Canada bets C$240 million to grow its semiconductor sector

The Canadian government announces a C$240 million investment to boost the country's semiconductor industry.
1 March 2022

The global semiconductor sector continues to gain momentum as demand for chips remain high. Be it Asia, Europe, or the Americas, investments in the semiconductor industry have increased with chip manufacturers planning to build more manufacturing facilities all over the world in order to meet the demand.

Next, Canada will invest a total of C$240 million into its semiconductor industry to bolster the manufacturing and research of processor chips in the nation. Canada’s semiconductor industry includes over 100 homegrown and multinational companies conducting research and development on microchips. Its manufacturing base includes over 30 applied research laboratories and 5 commercial facilities in areas such as compound semiconductors, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), and advanced packaging.

Among the world’s largest semiconductor producers and designers include TSMC, last year’s top chip seller Samsung Electronics, AMD, Qualcomm and Intel. Its manufacturing base includes over 30 applied research laboratories and 5 commercial facilities in areas such as compound semiconductors, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and advanced packaging.

According to a statement by Canada’s Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development,  the government is committed to collaborating with Canadian researchers and businesses to strengthen Canada’s position in the industry.

As such, the Canadian government announced the Semiconductor Challenge Callout, a C$150 million fund through the Strategic Innovation Fund to make targeted investments to build on Canada’s domestic strengths associated with the development and supply of semiconductors. Another C$90 million has been allocated in funding for the National Research Council of Canada’s Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre (CPFC).

“By investing in Canada’s semiconductor industry, we are making a firm commitment to businesses looking to invest in Canada. Whether it’s high-value or large-scale manufacturing, we want to see Canada be home to the world’s leading semiconductor manufacturers,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, the country’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “We are also proud to support the revitalization of the National Research Council’s CPFC, which will enhance Canada’s already impressive photonics sector.”

Canada is also a world leader in photonics, the technology of generating light and harnessing the power of light. This technology is used in telecommunication networks that Canadians are relying on more than ever for uninterrupted digital services that support remote and virtual ways of working. The CPFC is a 40,000-square-foot facility with 11,000 square feet of class 100/1000 cleanroom space providing engineering and manufacturing services to academics and large, medium-sized and small photonics businesses in Canada and internationally.

The investment in the CPFC will see critical upgrades of equipment, improving the center’s capacity and capability to address the ever-increasing complexity of leading-edge technology being brought to market by its clients.

A key asset to the Canadian photonics space over the last two decades, the CPFC is the only compound semiconductor foundry in North America that is publicly operated and open to all for use. It has an impressive track record of delivering impactful photonics device fabrication services to the research and private sectors, helping to grow many Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises in such industries as telecommunications, environmental sensing, automotive, defense and aerospace.

Meanwhile, Canada’s Semiconductor Council commends the federal government’s investment to strengthen Canada’s domestic semiconductor sector, one that is foundational in many industries across Canada such as automotive, medical technology, advanced manufacturing, consumer electronics — and critical to powering many of the devices and technologies we use on a daily basis.

“We’re thrilled to see action taken on some of the critical recommendations we made in our report Roadmap to 2050: Canada’s Semiconductor Action Plan. Canada has an urgent need to strengthen its domestic capacity and address current vulnerabilities in our supply chain. Through this initial investment, the federal government is signaling its support for future-proofing Canada’s economy and we look forward to ongoing initiatives in the months ahead,” said Sarah Prevette, the Chair of Canada’s Semiconductor Council.