Canadian coalition lobbies for strategic semiconductor support

November 23, 2021 // By Peter Clarke
Canadian coalition lobbies for strategic semiconductor support
Canada's Semiconductor Council – a recently formed industry-led body – has released a 30-year plan intended to take the country to a leadership position in chips.

The 106-page report entitled Roadmap to 2050: Canada’s Semiconductor Action Plan lays out short, medium and long-term recommendations to build Canada's semiconductor industry. The plan portrays Canada as developer, manufacturer and global supplier of semiconductor products to support high-growth sectors such as electric vehicles, medical devices, consumer electronics, precision agriculture.

"Nations like the UK, US, and the EU are all committing dollars now to bringing silicon manufacturing production on-shore so that they have control of at least part of their supply chain. There's not a peep coming out of Canada on this. It's a barrier," Tony Pialis, co-founder and CEO of Alphawave IP Group plc, is quoted saying in the report.

It is notable that Alphawave recently staged an IPO in London, England and is looking to create a significant design presence in Cambridge.

Ron Glibbery, founder and CEO of Peraso Technologies, states: "Countries like China, South Korea, and the US view advanced semiconductors as fundamental to national security. The potential crisis for Canada is a situation where semiconductors become a national security issue. From a manufacturing perspective, we have minimal infrastructure to support that."

As in most cases, the report's recommendations come down to using tax payers' money to support domestic manufacturing and R&D; purchasing more at home and less from abroad than in the past, while expecting to be able to sell abroad because of compelling excellence of products.

Canada's Semiconductor Council classifies its apporach under four headings:

·      Strengthen and diversify the supply chain

·      Develop on-shore manufacturing

·      Establish a unique specialization and brand for Canada

·      Foster innovation and support market development

The report acknowledges that Canada lags behind Taiwan, China, Israel, and the US but argues that investing in a domestic semiconductor industry will enable Canada to better navigate supply chain fluctuations, manage shifting international relations, and become a leader in emerging industries such as quantum computing, artificial intelligence, battery production, and clean technology.


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