SILICAN, an alliance comprising chip industry and postsecondary associations, has recently released "First Steps for Canada," which outlines the roadmap for Canada's ambition in the global semiconductor industry. The alliance aims to ensure that Canada capitalizes on the opportunities arising from North American semiconductor re-shoring and establishes a sustainable path for the industry's success, contributing to Canadian prosperity in the long run.

The "First Steps for Canada" document identifies several key policy objectives. Firstly, it emphasizes building upon Canada's existing strengths, particularly in areas such as compound semiconductors, advanced assembly, packaging and testing, and sensor technologies. The National Research Council's Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre (CPFC) facility is highlighted as a potential pivotal component of the Northeast Microelectronics Corridor. With appropriate investments and a governance model centered around commercial success, the CPFC could become a truly unique asset for Canada.

Secondly, the document emphasizes the need to scale up Canadian companies. Targeted investments and collaborations with industry experts would address capital gaps, deepen capital pools, and help domestic firms become global players in the semiconductor industry.

Lastly, growing the talent pool is recognized as a crucial objective. This involves funding talent development initiatives such as scholarships, co-ops, and internships, as well as supporting research in semiconductor fields and providing institutions with information to forecast talent needs and demand. By securing the necessary talent, Canada can ensure its competitiveness in the semiconductor industry.

The alliance urges the government to prioritize people and implement policies that make working in the chip industry an attractive option across the talent spectrum. Collaboration between governments and industry is also encouraged to accurately forecast future needs and facilitate talent development.

The SILICAN alliance comprises various organizations, including the Council of Canadian Innovators, CMC Microsystems, Deep Tech Canada, Canada's Semiconductor Council Alliance for Semiconductor Innovation Canada (ASIC), Optonique, U15 Group of Research Universities, Canadian Innovation Network, and SECTR. These organizations collaborate with federal and provincial governments to develop a made-in-Canada action plan for strategic leadership in the global semiconductor value chain.