Home to manufacturing operations for five of the top 10 chemical companies in the world

You’re in good company

Ontario boasts Canada’s largest chemical manufacturing sector—one that is evolving into a global leader in bio-hybrid chemicals.

GreenField specialty alcohols in Chatham, Ontario
GreenField in Chatham, Ontario is the leading specialty alcohols producer in Canada, with a focus on corn-based bulk industrial alcohol, packaged alcohol and fuel ethanol.

We’re home to:

  • 5 of the top 10 global chemical companies operate in Ontario
  • over $21 billion in shipments, with about three-quarters exported to global markets
  • 800+ chemical manufacturing establishments that employ 27,200 people
  • the world’s largest bio-succinic acid production plant
  • the first company in the world to source Marcellus Basin natural gas liquids as ethane cracker feedstock
  • approximately 60% of Canada’s grain corn and soybean supply—key feedstock for biochemical production, and
  • world-renowned industrial biotechnology research and commercialization institutes.

Chemical sector insights

With almost 50% of the country’s total production, Ontario is at the centre of Canada’s chemical manufacturing industry. The sector exports about $16 billion worth of goods and produces over $21 billion in shipments. Most of the activity takes place in three key regions: Sarnia-Lambton, Greater Toronto Area (GTA)/Niagara and Eastern Ontario.

Extensive infrastructure and supply chain

Ontario: an evolving bio-hybrid chemicals cluster

A location map showing the proximity of Sarnia to the Dawn Hub, a key natural gas trading hub in North America, located right in Ontario.
The Dawn Hub is a key natural gas trading hub in North America, located right in Ontario.

Ontario’s chemical sector encompasses the entire value chain—from industrial chemicals to synthetic resins, and from fertilizers and formulated products to petroleum refining. Our industrial biotechnology value chain comprises agricultural and forestry biomass supply, grain corn and soybean mills, midstream biorefineries and biofuel processors as well as downstream biomaterials manufacturers.

On the petrochemical front, Ontario offers direct access to heavy and light crudes, natural gas and natural gas liquids (including ethane) all from North American regions as well as from new, unconventional shale gas sources, such as the Marcellus and Utica basins. NOVA Chemicals, the first company in the world to access Marcellus basin shale gas liquids as feedstock, has converted its Ontario ethylene cracker to handle up to 100% natural gas liquids.

Ontario is also home to the Enbridge Gas Dawn Facility. The Enbridge Gas Dawn Hub is one of the largest integrated natural gas storage facilities in North America. The Dawn Hub has:

  • 100+ companies actively trading
  • All North American energy marketers
  • Directly traded on ICE and NGX

Diverse biomass supply

Feedstocks are renewable, biological materials that can be used directly as fuel, or converted to another form of fuel or energy product. Biomass feedstocks are plant, wood and algal materials used to create biomaterials as well as fuels such as ethanol, butanol, biodiesel and other green hydrocarbon fuels.

Ontario’s large agricultural and forestry sector provides an abundant and diverse supply of biomass feedstock supply for use in biobased chemicals, fuels and materials production. Our agricultural zones offer large volumes of soybeans, grain corn, winter wheat and wood supply.

The province supplies over 14 million cubic metres of harvested wood. And, Southern Ontario produces approximately 60% of Canada’s corn and soybean supply:

Skip This Map
Hectares of Corn
0-5,000 | 5,000-15,000 |
15,000-30,000 | 30,000-50,000 |
50,000-85,000 | Suppressed/No Data
Hectares of Soy
0-5,000 | 5,000-20,000 |
20,000-40,000 | 40,000-60,000 |
60,000-96,000 | Suppressed/No Data

Ontario’s chemical subsectors

Ontario’s chemical industry manufactures products covering the entire value chain—from polymers to alternative fuels, fertilizers to gases and adhesives, and even the components for high-tech fabrics and other goods.

Ontario’s chemical industry manufactures products
Ontario’s chemical subsectors (not exhaustive) Companies
Basic chemicals
(ethylene, aromatics, styrene)
NOVA Chemicals, Imperial Oil, INEOS Styrolution, Birla Carbon, Cabot Canada
Polymers, Resins, Synthetic Rubber, Additives ARLANXEO, Invista, Lanxess, Mancuso
Fertilizer CF Industries
Industrial gases Linde, Air Liquide, Air Products, Praxair, Plains Midstream Canada**
Specialty chemicals
(coatings, adhesives, paper chemicals, water)
Cytec, DuPont, BASF, H.C. Stark, Toda Advanced Materials, Evonik, ERCO
Biobased chemicals and materials LCY Biosciences, Origin Materials, Ingredion, Jungbunzlauer, EcoSynthetix
Petroleum refiners
(diesel; gasoline; jet fuel, e.g., solvents)*
Imperial Oil, Suncor, Shell Canada
* Not classified as Chemical manufacturing but key stakeholders in Ontario’s chemical supply chain.
** NG and NGL transport

Sarnia-Lambton—Ontario’s chemical home base

The Sarnia-Lambton region has the nation’s most concentrated and integrated chemicals cluster comprised of chemical and biochemical production plants as well as petroleum refiners.

The region’s strengths include:

  • close partnerships between industry and provincial academia, such as Western University and Lambton College
  • concentration of skilled trades serving the chemical sector and an industrial supply chain comprised of specialized engineering, machining, environmental services, custom metal fabricating, industrial pipefitting and boiler-making firms
  • multiple pipelines transporting key petrochemical feedstock products, including crude oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids from all major North American supply basins into Ontario, including the nearby Marcellus and Utica Shale Basins
  • brownfield lands with amenities including steam, wastewater treatment and “behind-the-fence” electricity, as well as serviced industrial greenfield lands, and
  • being situated within the province’s key crop growing areas for grain corn and soybean.

An innovative R&D hub. Generous incentives. Overall savings.

World-class R&D and significant financial support

Ontario is recognized globally for outstanding research and academic institutes in the field of industrial biotechnology. We have specialized centres that offer resources such as commercialization, advisory support and R&D matchmaking. A number of commercialization accelerators are available for biochemical innovations. These include Bioindustrial Innovation Canada in Sarnia, the Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre (BDDC) in Guelph, the Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-Economy (CRIBE) in Thunder Bay, GreenCentre Canada in Kingston and MaRS Discovery District in Toronto.

  • Bioindustrial Innovation Canada
  • GreenCentre Canada
  • MaRS Discovery District
  • CRIBE- Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-Economy
  • BBDC - Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre

Academic brilliance

World-renowned Ontario universities are supporting industrial biotechnology research.

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Ontario’s industrial biotechnology research

Skilled workers. Competitive labour costs. World-class education.

Best-in-class education solidifies the future

Throughout the province, 27 universities and colleges award degrees and diplomas in Chemical Engineering, Applied Chemistry and Chemical Process and Production to train the next generation of industry leaders.

Ontario has talent!

Over 35% of Canada’s skilled trade workers reside in Ontario, with the chemical sector employing more than 26,000. In the Sarnia-Lambton region alone, more than 5,000 skilled trades specialize in the construction and servicing of refineries and chemical plants.

A cross-section of Ontario’s skilled trades:

  • boilermaker welders, boilermakers
  • bricklayers, carpenters, cement masons
  • electricians, insulators, ironworkers
  • labourers, millwrights, operator engineers
  • painters, pipefitters, pipe welders
  • rodmen, sheet-metal workers

Global investors choose Ontario

The numbers tell the story: $21.1 billion in total shipments in 2021

Ontario's chemical shipments in $B (2021)
Chemical products Shipments in $B % of Total Shipments
Basic chemicals 6.2 29.36
Resins and synthetic rubbers 5.9 27.88
Agricultural chemicals 0.8 4.17
Paints, coatings 1.7 7.93
Soap and cleaning compounds 3.9 18.20
Other 2.6 12.46
Total 21.1 100.00