Electronics Design & Manufacturing in Canada
FHE and Canada’s electronics industries:
A multibillion-dollar opportunity for the taking
According to data compiled by Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, electronics and related manufacturing represents about four per cent of total manufacturing ouput in Canada (or $24.8 billion of $620 billion, according to CME’s Industrie 2030 report). Compare that to a fellow G7 nation like the U.S. where the figure is more than triple that, at around 13.2 per cent, at $364.56 billion of $2.77 trillion, according to 2015 data from the Center for Manufacturing Research (converted to CDN dollars using exchange rate of 1.279163).
Canada can do more to lever its pedigree in advanced manufacturing and technology innovation, to drive the global competiveness of its domestic electronics manufacturing sector and create more high-value jobs. A dynamic growth area is printable, flexible and hybrid electronics (FHE). The design, development and integration of FHE represents billions of dollars in new opportunity for electronics manufacturers.
Canada has almost 2,000 electronics and related manufacturing firms, according to Statistics Canada. Fifty per cent are located in Ontario and about 22 per cent are in Quebec, with 13.2 per cent in British Columbia and 10.3 per cent in Alberta.
This is summarized on the chart below, drawn from StatCan data to illustrate the dollar value of existing conventional electronics manufacturing in Canada in a number of key verticals (“Economic Impact 2014”). The right-hand side of the chart tallies the number of firms active in these areas by province and territory. Together this data emphasizes the scale of the market opportunity in existing segments of Canada’s manufacturing industry that already produce electronics and electrical components for a range of applications. These are the firms we already have that could drive the growth of Canada’s FHE manufacturing sector globally.
But this is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. These numbers don’t take into account other large Canadian manufacturing sectors that stand to benefit from the adoption of new additive processes to add intelligence and new levels of functionality to everyday objects for the Internet of Everything. These include packaging, textiles, residential and commercial real estate, and other parts and systems for industrial equipment and transportation that currently do not incorporate electronic components.
Nor have we included in this data the software development sector, which has a crucial role to play to create the cloud-based applications and databases necessary to enable this added functionality and related data collection and analysis. We have excluded this sector because sufficiently granular data was not available from Statcan to present an accurate overview of the size of this industry in Canada as it pertains to FHE.
In addition, there are the academic and public research institutions that carry out the basic and applied research in FHE and related technology areas that can lead to new commercial products and applications. Many are already members of intelliFLEX, including NRC, CRC, École de technologie supérieure (ETS). McMaster University, McGill University, Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia, University of Ottawa, University of Waterloo, York University, University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM), University of Windsor and York University. In addition, our membership includes colleges and Technology Access Centres that help industry bring technology to market and with manufacturing scale-up: Centennial College, George Brown College, ICI/Ahuntsic College, Lambton College, Red River College and Seneca College.
Statistics Canada does not produce product by product input-output tables which can be used to determine the product contents of products
(i.e. the value of electronic products in the value of cars, etc.).