Ontario's Bio Advantage: Local Source. Global Strength

Building Strength in Ontario's Biobased Economy

Ontario, Canada is a great place to do business. It is home to one of the largest manufacturing bases in North America and is strategically located, offering access to a large consumer market on both sides of the border.

Ontario's bioproduct markets, range from biofuels and biochemicals to biobased automotive applications. These markets are expanding quickly and the industry is increasingly capitalizing on the growing opportunities for commercial applications. Ontario is already home to 33 per cent of Canada's bioproduct businesses (Stats Can 2009) and as our manufacturing and resource industries work together, new opportunities are arising.

Ontario has many advantages that position it to seize opportunities in the growing global bioproducts' market. With more than 200 commodities grown, the province represents Canada's most diverse agricultural sector. Ontario's universities have attracted world-renowned scientists to conduct bioproduct research and generate commercial uses. Our public and private researchers are unlocking new opportunities for the industry's entrepreneurial producers and processors to develop innovative biobased products with environmental and economic benefits.

Ontario's Bio Advantage is the collective critical mass of biobased industry expertise, agricultural resources, access to large markets, established infrastructure, proven distribution channels, an educated and skilled workforce, and a diverse and integrated manufacturing base.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) is helping to grow Ontario's agricultural-based bioproducts sector by supporting innovative research and building strategic alliances among non-traditional partners along unique supply chains.

Market Opportunities

From on-farm biogas systems to biocomposite materials, OMAFRA are working to identify new opportunities using agricultural-based feedstocks in the production of biobased energy and product manufacturing. Identifying new uses for agricultural products and food processing residues triggers a chain reaction throughout the industry. Agriculture is becoming a key part of new and dynamic manufacturing supply chains and bioenergy systems that help drive economic development for Ontario communities. Ontario is already the location of choice for many companies developing bioproducts, such as:

  • Woodbridge Group - a leading supplier of automotive urethane technologies, including Bio-Foam, a renewable soy-based polyol
  • EcoSynthetix - a renewable chemicals company specializing in biomaterials used in a variety of end products
  • BioAmber - a biochemicals company, who recently chose Ontario for their plant location, will be using plant sugars to produce biosuccinic acid, a key platform chemical that can be used various applications

Collaboration on Innovative Solutions

OMAFRA is dedicated to uncovering new opportunities for Ontario's bioeconomy by supporting a strong research program and collaborations with researchers and industry. OMAFRA supports research in four main areas of the bioeconomy: biomaterials, biochemicals, biofuels and bioenergy.

This is leading to a growing body of knowledge and expertise in purpose-grown biomass crops, specialty oilseeds, conversion technologies and biomaterials.

Ontario's bioproduct companies' investment in research and development (R&D) represents 50 per cent of the national total (Stats Can 2009). Through research programs and partnerships with the Agri-Technology Commercialization Centre, the University of Guelph, and other research institutions, OMAFRA encourages collaboration among industry, government and academic institutions to help bring exciting new products and solutions to the marketplace.

OMAFRA works with farmers to develop feedstocks for use by these emerging bioproduct businesses. The ministry also provides support to these businesses in project development and deployment, and navigation through regulatory approval. OMAFRA also supports industry stakeholders and researchers with applied research and commercialization projects.

Strategic Alliances

New business opportunities often begin with connections. OMAFRA helps strengthen Ontario's Bio Advantage by assisting Ontario private industry and institutions to form strategic alliances with international firms, and foster the development of investment opportunities within the bioproducts' industry. OMAFRA can help Ontario entrepreneurs get engaged in bioproduct development by:

  • connecting players along supply chains
  • supporting Ontario companies that want to transition from non-renewable to biobased inputs
  • assisting foreign companies as they look to invest in Ontario

Ontario offers an excellent business environment that supports the growth of a broad range of manufacturing industries. The province's biobased economy is building momentum with the development of agricultural-based bioproducts. When Ontario's farmers and food processors work with researchers and manufacturers to realize new bioproduct opportunities it shows Ontario's Bio Advantage at work.

Biobased Business Activity Map

Ontario's agricultural-based bioproducts industry is dispersed across southern Ontario.

Map of Ontario's agricultural-based bioproducts industry

Equivalent text for map.

More about Ontario's Bio Advantage:


For more information:
E-mail: research.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 9 August 2011
Last Reviewed: 4 September 2014