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FDI 101 – Priority industries for FDI in Canada

Woman in lab coat in greenhouse
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Invest in Canada

Industries must adapt and often undergo significant transformation to keep up in a rapidly changing world.  This need for innovation occurs in all economic sectors across Canada. By supporting growth and innovation, foreign direct investment (FDI) plays a central role in Canadian communities from coast to coast to coast. 

As Canada’s investment attraction and promotion agency, Invest in Canada seeks to attract the best investments by working with global companies to expand to Canada and help create a better, more prosperous future for Canadians. 

Funding innovative green technologies 

To start with, FDI is crucial for Canada to fund the development of new technologies and industries that help reduce carbon emissions. Canada’s cleantech R&D ecosystem, combined with a highly skilled and educated workforce, is drawing global companies looking to expand and develop low-carbon solutions.  

An example of how new technologies can help Canada and the world achieve a cleaner future is Pennsylvania-based Air Products. In 2021, the company announced a $1.6 billion plan to build e landmark net-zero hydrogen energy complex in Edmonton. 

Mining critical minerals and manufacturing ev batteries 

The burgeoning electric vehicle (EV) industry is also an important one for Canada’s future. As the only country in the Western Hemisphere with the potential to form a true start-to-finish electric vehicle supply chain, Canada has a leg up on the competition in this developing and transformative industry.  

Thanks to abundant resources and its commitment to ESG principles, Canada is attracting the interest of domestic and global companies alike. 

Already, a string of announcements by major international players is paving the way to a brand-new green industry. This includes an investment by Korea-based LG Energy Solution in a joint venture with Netherlands-based auto manufacturer Stellantis to build a major electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility in Windsor. In July 2022, Belgium-based Umicore announced a $1.5 billion investment in an EV battery facility in Loyalist, Ontario. Located just west of Kingston, the plant will produce the vital EV battery materials critical to Canada’s increasingly significant role in the EV revolution.  

Growing Canada’s agriculture legacy 

When it comes to agriculture, Canada has a long, rich tradition – from British Columbia wines to Prairie pulses and Atlantic lobster. To build on this heritage, forward-looking investments in food and ag-tech are crucial to meet the world’s growing need for sustainable food alternatives. For example, France-based Roquette’s investment to build the world’s largest pea protein plant in Manitoba will ensure Canada contributes to diversifying protein sources in the decades to come. Canada has also become a global centre for innovation in agritech, agri-food and sustainable agriculture. All this activity makes Canada a top choice for highly skilled workers and global companies. In 2021, over $1.6 billion in investments were announced for the sector.  

Making advances in life sciences and biotechnology 

Canada’s recognized life sciences industry provides stimulating, well-paid jobs, and includes world-class research institutions, business incubators and healthcare institutions. That’s thanks in part to global companies that have invested more than $4.8 billion into the industry since 2017. Switzerland-based Roche invested $500 million in 2020 to establish a global technical operations site.  France-based Sanofi invested more than $800 million‎ in a vaccine manufacturing facility in 2021. 

Want to learn more about the basics of FDI? See our articles FDI 101 – What is FDI? and FDI 101 – How collaboration propels FDI into Canada