Electronic Products & Technology

Feds invest in semiconductor, photonics industries

EP&T Magazine   

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$240 million investment will strengthen Canada's role as a world leader and boost chip production

Recognizing the importance of semiconductors in protecting Canada’s national security and economic and technological interests, the Federal Government has announced a significant investment in its development yesterday. Supply issues impacting semiconductors, which are also often referred to as chips or microchips, impact all sectors of the economy and the daily lives of Canadians.

These are the reasons why François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, launched the Semiconductor Supply Challenge, with a $150 million envelope from the Fonds Innovation Strategy, to make targeted investments to build on Canada’s strengths in semiconductor production and supply. He also announced $90-million for the Canadian Center for Photonic Device Manufacturing (CCFDP) of the National Research Council of Canada.

NRC employees work on a wet etch at the Canadian Photonics Fabrication Center. Source: NRC

With a commitment to working with businesses and researchers to strengthen Canada’s position in this sector, Champagne says that today’s challenge represents an initial commitment by Canada to invest in innovation projects that will strengthen and expand Canada’s innovative semiconductor ecosystem. The government is calling on companies to secure ambitious and transformative proposals in the priority areas of expanding semiconductor production capacity, research and commercialization. This will allow the Canadian semiconductor industry to play a better role in the North American information and communications technology supply chain, according to Champagne.

The goal behind the investment in CCFDP is to allow it to perform critical equipment upgrades and increase its ability to tackle the growing complexity of advanced technologies marketed by its customers. The CCFDP has been a key asset to the Canadian photonics industry for two decades, as it has the only publicly operated semiconductor foundry in North America that is open to everyone. The Center has an impressive track record in providing production services for photonic devices useful to the research and private sectors. The Center has played an important role in the growth of many small and medium-sized companies, particularly in the telecommunications, environmental sensors, automotive, defense and aerospace sectors.


An NRC employee at the Canadian Photonics Manufacturing Center. Source: NRC

“The government wants to make Canada a strategic world leader in the semiconductor industry. That is why we are investing $240 million today to strengthen our semiconductor ecosystem, a measure that will allow us to make our economy more innovative and more resilient,” Champagne says. “By investing in the semiconductor industry, we are making a strong commitment to companies looking to invest in Canada. We want to become a home ground for major semiconductor producers, whether large-scale or high-value manufacturing companies.”

Quick Facts

  • The Canadian semiconductor industry has more than 100 national and multinational companies conducting research and development on microchips. Its production plants include more than 30 applied research laboratories and 5 commercial facilities involved in semiconductor compounds, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and advanced packaging.
  • Semiconductors are used to power a wide range of everyday products, including automobiles, computers and other electronic products.
  • Canada is a world leader in the field of photonics, that is, the technology that makes it possible to generate light and use it. One of its most important applications is in telecommunications networks, on which Canadians depend more than ever, in order to offer uninterrupted services and to find new ways of working in virtual mode and remotely.
  • The Government of Canada is monitoring pressures on supply chains and critical infrastructure as the economy recovers. The government is also working with the United States and other partners globally to strengthen the security of supply chains for critical sectors and goods.
  • The Canadian Photonics Manufacturing Center has a fully equipped facility of 40,000 square feet, with class 1000/100 cleanrooms occupying an area of ​​11,000 square feet which enables it to offer engineering and manufacturing services to universities and companies of all sizes in the photonics sector in Canada and around the world.

NRC Canadian Photonics Fabrication Center Equipment. Source: NRC


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