Digital technology partnership yields $400-million investment

Today in Ottawa, an exciting new initiative was launched that will lay the groundwork for the first fifth generation wireless, abbreviated 5G, pre-commercial network platform in Canada with ENCQOR (Evolution of Networked Services through a Corridor in Québec and Ontario for Research and Innovation).

ENCQOR is a transformational $400 million partnership that brings together five global digital technology leaders (Ericsson, Ciena Canada Inc., Thales Canada Inc., IBM Canada, and CGI) and provincial coordinators Prompt, CEFRIO, and Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE). This partnership is made possible in part by funding from the Canadian government and the provincial governments of Quebec and Ontario.

Over the next five years, ENCQOR is establishing the first Canadian pre-commercial corridor of 5G wireless communication technologies — the next generation of digital communication and the key to unlocking the massive potential of smart cities, smart grid, e-health, e-education, connected and autonomous vehicles, on-demand entertainment and media, and the Internet of Things (IoT), among others. It will also secure over 4,000 good middle-class jobs, including 1,800 specialized 5G jobs, over the next five years leading to new innovations in wireless telecommunications. In addition, the project is expected to create jobs at SMEs across Ontario and Quebec.

This initiative will develop a world-class collaborative platform for accelerating the transition to game-changing 5G technology in Quebec, Ontario, and Canada by bringing together a wide network of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), industry, government, researchers and academia in both provinces to collaborate on the creation and commercialization of new and disruptive products, processes, and services.

“Technology is changing the way we live, work and engage with one another, and we are in a global innovation race,” says the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. “To prepare for the future, we must be bold, visionary and decisive. That’s why our government is investing in 5G technology. This investment in next-generation wireless technology will help make Canada a global innovation leader and secure 4,000 jobs.”

A public-private partnership in the field of ultra-high-speed communications, ENCQOR will focus on research and innovation in the field of 5G disruptive technologies, on adoption initiatives and system uses. With download speeds up to 100 times faster than current 4G technology, 5G and ENCQOR will transform the capabilities of SMEs to create and compete in the global marketplace.

“The Government of Quebec is proud to contribute to the success of the ENCQOR project, which will create an important synergy between businesses—particularly businesses in the information and communications technologies sector—and the research and innovation community,” says Dominique Anglade, Quebec Deputy Premier, Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation, and Minister responsible for the Digital Strategy. “We are banking on such collaborations, like those also made possible by the Quebec Digital Strategy and the 2017–2022 Quebec Research and Innovation Strategy, to make Quebec a leader in innovation and the development of cutting-edge digital technologies. Boldness, creativity and an innovative spirit are the hallmarks of Quebec, and it will now have a strong presence in the new reality brought on by 5G.”

“This exciting 5G initiative will help our businesses here in Ontario—and across Canada—capitalize on the vast potential of high-speed communications technology to expand their horizons, accelerate their innovation, and transform the way we all live and do business,” says Reza Moridi, Ontario’s Minister of Research, Innovation and Science.

Using a collaborative approach, ENCQOR will see SMEs engaged in calls for projects and other streams together with industry partners in order to accelerate the development and adoption of transformative technologies that allow Central Canada to build the backbone of the next generation of digital infrastructure.

Quick Facts

  • ENCQOR establishes the first Canadian pre-commercial corridor of 5G wireless communication technologies — the key to accelerating the transition to game-changing 5G technology.
  • ENCQOR’s cutting-edge platforms will leverage 5G to empower entrepreneurs and SMEs to develop and export a new wave of creative products and services in areas such as smart cities, e-health, connected and autonomous vehicles, fintech, cybersecurity, the Internet of Things (IoT) and others.
  • This project will establish a world-class collaborative platform in Canada for ICT and digital technology research, innovation, and application demonstration, involving dozens of universities, colleges and research centres in both provinces, coming together on a unique open innovation research infrastructure in which 5G, cloud computing, and big data are the dominant technologies of interest.


  • “The introduction of 5G will enable new services, new ecosystems, and new revenue streams for operators across Canada. R&D work done here in Canada has been a large contributor to Ericsson’s global leadership in 5G already, and we are excited to now bring this innovative work to Canada as part of the ENCQOR partnership.”- Graham Osborne, Head of Ericsson Canada
  • “The ENCQOR project will enable a significant step in the evolution and commercialization of 5G, and we look forward to working with these partners to drive forward this next generation of mobile networks. Ciena’s expertise in packet, optical and software-enabled technologies plays a key role in creating more adaptive networks accelerating the adoption of 5G.”- Scott McFeely, Senior Vice President, Ciena
  • “ENCQOR reflects the tireless commitment of Canada’s technology leaders working together with the federal government, and the Quebec and Ontario governments to bring next generation 5G technology to solutions that we rely on every day. From a safer commute to smarter cities, this partnership reflects Thales’ continued commitment to Canadian innovation in four key domains - connectivity, big data, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity which will support the creation of new 5G solutions to make life better and keep us safer.”– Mark Halinaty, President and CEO, Thales Canada
  • “Our development initiatives in silicon photonics packaging are an integral part of IBM’s continued innovation. We view the support through the ENCQOR consortium as an important way to transform industries through the assembly of key components in high bandwidth networks. We look forward to working with our partners within the consortium and collaborating together to create the essential components that will be at the heart of 5G networks.”- Louis Labelle, Director-in-Chief of Bromont Plant, IBM Canada
  • “At CGI, we understand that partnership is essential to driving innovation for our clients, and this project is a great example of partnership in action. Through this pioneering initiative, we have an opportunity to develop innovative solutions that will help worldwide organizations becoming digital. CGI is excited to be a part of this work, and we look forward to the many advantages it will deliver to our clients.”- Michael Godin, Senior Vice-President, CGI

About Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc.OCE drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research across key market sectors to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario's global competitiveness. In doing this, OCE fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario's industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, investors and governments. A champion of leading-edge technologies, best practices and research, OCE invests in sectors such as advanced health, digital media and information communications, advanced manufacturing and materials, and cleantech including energy, environment and water. OCE is a key partner in delivering Ontario's Innovation Agenda as a member of the province’s Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE). Funded by the Government of Ontario, the ONE is made up of regional and sector-focused organizations and helps Ontario-based entrepreneurs rapidly grow their company and create jobs.

About CEFRIOCEFRIO is a research and innovation organization that supports public and private organizations as they transform their processes and business practices through the appropriation and use of digital technologies. CEFRIO is a member of QuébecInnove and has a mandate from the Government of Quebec to contribute to the advancement of Quebec society through digital technology. It conducts research, experiments and surveys, and raises awareness of the uses for digital technologies in every aspect of society. Its work relies on the contributions of its experienced team, a network of over 90 associated researchers as well as the commitment of more than 250 members. CEFRIO’s primary financial partner is Quebec’s Ministère de l’Économie, de la Science et de l’Innovation.

About PromptPrompt is a not-for-profit corporation that supports the creation of partnerships and the setting up of R & D projects between companies and the institutional research community (universities, CCTT and public research centers). The projects financed cover all ICT sub-sectors and cover both software and hardware development as well as the development of components, networks and applications.

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