Browser Compatibility Notification
It appears you are trying to access this site using an outdated browser. As a result, parts of the site may not function properly for you. We recommend updating your browser to its most recent version at your earliest convenience.


| Print Link

car assembly line

"Manufacturing is all about people and I believe that we have some of the best people in the world right here in Waterloo Region. That is why we have been so successful."

Ray Tanguay, Retired Chair of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada

The Waterloo Region is well known for the strength of its automotive and advanced manufacturing industries. As a crucial part of the Regional economy, automotive manufacturing produced vehicles and auto parts worth $8 billion in the Waterloo Region in 2014 (or $22 million per day).

The automotive manufacturing industry thrives from bleeding-edge technology and materials developed by research institutes including Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research (WatCAR), Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Enegy (WISE) as well as Centre for Advanced Materials Joining (CAMJ). Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada produced its first car in Cambridge in 1988.

Next Generation Cars - The Green Push

Researchers at institutions in the Waterloo Region are at the forefront of the green revolution's convergence with the auto industry. General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Decoma, Intier and Linamar all conduct R&D in the Waterloo Region because all the ingredients needed for success are here: leading minds working at world-class research facilities; exceptional R&D tax credits; and effective technology transfer programs (including amenable intellectual property rights access from Region academic institutions).

Culture of Collaboration

Waterloo Region is home to numerous business & technology initiatives which further the development of technologies created within this rich entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research (WATCAR) - Based in University of Waterloo's Faculty of Engineering - Canada's largest and best engineering school, WatCAR conducts leading-edge research for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) including Chrysler, Ford, Honda, General Motors, Toyota, Automotive Parts Manufacturers (Tiers l, ll and lll), as well as Material Suppliers to develop lighter, cheaper and greener vehicles of tomorrow.

Conestoga College -  Conestoga College is Ontario's fastest-growing college and a recognized leader in polytechnic education. Through the partnership with industry collaborators including Honeywell, Toyota, BlackBerry, and ATS, Conestoga College's trades and apprenticeship programs injects a highly knowledgeable and experienced workforce into the automotive manufacturing industry.

Centre for Advanced Materials Joining (CAMJ) - CAMJ develops new and innovative technologies for materials joining, including microjoining, nanojoining, welding for automotive applications. With cutting edge laboratory facilities and research areas, CAMJ collaborates with leading companies in the automotive manufacuturing industry such as Ford, and GM for research and development.

Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) - WIN is at the forefront of science and technology to transform research into realworld application, one molecule at a time. It drives the design, fabrication and commercialization of advanced materials and structures and enables new, greener and more cost-effective solutions for automotive manufacturers. The institute's co-operative education program, with over 500 students, is by far the largest in North America.

Manufacturing Innovation Network (MIN) - MIN is a free online network for the manufacturers of Waterloo Region and their local counterparts. It is aimed at connecting key stakeholder groups within the manufacturing sector to strengthen the local supply chain, post job openings and create a more responsive and globally competitive manufacturing community.

Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE) - WISE solves immediate problems in a timely way and provides leadership to shape the long-term evolution of sustainable energy systems. The diverse research topics range from renewable energy technology to smarter demand management, from economic modelling to carbon capture and storage. WISE is a recognized leader in promoting innovation through research in the development and deployment of sustainable energy systems, including hybrid and fuel cell vehicle power systems and new technologies for diesel engines. Key areas of research include the Green Auto Powertrain project.

Centre for Intelligent Antenna & Radio Systems (CIARS) - CIARS is a world-class electromagnetic device and communications/sensing system development-characterization facility at the University of Waterloo. It consists of an anechoic chamber, four interconnected indoor labs, one outdoor lab, and a highly advanced computational facility.

Skilled Workforce

  • Highest rate of post-secondary education among the OECD countries
  • University of Waterloo offers 13 different, 5 year co-op engineering programs with core disciplines like chemical, electrical and software engineering, systems design, nanotechnology and mechatronics
  • Conestoga College's school of trades and apprenticeship outputs annually approximately 1000 on-the-job trained and experienced labor force
  • 65,000 post-secondary students including over 24,000 co-operative education students at the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College 

Business Advantages

  • Corporate tax rate is lower than the G8 and G20 average as well as within the U.S.
  • CME SMART Prosperity Now funding provides SMEs manufacturers in Southern Ontario who look to enhance productivity, improve production technologies as well as expand export opportunities
  • Combined with federal Scienctific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax incentive program, Ontario's research and development (R&D) tax program reduces every $100 R&D in spending to about $56, or $38 for SMEs
  • $250 million for Automotive Innovation Fund to support automotive firms' strategic, large-scale R&D projects to build more fuel-efficient vehicles
  • Ontario BioAuto Council Commercialization Fund for biobased products and processes using emerging green technologies
  • $200 million from Ontario Advanced Manufacturing Fund for activities that create new and innovative products or production methods
  • Ontario Centres of Excellence's Technology Transfer Partnerships program strengthens the linkage between research institutions and the business sector
  • Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit in Ontario provides up to $10,000 per year for companies who hire and train employees in certain skilled trades
  • Labour costs in Waterloo Region are lower than in U.S., UK, France, Italy, Germany, Netherlands and Japan

Fast Facts

  • The auto industry employs over 10,900 people in Waterloo Region (2015)
  • University of Waterloo has Canada's largest engineering school offering the largest co-operative program of its kind in the world, graduating "workplace ready" individuals
  • Conestoga College's School of Trades and Apprenticeship is the centre of apprenticeship and skills training in Waterloo Region, offering a comprehensive array of hands-on trades and apprenticeship programs in machining, welding, electrical technology, motive power and metal fabrication
  • Waterloo Region manufacturers benefit from its proximity to the US market with 158 million people within one day's drive through 6 border crossings, and are supported by state-of-the-art transportation and logistics infrastructure

Resource Document

Canada's Competitve Advantages - Automotive (2014)