Canada’s National Quantum Strategy

What's Canada's strategy with quantum computing?

The Government of Canada announced $360 million in funding in Budget 2021 as part of its commitment to developing a National Quantum Strategy.

On January 13, 2023, the Department of Industry published the National Quantum Strategy (the “NQS”), a copy of which is available here, accompanied by a news release found here.

The NQS provides a broad overview of the current and future eco-system of quantum technology in Canada and underscores the importance of innovation: “[a]s the rest of the world expands its own quantum programs, Canada must continue to invest and innovate if it is to stay ahead” and future opportunity: “[t]o remain competitive and expand future opportunities, businesses will need to take advantage of the improved capabilities offered by quantum technologies and help future-proof the economy”.

Three key missions will drive the NQS, namely computing hardware and software, communications, and sensors, as the NQS hopes to benefit from the quantum sector which “according to a study commissioned by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), … will become a $139 billion industry in Canada, with more than 200,000 jobs and $42 billion in returns by 2045, potentially contributing 3% to Canada’s GDP.” [1].

The NQS plans to advance its three key missions through investment in three key pillars: research, talent, and commercialization.

In particular the NQS includes $141 million for research, $45 million for talent, and $169 million for commercialization. The NQS further acknowledges commercialization will require leveraging international partnerships and markets due to Canada’s relatively small domestic market.

In addition to the three key pillars, Stakeholder consultants to the NQS identified the importance of intellectual property in supporting the NQS mission, with the aim to “strike an appropriate balance between restrictiveness and openness to avoid unintended barriers to development, commercialization and international investment”.

Though the NQS presents a significant milestone, it is not the end of the road. The Government of Canada has indicated it will launch additional funding calls, bolster quantum programs, and continue stakeholder discussions to ensure the NQS is a success.

[1]: Socio-Economic Impact of Quantum Technologies in Canada, Doyletech, 2020

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