India and Canada are on the verge of signing a civilian nuclear deal that will allow companies of both countries to access each other’s market, Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Trade Sanda Pupatello said here on Thursday.

Addressing journalists here, Ms. Pupatello said the finer details were being worked out, and the agreement could be signed any day. He pointed out that India offered a huge potential in view of its expansion programme for nuclear power.

Ms. Pupatello, who is on a weeklong visit to India to promote Indian investment in Ontario, one of Canada’s most industrialised provinces, said the deal would allow Canadian companies to act as supply chains for the nuclear set-up, even by joining hands with Indian firms for technology exchange. It would also facilitate nuclear fuel supply, trade in products and nuclear technology services, besides seeking to trade the use of uranium and its re-processing.

“I do not know the finer details of the agreement, but we are very optimistic about this opening a window of opportunities for companies in Ontario. Ontario firms have expertise in nuclear power. CANDU reactors — developed by the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited — have operated safely for 46 years. Of the 18 active reactors in Canada, 16 are located in Ontaria, which has an established nuclear industry and supply chain offering expertise that will be valuable, as India expands its nuclear capacity,” she said.

Green jobs

Ontario had just passed a Green Energy Act that would help to create 50,000 green jobs in various sectors. “We plan to switch over to 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020 and eliminate all coal- fired generation by 2014. Our aim is that by 2020, one out of the 20 cars should be electric in Ontario.”

Ms. Pupatello said with its vast expertise in renewable energy, Ontario would be India’s ideal partner for clean, renewable energy sources and increased energy efficiency.

“There is natural synergy between Ontario’s areas of strength and the growth sectors of India. There is a tremendous scope for mutually beneficial partnerships. A $1.5 billion Next Generation of Jobs Funds has been introduced by my government, and Indian companies looking for a global toehold can take advantage of this unique initiative. This fund is meant for supporting companies whose products reduce pollution, save energy, make transport more efficient and help the environment in other ways,” she said.

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