Canada will invest a total of $240 million into its semiconductor industry to bolster manufacturing and research of chips that are crucial to national security and technological advancement, a federal minister said on Monday.
François–Philippe Champagne, minister of innovation, science and industry, launched a $150 million Semiconductor Challenge Callout fund to develop and supply semiconductors. Another $90 million has been allocated to the National Research Council of Canada's Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre. Photonics are used in telecommunication networks.
"By investing in Canada's semiconductor industry, we are making a firm commitment to businesses looking to invest in Canada," Champagne said in a statement. "Whether it's high-value or large-scale manufacturing, we want to see Canada be home to the world's leading semiconductor manufacturers."
Semiconductors, often referred to as chips or microchips, are used in variety of everyday devices, including medical equipment to automobile parts. Several industries, from carmakers to mobile phone companies, around the world have been hit by a shortage of semiconductors caused by COVID-19 supply-chain disruptions as well as soaring semiconductor demand at consumer electronic companies.
That has led to manufacturers seeking out reliable supplies of chips to avoid disruption.
The auto industry, for example, has cut 643,100 vehicles from production in 2022 due to the chip shortage, according to AutoForecast Solutions. The forecasting firm predicts automakers will trim nearly 1.4 million units from production this year.
Champagne said the goal of this investment is to "strengthen Canada's position in the industry." Currently, Canada's semiconductor sector includes over 100 homegrown and multinational companies conducting research and development on microchips.