Advanced Manufacturing : Ontario is Open for Business

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Ontario has always been the manufacturing engine of Canada and we continue to focus on developing our advanced manufacturing sector to invite investment to the province. Our reputation as a pioneer in artificial intelligence and robotics research and development has brought Amazon, Google, IBM, Shopify and Cisco here to invest in what has become the second largest IT cluster in North America. For the past two years, Toronto has been North America’s fastest growing tech market, adding more technology-based jobs that any other city, including San Francisco.

Our automotive manufacturing sector employs more than 100,000 skilled workers producing over two million vehicles each year. The industry is positioned for robust growth, with several initiatives underway to attract and support advanced manufacturing incorporating robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). These include the not-for-profit, Ontario-based organization Ngen and the Ontario Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (AMC). Another significant initiative is a province-wide Job Site Challenge that identifies locations suitable for site selectors looking to build large plants with access to a trained workforce, transportation links and the technological infrastructure that they require. Industry giants GM, Ford, Google and Uber have invested over $1 billion into connected and autonomous driving in Ontario.

Partnering with Universities to Educate Next Gen Workers

A transforming manufacturing industry demands a workforce with advanced skills, and universities, colleges and technical schools in Ontario are providing just that. In cooperation with employers, they are working towards developing a cadre of highly skilled workers with expertise in AI, robotics, 3D printing, cloud computing, industrial automation and more. These workers are ready to fill roles within the advanced manufacturing sector. They are also employed in the research and development entities that are creating the new advancements to enhance and improve the manufacturing industry.

Expanding or Moving? Time to look at Ontario

Companies from across the globe are looking for locations that offer not only the physical space to establish mega manufacturing facilities, but also an educated, top-quality workforce. They also require access to the vast North American market and transportation links to bring in materials and ship out their finished products. Forward-thinking businesses also want to work with companies that are already engaged in bleeding edge research and development and promote a culture of first-rate, award-winning, advanced manufacturing.

Ontario has all of this and more to offer. On November 28, 2019, Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, announced Canada’s first Job Site Challenge at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Woodstock Plant West. This initiative calls on economic development agencies, industrial property owners and municipalities to put forward suitable large land parcels (between 500-1500 acres). Appropriate sites must be already serviced or serviceable by utilities, transport networks and other infrastructure and zoned or suitable for rezoning for industrial use.

“With smarter regulations and reductions in the cost of doing business in the province, we’re restoring the competitive advantage that made Ontario the economic engine of Canada,” said Sarkaria. “The Job Site Challenge will build on our investment strategy, help us compete with other North American jurisdictions for large-scale manufacturing investments and market Ontario as a competitive place to do business.”

Ontario is making it easy to set up shop in the province, competing for automotive and auto parts manufacturing business. And to be sure that we are keeping abreast with technological advances, we are collaborating with entities such as Ngen Next Generation Manufacturing Canada. Ngen is a technological and manufacturing alliance, linking companies, researchers and investors. They focus on promoting new technology adoption, workforce skills improvements and collaboration between technology and manufacturing to help large and small companies in their transition to advanced manufacturing.

Billed as a next generation manufacturing supercluster, Ngen is an ambitious program from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. Their primary function is helping businesses to improve their manufacturing capabilities by incorporating technologies like AI, advanced robotics and 3D printing.

The Ontario Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (AMC) is another new initiative to advance innovation capacity in the manufacturing sector. This partnership between McMaster University, the University of Waterloo and Western University provides collaboration with the resources of all three participating institutions. AMC offers the manufacturing sector easy access to world-class facilities and the technical expertise required to help them drive innovation. Manufacturers can contact an advanced manufacturing expert who will assess their needs and then connect them to the right support.

Ontario Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (AMC) supports advanced manufacturing requirements in :
• Industry 4.0
• Automation and robotics
• Additive manufacturing (3D printing)
• 5G communications and wireless devices
• Composites and advanced materials
• Internet of things (IoT)
• High performance manufacturing
• Light weighting
• Durability and impact mechanics
• Advanced testing and characterization
• Autonomous vehicles
• Clean technology

Both the Ontario government and the government of Canada are offering generous incentives to businesses that expand or relocate to various regions within the province. This support can include tax credits, incentive term loans for capital projects, research and development grants and wage subsidies.

Training Opportunities for the Current Workforce

There are some concerns on the part of the current qualified workforce about disruption by new technologies as we evolve into the fourth industrial revolution. Ontario’s post-secondary institutions have taken this issue on and are fully committed to helping experienced workers adapt. With support from employers and Ontario’s universities and colleges, the current workforce is learning new skills to remain relevant and in demand as the advanced manufacturing sector progresses.

In the next decade, Ontario expects to create over 13,500 new jobs in advanced manufacturing. Businesses will have access to both newly educated young entrants and experienced workers who have updated their skills for new technologies, a truly potent combination that offers much to manufacturers in our province.

The Future of Advanced Manufacturing in Ontario

The challenges of transitioning from traditional to advanced manufacturing are considerable, but in Ontario we are already beginning to see the benefits. Programs like Ngen and AMC that help manufacturers build partnerships with technology providers, source the right technology solutions and learn how to deploy them are providing invaluable help to Ontario’s advanced manufacturing sector.

To learn more, visit for all the latest news, incentives and opportunities within the advanced manufacturing sector.


Andrew Elliston Manager, Business Development 
414 Locust St., Suite 203 
Burlington, ON L7S 1T7
(905) 332-9415 ext. 7248 
Simon Gill 
605 Rossland Road East 
Whitby, ON 
L1N 6A3 
(905) 668-4113 ext. 2611 
Alan Smith, General Manager, Economic Development
450 Sunset Drive, 
St. Thomas, ON, N5R 5V1 
(519) 631-1460 ext. 133 
Kurtis Wells, Economic Development - Infrastructure,Development & Enterprise - Marketing and Events Coordinator 
(519) 822-1260 ext. 2079 
Norm Schleehahn, Manager, Business Investment & Sector Development
71 Main Street West
7th Floor Hamilton, ON L8P 4Y5 
(905) 546-2424 ext. 2669 
Larissa Fenn, Director, Public Affairs & Corporate Secretary 
605 James St. North, 6th Floor 
Hamilton, ON L8L 1K1 
(905) 525-4330 ext. 235 
Lindsey Schoenmakers, Economic Development Officer 
P.O. Box 9000, 26 Francis Street
Lindsay, ON, K9V 5R8
(705) 324-9411 ext. 1197 
Shelley Hirstwood, Business Development Officer, Attraction & Aftercare
366 King St. E., Suite 420 
Kingston, ON K7K 6Y3 
(613) 544-2725 ext. 7232 
Cara Finn, Director of Economic Development 
399 Ridout St. North
London, ON N6A 2P1
(519) 434-7321 ext. 2347 
James Bang, Economic Development Officer 
2141 Major Mackenzie Dr. Level 200 
Vaughan, ON L6A 1T1
(905) 832-8585 ext. 8288 
Matthew Johnson, Director, Investment Attraction 
119 Chatham Street West,Unit 100
Windsor, ON N9A 5M7 
(519) 255-9200 ext. 2238