$360M for new National Quantum Strategy announced at Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ont.

François-Philippe Champagne (front right) was given a tour of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ont. ahead of the announcement.  (James Chaarani/CBC - image credit)
François-Philippe Champagne (front right) was given a tour of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ont. ahead of the announcement. (James Chaarani/CBC - image credit)

The federal government is pledging $360 million to create a national quantum strategy to support the work of scientists and researchers across Canada.

This investment will lead to an estimated 150 to 200 thousand jobs nationally, federal minister of innovation, science and industry François-Philippe Champagne said in making the announcement at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ont. on Friday.

The Perimeter Institute is a facility dedicated to the research, training and educational outreach in theoretical physics.

Champagne said the strategy will do three things:

  • Amplify Canada's existing strength in quantum research.

  • Grow quantum technologies, companies and talent.

  • Solidify Canada's global leadership in these emerging technologies.

"Quantum technologies will shape the course of the future and that's why it's important for Canada to lead," Champagne said during the announcement.

Champagne said that such research can relate to innovations in things like energy, transportation and pharmaceuticals.

"We need to bring Canadian along in what we're going to be doing and tell them why quantum matters to them," he said.

James Chaarani/CBC
James Chaarani/CBC

Quantum physics: 'Study of the uncertain'

Lauren Hayward, who is a quantum matter researcher and faculty member at the Perimeter Institute, objected to the idea that quantum physics is the study of the unknown when asked by CBC News.

"Rather than saying it's the study of the unknown — because I think there are many researchers that understand many aspects of quantum physics very well — I would rather say it's the study of the uncertain," she said.

"Because when we switch to thinking about quantum physics, we really have to start thinking more about probabilities and outcomes that we're not completely certain about and incorporate this probabilistic nature."

Any research that does happen is based on solid theories, Hayward said.