Advancing a National Approach to Circular Economy


The Turning Point Report, published by Canada’s Expert Panel on the Circular Economy, highlighted opportunities for Canada to become more economically successful, socially equitable, environmentally sustainable, and resilient by embracing the circular economy model across sectors and supply chains.

Taking a strategic approach to advancing a circular economy for Canada will help ensure that opportunities and benefits are maximized while barriers are addressed. For Canada, an overarching strategic approach helps set direction, recognizing that implementation will likely be shared by many partners and at all levels of government. 

At the same time, it is important to note that achieving the full benefits of a circular economy will require transformational systems change at multiple levels that is often only possible by leveraging new models of collaboration that challenge traditional structures.


CELC has been working to advance the circular economy in Canada at a national level by focusing on a number of important enablers, including supportive policy, launching new collaboration platforms, engaging with the finance sector, identifying and addressing infrastructure gaps, and improving access to information, data, and knowledge sharing.


At a macro-level, CELC has championed efforts in the following areas:

Strategic Framework & Action Plan: CELC has been working to champion a national approach to the circular economy and a coordinated innovation ecosystem. Outputs include:

  • CELC, in collaboration with Circular Innovation Council, has published a Circular Economy Action Plan for Canada. This first-of-its-kind CE Action Plan is an output from the 2023 Canadian Circular Economy Summit and provides an implementation framework and open-source guide for advancing and enabling the circular economy transition in Canada. It offers ‘on ramps’ for stakeholders to participate in the Action Plan’s implementation, and also serves as a guide supporting CELC’s strategic direction as an organization.
    • Download the Circular Economy Action Plan for Canada (English / French)


Governance Model & Policy Collaboration: CELC has been working to inform public policy and collaboration through strategic advocacy and research. Outputs include:

  • CELC led a scoping study in 2022-23, in collaboration with Smart Prosperity Institute (SPI), on “Advancing a Circular Economy Approach for Canada”, that reviewed, assessed, and identified five potential governance models best suited to support a coordinated national approach to advancing the circular economy in Canada. The findings are offered to support ongoing conversations with respect to catalyzing a ‘made-in-Canada’ approach to advancing the circular economy.


  • CELC, in partnership with Environment and Climate Change Canada, convened a Government-to-Government (G2G) Roundtable in June 2023 focused on “Advancing Collaboration on the Circular Economy in Canada”. The goal of the G2G Roundtable was to engage participants from all levels of government across the country through an open dialogue on the status of current circular economy efforts and to explore opportunities for future collaboration and coordination to advance circularity in Canada – including in conjunction with climate action and net zero goals.
    • Download the G2G Roundtable Summary Report (English)

Regional Innovation & Cooperation: CELC has been working to advance circular economy opportunities and address barriers across North America, exploring supply chain and trade issues, cross-border innovation, and harmonized policy efforts across jurisdictions. Outputs include: 

  • CELC led the development of a Circular North America Discussion Paper to stimulate dialogue at a World Circular Economy Forum side event that took place in November 2020, in collaboration with Environment and Climate Change Canada, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. 


  • CELC co-hosted the Cascadia Region Innovation & Circular Economy Conference which examined circular strategies across three sectors: transportation and logistics; plastics and packaging; and electronics/e-waste. The presentations and discussions demonstrated how circular innovation applications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) – such as physical, digital, and biological technologies – can enhance collaboration, economic competitiveness, and investments in the region and beyond.

Identifying & Tackling Barriers to Circularity: CELC has been working to identify barriers to the circular economy transition that are unique to Canada and sector-specific, including conducting research, hosting workshops, and knowledge sharing sessions. Outputs include:

  • Circular Economy Advance Workshop – Delivered in collaboration with the CELC at GLOBE 2020, brought together over 100 leaders and subject matter experts to assess how to accelerate Canada’s circular economy  transition.  Download Summary Report
  • Webinar on “Circular Economy as a Post-COVID Recovery and Resiliency Strategy for Canada” (May 2020). View Recording
  • Getting in the Loop Podcast interview with Paul Shorthouse on “Does Canada have a Circular Economy”. Listen to the Podcast