A number of Canadian universities have
photonics groups or centers. Algonquin
College in Ottawa offers diploma and
bachelor’s degree programs, while Laval
students can earn a master’s degree in
biophotonics. McMaster University in
Hamilton, Ontario, has a bachelor’s degree
in applied engineering in photonics, and
the University of Waterloo in Ontario
offers a certificate in education for photonics professionals. Brock College in St.
Catharines, Ontario, even offers a graduate
certificate in lasers.
Around the world, photonics as a field
has been suffering from a general lack of
trained engineers and technicians, and the
CPC reports that this is the case in Canada
as well. “Apart from the university education, there is not much exposure to photonics for students at the primary- and
secondary-school levels,” Têtu noted.
But organizations such as the Ontario
Photonics Education and Training Association, which was founded by another OCE
director of business development, Marc
Nantel, and the QPN have adopted the
cause of building up the number
of Canadian photonics engineers and
technicians and of attracting younger
students to science and technology
Outlook and goals
As big as photonics is in Canada, there
is always room for growth.
The CPC has outlined some strategies
for general success: Photonics companies
should be more proactive about reaching
out to customers, to ensure the development of photonic solutions that will fit
their needs. Clusters and national photonics organizations should establish information portals to facilitate knowledge
exchange between companies and researchers. Canadian technology should be
increasingly commercialized, perhaps via
interagency programs using alternative financing and technology transfer methods,
to ensure that technological developments
are exploited to the maximum. R&D efforts, the group advised, should focus on
areas of strategic importance to Canada.
Photonics in Canada: By the Numbers
Source: “Making Light Work for Canada,” Canadian Photonics Consortium
Niagara College’s Welland campus in Ontario has a photonics lab with a cleanroom for laser research.