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fewer than 50 employees, according to aMay 2007 report produced by the QPN;only 3 percent employ more than 300. Butcompanies with more than 300 employeesoffer 27 percent of the jobs; companiesthat employ more than 100 and fewer than300 workers make up 38 percent of thejob market.
Corriveau said that, because Québec’s
photonics companies tend to be smaller, as
opposed to mass-production companies,
“they were less affected by the economic
Québec has a striking spirit of coopera-
tion between researchers and businesses –
even those competing for the same fund-
ing and the same customer base seem to
have little difficulty pooling resources to
develop photonic solutions.
“Québec City is spread over a relativelysmall area with a tightly knit society. Sothe members of the scientific and engineering community know each otheror/and they have common contacts. Thesame can also be said for the commercialcommunity and others,” Têtu said. “That’sprobably why we can more easily partneron a collaborative effort. This being said,we also recognize that the market is international, and the competition is international. So we have to join efforts to facethe challenge of being competitive at theinternational level.”
Elsewhere in Canada
Other regions of Canada are a little lessorganized than Québec and Ontario intheir efforts to take advantage of photonics, but that doesn’t mean there aren’tglimmers of activity.
The prairie provinces – Alberta,Saskatchewan and Manitoba – have 95photonics companies, employing almost3000 people among the three of them. InBritish Columbia, there are 50 companies,creating more than 2000 jobs.
And even the Atlantic provinces, whichare made up of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Prince EdwardIsland, have a total of eight companiesthat employ more than 300 people amongthem. Collectively, the prairies, the Atlantic provinces and British Columbia generate 796 million CAD, far less than the 3. 6billion CAD raked in by Ontario andQuébec. There do not appear to be anyphotonics companies in the NorthwestTerritories, the Yukon Territory orNunavut.
Several glimmers of photonics activityoutside Ontario and Québec are occurringat institutions such as the University ofAlberta in Edmonton and the NationalResearch Council’s National Institute ofNanotechnology, which also is in Edmonton and is affiliated with the university.There also are photonics groups andprojects at other universities, including theUniversity of Victoria in British Columbia,the University of British Columbia inVancouver and the University of Calgaryin Alberta. The University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon is home to the CanadianLight Source, the national center for synchrotron research.
Because Ontario and Québec have doneso well with the cluster model, the CPC hasencouraged the other provinces to developa focused plan and a dedicated cluster tosupport and promote photonics innovation.