Ontario boasts Canada’s largest chemical manufacturing sector—one that is evolving into a global leader in bio-hybrid chemicals.
We’re home to:
With almost 50% of the country’s total production, Ontario is at the centre of Canada’s chemical manufacturing industry. The sector exports about $16 billion worth of goods and produces over $21 billion in shipments. Most of the activity takes place in three key regions: Sarnia-Lambton, Greater Toronto Area (GTA)/Niagara and Eastern Ontario.
Ontario’s chemical sector encompasses the entire value chain—from industrial chemicals to synthetic resins, and from fertilizers and formulated products to petroleum refining. Our industrial biotechnology value chain comprises agricultural and forestry biomass supply, grain corn and soybean mills, midstream biorefineries and biofuel processors as well as downstream biomaterials manufacturers.
On the petrochemical front, Ontario offers direct access to heavy and light crudes, natural gas and natural gas liquids (including ethane) all from North American regions as well as from new, unconventional shale gas sources, such as the Marcellus and Utica basins. NOVA Chemicals, the first company in the world to access Marcellus basin shale gas liquids as feedstock, has converted its Ontario ethylene cracker to handle up to 100% natural gas liquids.
Ontario is also home to the Enbridge Gas Dawn Facility. The Enbridge Gas Dawn Hub is one of the largest integrated natural gas storage facilities in North America. The Dawn Hub has:
Feedstocks are renewable, biological materials that can be used directly as fuel, or converted to another form of fuel or energy product. Biomass feedstocks are plant, wood and algal materials used to create biomaterials as well as fuels such as ethanol, butanol, biodiesel and other green hydrocarbon fuels.
Ontario’s large agricultural and forestry sector provides an abundant and diverse supply of biomass feedstock supply for use in biobased chemicals, fuels and materials production. Our agricultural zones offer large volumes of soybeans, grain corn, winter wheat and wood supply.
The province supplies over 14 million cubic metres of harvested wood. And, Southern Ontario produces approximately 60% of Canada’s corn and soybean supply:
Ontario’s chemical industry manufactures products covering the entire value chain—from polymers to alternative fuels, fertilizers to gases and adhesives, and even the components for high-tech fabrics and other goods.
The Sarnia-Lambton region has the nation’s most concentrated and integrated chemicals cluster comprised of chemical and biochemical production plants as well as petroleum refiners.
The region’s strengths include:
Ontario is recognized globally for outstanding research and academic institutes in the field of industrial biotechnology. We have specialized centres that offer resources such as commercialization, advisory support and R&D matchmaking. A number of commercialization accelerators are available for biochemical innovations. These include Bioindustrial Innovation Canada in Sarnia, the Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre (BDDC) in Guelph, the Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-Economy (CRIBE) in Thunder Bay, GreenCentre Canada in Kingston and MaRS Discovery District in Toronto.
World-renowned Ontario universities are supporting industrial biotechnology research.
Throughout the province, 27 universities and colleges award degrees and diplomas in Chemical Engineering, Applied Chemistry and Chemical Process and Production to train the next generation of industry leaders.
Over 35% of Canada’s skilled trade workers reside in Ontario, with the chemical sector employing more than 26,000. In the Sarnia-Lambton region alone, more than 5,000 skilled trades specialize in the construction and servicing of refineries and chemical plants.
A cross-section of Ontario’s skilled trades:
The numbers tell the story: $21.1 billion in total shipments in 2021