Ontario is partnering with Bioindustrial Innovation Canada to support a new hub in Sarnia-Lambton that is expected to create 400 high-value jobs, strengthen the province’s industrial competitiveness, and raise the profile of Ontario as a world leader in biotechnology.

Ontario will invest $3 million over four years through the Business Growth Initiative to build the Centre of Excellence for the Commercialization of Sustainable Chemistry Innovations at the Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park, Canada’s largest clean-tech incubator. The centre will focus on bridging critical gaps and addressing commercialization challenges faced by the biotechnology sector, including developing expertise, forging commercial partnerships, and accessing risk-capital to help bring discoveries and technologies from the lab to the marketplace.

Biomanufacturing is the process of turning sustainable feedstock — renewable resources such as agricultural and forestry by-products and wastes — into energy, value-added chemicals and materials for use in a variety of everyday products such as plastics, personal care products, automotive parts and food additives. The use of plant-derived chemicals and bio-manufacturing processes can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions when compared to conventional petroleum based production methods. For example, BioAmber, a sustainable chemical company in Sarnia produces plant-derived succinic acid and is able to achieve a 100 per cent reduction in GHGs over conventional methods. Similarly, EcoSynthetix, a Burlington-based renewable chemicals company produces paper coatings while cutting GHG emissions by 63 per cent compared to the norm.The bioeconomy is a growing sector in Ontario as consumers and manufacturers are looking for more environmentally-friendly alternatives in the products that are purchased.

Accelerating the growth of key regional clusters like the bioeconomy in Sarnia-Lambton is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in talent and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history and investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario’s Business Growth Initiative is helping to grow the economy and create jobs by promoting an innovation-based economy, helping small companies scale-up and modernizing regulations for businesses.
  • Ontario’s chemicals sector is the largest in Canada and Sarnia-Lambton is Ontario’s main chemical cluster. The sector accounts for approximately 40 per cent of Canadian shipments and employs 26,000 people.
  • In 2008 Ontario anchored the development of Bioindustrial Innovation Canada through a $10-million contribution that created innovation infrastructure at the Sarnia-Lambton Research Park.
  • In 2011, the province also invested $15 million in BioAmber Inc. to establish the world’s first and largest commercial scale bio-succinic acid plant in Sarnia.
  • According to Pike Research, the global green chemicals market is expected to grow to nearly $100 billion dollars by 2020.
  • Eastern Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area/Niagara also serve as other key chemical clusters in the province.