources for these sorts of projects), there are many ways to begin your career in this sector. Whether your background is in engineering, architectural design, production, or marketing, your career can definitely go green in B.C.
Alberta’s environmental business sector has grown significantly over the past two decades. Like B.C., it is home to about 800 green-focused companies, but these ones are much smaller, averaging fewer than 15 employees at most companies. If you’re working in the green economy in Alberta, you’ll probably end up in a small, tight-knit, fast-growing firm with tons of opportunity.
Over 80% of Alberta’s environmental firms provide services as their primary business, while the remaining 20% focus on producing equipment and supplies.
Alberta’s green strengths:
Alberta is full of natural resources – as well as natural resource companies that have endless financial resources at their disposal looking to get greener – and has an extremely “entrepreneurial culture.” Therefore, if you have some innovative ideas running through your brain, you know where to go.
Green careers with growth in Alberta:
Further development of Alberta’s natural resources (for example, oil and gas deposits) calls for creative geniuses to apply these developmental strategies to other areas within the industry, such as agricultural waste and urban water management.
This prairie province is home to about 300 companies in the green industry which are mostly smaller firms, averaging less than 15 full-time employees per company.
Saskatchewan’s green strengths:
Technology and equipment manufacturing generates almost 50% of the industry’s total revenue in this province.
Other than that, the top focuses in Saskatechewan are on ecosystem management, site assessments and environmental remediation (or, in simpler terms, the removal of pollution from water and land). There are also opportunities with large-scale agriculture companies as the province is a hub for agricultural activity in Canada.
Green careers with growth in Saskatchewan:
Saskatchewan’s size and limited resources have often been considered as barriers to economic growth. However, these challenges have resulted in many opportunities for collaborative projects!
One of the biggest recent examples of this is the “Communities of Tomorrow” project, a collaboration between the federal, provincial and municipal governments which focuses on using Regina as a demonstration site for sustainable municipal infrastructure technology, in areas such as road design and construction, soil remediation, water and waste water systems. They predict that “an innovative infrastructure cluster of companies” will develop in Saskatchewan, “tapping an estimated $20 trillion world market for infrastructure products and services.”
Manitoba is a hot bed for green opportunities, with hundreds of companies operating in Manitoba’s environmental sector. The majority of these companies provide goods or services relating to prevention and remediation of enviromental damage to water, air and soil. There are also many firms centred around the development of technologies which reduce engergy consumption, emissions and waste.
No matter where you start your green career in Manitoba, you’ll probably be working hard to make the province – and the world – a greener place for everyone.
Manitoba’s green strengths:
Manitoba’s green economy is heavily focused on environmental monitoring and information processing, waste management and recycling, waste and wastewater treatment, soil reclamation and remediation, hazardous waste management and air monitoring and control.
Clearly, Manitoba covers many areas in the sector, but not to the same depth as the area of fuel cells in British Columbia or oil and gas in Alberta. Regardless, the areas for one to gain involvement and experience are extremely vast and diverse.
Green careers with growth in Manitoba:
The two distinct areas of opportunity that hold particular promise are in green building and energy efficiency in the agricultural sector.
Where do you see your green career taking root?
Is your dream job a green job? Attend the Green Jobs Forum on Sept. 17, 2012 in Toronto – admission is free! Register now.