Canada announces semiconductor investment

Project comes after visit by US President Joe Biden

Canada's Minister of Innovation, Science and Commerce, Francois-Philippe Champagne. AFP
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Canada on Monday announced a C$36 million ($26 million) contribution to help boost the country's supply of semiconductor products and services.

The money will go to Ottawa-based Ranovus, which is developing technology to help power artificial intelligence work, Canada's innovation fund said.

“Through this investment, we are supporting Canadian innovators, helping create good jobs and IP, and developing Canada’s semiconductor industry to build a more resilient economy,” said Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

Massive growth in AI systems means the computing power needed to train them has increased by 300,000 times over the past five years, Ranovus chief executive Hamid Arabzadeh said.

With this contribution from the government, Ranovus will increase its highly skilled workforce in Canada to 200 full-time employees.

The announcement follows a visit to Canada last week by US President Joe Biden.

He and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a joint pledge to stand together against authoritarian regimes in part by reducing their dependence on other countries for semiconductors and critical minerals.

The Canadian government will spend C$250 million on its domestic semiconductor industry to boost research and development and manufacturing, Mr Trudeau's office said.

The announcement came as IBM signalled its intent to expand in Canada.

Updated: March 27, 2023, 11:40 PM