Federal government strives to make Canada a global leader in Quantum technologies

François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry announces funding for the new National Quantum Strategy at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo. Screenshot courtesy of the Canadian Science Facebook page.

The federal government is creating a new National Quantum Strategy to position the country as a global leader in quantum technology.

Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, visited the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo on January 13 to announce the new strategy would be backed by $360 million in funding.

He said the strategy will do three things.

“It will amplify Canada’s existing strength in quantum research, it will help grow quantum technologies, companies, and talent, and finally it will solidify Canada’s global leadership in these emerging technologies,” Champagne said.

A statement released following the announcement added that the National Quantum Strategy will be driven by three missions in key quantum technology areas: computing hardware and software, communications, and sensors.

The strategy will look to advance those objectives with investments in three key areas: research, talent, and commercialization.

The strategy includes the formation of a Quantum Advisory Council co-chaired by Dr. Stephanie Simmons, Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Canada Research Chair in Silicon Quantum Technologies at Simon Fraser University and founder and Chief Quantum Officer of Photonic Inc., and Dr. Raymond Laflamme, Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and Canada Research Chair in Quantum Information at the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo.

“It is great to see that several leading quantum companies here in Canada already offer high-paying jobs and the advantage of attracting exceptional scientists and engineers from all over the world,” Simmons told the audience at the Perimeter Institute. “Firms like these will explode in scale and number. Global leadership in this sector is decided in moments like these.”

The National Research Council of Canada estimates that by 2045, quantum technology will be a $139 billion dollar industry and account for more than 209 thousand jobs in Canada. Champagne gave the example of Xanadu Quantum Technologies, home of the world’s only quantum computer, where they are working on battery chemistry.

“So for folks in the street who wonder why would that matter, well you know what?,” asked Champagne. “Because we are leading in the world in terms of the [electric] vehicle. The world is looking at [Xanadu] to shorten the time in research and development for batteries. That is a very direct application that is supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs in our country.”