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Canadian Photonic Industry Base


The Canadian photonics industry sector is mainly composed of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). These companies range from components manufacturers (e.g., optical elements, photonic integrated chips, optical fibre, etc.) up to complete photonics instruments and systems (fibre lasers, sensors, cameras, projectors, scanning microscopes, etc.).

Eighty percent of the photonic companies are distributed in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, while 11% are in Alberta and 6% in British Columbia.  Photonics covers most application fields, and the following graph demonstrates the application fields covered by these companies.  From small components to large systems, photonics has a key impact in all applications and the Canadian photonic industry covers it all.

Source: CPIC database

At $3.6B, the Canadian photonic exports in 2020 are 11% lower than 2019 exports and it represents 12% more than in 2005.  It is noticeable that since 2015, the increase of photonic domestic exports grew by 23%.  The 2020 reduction, mainly due to COVID, affected the April-June 2020 exports as demonstrated by the Statistics Canada tables on the North America Industry Manufacturing System imports-exports monthly results for manufacturing (NAICS 31-33).


The Canadian photonics industrial base is strong and well supported by the photonic universities and R&D centres.  Within its mandate, the Canadian Photonic Industry Consortium continues to support and accelerate the growth of the Canadian industry.

March 2021

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