The long-awaited announcement of the five selected superclusters was revealed on February 15 in Ottawa. On February 22, the Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of Democratic Institutions, delivered a regional announcement on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development, celebrating the selection of the Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster. This Southern Ontario-based supercluster is one of the five selected superclusters to receive funding under the federal government’s $950 million Innovation Supercluster Initiative.

This supercluster aims to expand on the critical mass of innovation activity that attracts and retains talent, technology, investment, and customers from around the world, combining the strengths of Canada’s pillars in manufacturing and technology to deliver sustained economic growth and Canada’s leadership in the global innovation race. “The Innovation Supercluster Initiative will facilitate cross-sectoral collaboration between industry, academia, and innovators across Southern Ontario and across Canada,” said Jayson Myers, CEO of Next Generation Manufacturing (NGM) Canada, the next not-for-profit entity that will be responsible for the implementation of the funding and facilitate supercluster activities, partnerships, and collaboration among members. “We’re excited to have the opportunity to engage with one of Canada’s largest enterprise technology clusters centered in York Region, home to many global leaders and promising start-ups that are at the forefront of advanced manufacturing: creating, designing and engineering the future of enterprise grade technologies, microelectronics and other physical technologies that are the foundation enabling adoption of new technologies in key Canadian sectors such as healthcare, automotive and financial services.”

The Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster bid comprised of over 140 partners with strong representation from York Region, including the Regional Municipality of York, City of Markham, ventureLAB, York University, Seneca College, and industry partners such as Celestica, Magna, Canvass Analytics, ChipCare, Peytec and SterileCare.

With more than 4,300 technology companies and over 65,000 tech-based employees, York Region is home to 20 of Canada’s top 100 Information Technology solutions providers. The tech sector in York Region represents 35 per cent of all technology jobs in Ontario’s Innovation Corridor. “The knowledge-based technology sector continues to experience strong job growth and is an important part of York Region’s economy,” said Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson, The Regional Municipality of York. “We appreciate the funding from the Government of Canada to help support us as we continue to grow and work to further secure our position as a global leader in innovation.”

The City of Markham is a major hub in this innovation cluster, with the highest density of ICT sector concentration per population in Canada. “Markham is at the centre of the innovation corridor,” says Mayor Frank Scarpitti, City of Markham. “We are proud to have the best and brightest entrepreneurs, researchers, game changers and thought leaders in our City. We have a highly educated, highly skilled and diverse workforce and a thriving business ecosystem; all the right ingredients to succeed in a global knowledge-based economy.” It is also the country’s most culturally diverse community, with 78 per cent of the city’s 350,000 plus residents identifying as visible minorities.

York Region’s diversity is at the core of its talent base and the deep concentration of global companies – large multinationals, start-ups and scale-ups – who choose Markham and other York Region municipalities as their destination of choice for innovation and growth.

ventureLAB, the area’s regional innovation centre, works with many of these companies to help start-ups and scale-ups grow to become global competitors. “ventureLAB is a proud partner of the Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster,” said Jeremy Laurin, President & CEO of ventureLAB. “This investment in Southern Ontario’s manufacturing and technology sectors is Canada’s unique global opportunity, connecting leading hubs of microelectronics technology across the nation. By collaborating with public and private sector partners, including large-anchor firms, start-ups, and world-class post-secondary institutions, this supercluster will build a commercialization pipeline and enabling network for startups, scale-ups and industry leaders to adopt in order to grow and scale, both nationally and globally.” 

A unique urban hub, Markham offers greenfield opportunities for development within the local technology cluster. Canada’s first expansion post-secondary institution – a partnership between York University and Seneca College – will open its doors to students in the fall of 2021. This thriving city provides a transformational opportunity to expand its technology cluster that integrates academia and industry to bridge the talent gaps for companies of all sizes in this region. This cluster will produce, attract and retain world-class talent to accelerate innovation and commercialization.

“We are delighted to have been chosen to participate in the Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, alongside our community and industry partners,” said David Agnew, Seneca President. “The need to innovate has never been greater, and we look forward to continued collaboration with these partners on projects that will meet the unique needs of both entrepreneurial-minded students and the ever-changing economy.”

“York University is proud to be a participant in the Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, an exciting initiative that will help to substantially propel our region into a globally leading centre for advanced manufacturing, which is critical to the success of the Canadian economy,” said Rhonda L. Lenton, President & Vice-Chancellor, York University. “We applaud the Government of Canada’s $950-million investment in the Innovation Superclusters Initiative, a commitment that will be matched by the private sector. As the academic lead for the microelectronic component of the Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, York University’s long-established commitment to impactful research in fundamental and applied science and engineering will allow us to reciprocate industry investment with innovative knowledge creation, fostering connectivity and collaboration for the benefit of all Canadians.”

The selection of the Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster will enable advancements in hardware, software, microelectronics, and other physical technologies to deliver integrated platforms that will ultimately support innovation and accelerate commercialization across the spectrum of advanced manufacturing from design, engineering, test and production. It will support growing companies like Canvass Analytics, which uses artificial intelligence to help transform plant operations based on real data. “Canvass Analytics is thrilled to be a part of the Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster which merges Canada’s existing strengths in manufacturing and technology,” said Humera Malik, CEO of Canvass Analytics. “This supercluster will accelerate the growth of companies like ours on a global scale, and allow start-up and scale-up companies to access tools and infrastructure for design, local customers to test and validate technologies and leverage global supply chains and buying power. We’re hopeful that this initiative will enable more Made-in-Canada success stories and accelerate the adoption of Industry 4.0 where Canvass Analytics is taking industrial automation to the next level into global markets.”

This supercluster presents a unique opportunity to create a pan-Canadian corridor of platforms, deep technology infrastructure and enablers, tools to create transformational products, and attract and retain world-class talent. It is expected to add $13.5 Billion GDP and 13,500 jobs over the next 10 years.

Leveraging the region’s strength in advanced manufacturing, microelectronics, ICT and other physical technologies, this supercluster will accelerate the commercialization and globalization of innovative industries that Canada has a distinct competitive advantage on a world stage to fuel economic growth, job creation and talent attraction across Canada.

The five selected superclusters include:

  • Atlantic Canada’s Ocean Supercluster that will use innovation to improve competitiveness in Canada’s ocean-based industries, including fisheries, oil and gas, and clean energy;
  • Quebec-based SCALE.AI will make Canada a world leading exporter by building intelligent supply chains through artificial intelligence and robotics;
  • Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster based in Southern Ontario, will connect Canada’s technology strengths to our manufacturing industry to make us a world manufacturing leader in the economy of tomorrow;
  • Protein Industries Supercluster, based in the Prairies, will make Canada a leading source for plant proteins and help feed the world;
  • BC-based Digital Technology Supercluster will use big data and digital technologies to unlock new potential in important sectors like healthcare, forestry, and manufacturing.

ventureLAB is where talented entrepreneurs bring their innovations to market and is a partner in StartUp HERE Toronto.