||Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa appear as the top three Canadian scientific and technological centres. R&D divisions of private or public industrial corporations, governmental laboratories, universities, and higher education institutions play a great part in the formation and development of these technology-oriented complexes. Key technology industries are strongly operative; however, traditional industrial sectors (e.g., wood, pulp and paper, energy, food products) are also innovative, particularly in Montreal and Toronto.
In every centre, the innovation process presents some distinctive characteristics. What with the laboratories of federal ministries and agencies, and the R&D plants of technologically advanced large corporations, Ottawa distinguishes itself by telecommunications, electronics instruments, and defence systems. Aeronautic and spatial industries form the largest scope of innovation processes in Montreal, although R&D in energy, pulp and paper, and transportation equipments are also important activities. In Toronto, the higher-level innovation functions are concentrated in several industrial sectors: electronics (more particularly computer and software development), aeronautic, chemical and pharmaceutical goods, energy, food products and automobile parts.
Input-output linkages are limited between these three technology-oriented complexes. Only a few Canadian industrial corporations have separate R&D plants located in two cities, and more rarely, three. Federal laboratories are especially concentrated in Ottawa, and provincial R&D centres in Toronto and Montreal. On the contrary, more important linkages exist between each complex and its foreign counterparts, or within each complex, thanks to large, highly skilled labour markers, and spin-off and subcontracting activities.