10 clusters of excellence in high-value sectors


Industrial clusters with rallying projects for an innovative economy

10 industrial clusters that bring together all the stakeholders in a given sector around common objectives and actions

  • Strong concentration of world leaders, qualified workers and dedicated research centres
  • Numerous foreign investments and plenty of business opportunities
  • 20% of total metropolitan region employment, or more than 400,000 jobs

Secretariats, the organizations dedicated to developing the clusters, support businesses in various ways, such as:

  • By providing forums to discuss common issues
  • By enabling key industry stakeholders to mobilize for major projects

Excellence in aerospace

A few words from the cluster secretariat Aéro Montréal

The Montréal metropolitan region comprises almost all of Québec’s aerospace industry. This represents a critical mass of businesses, universities and research centres—making Montréal one of the world’s three main aerospace centres, along with seattle and Toulouse.

Québec benefits from the presence of four prime contractors that invest massively in R&D. Around this critical mass gravitates more than 200 businesses that are recognized for their flexibility, innovativeness, and quality workforce — including some 15 international- caliber equipment manufacturers and integrators.

“Aerospace has been part of Montréal’s DNA since aviation’s earliest days and this will never change. Today, our cluster boasts a concentration of businesses in a 30-km radius and outstanding links with educational institutions and the government. We are also fortunate to have key actors that are extremely well positioned at every step of the aerospace value chain. From design to maintenance and after-sales service, as well as manufacturing and final assembly, Québec’s aerospace industry comprises all critical aircraft lifecycle phases.”  Suzanne M. Benoît, President, Aéro Montréal

Over 39,130 highly qualified workers in 205 companies

Sales of $15.5 billion: an average annual growth of 5,2% over the last 25 years (1991-2016)

Canada’s largest aerospace centre, with:
45% of Canadian aerospace workforce
70% of all Canadian aerospace R&D
52% of Canadian aerospace industry sales

A financial aid program for strategic aerospace initiatives 

Numerous leading international companies:
Bell Helicopter Textron
Bombardier Aerospace
Pratt & Whittney
and many others

Source: Ministry of Economy, Science and Innovation, 2016

For more information, see the section on aerospace

Excellence in aluminium (AluQuébec)

A few words from the cluster secretariat AluQuébec

Québec’s aluminium industry enjoys international visibility, due to the presence of Alcoa, Rio Tinto and Alouette. Together, these world-class primary aluminium producers operate 9 smelters in the province that produce 2.9 million metric tons of primary aluminium, or 60% of total North American production.

Building on this foundation, the province has developed an aluminium industry ecosystem, which now makes up the Québec Aluminium Cluster.

Aluminum processing accounts for $ 6.7 billion in sales, +1,400 innovative manufacturing SMEs and 17,000 skilled jobs in the aerospace, automotive, sustainable construction and machinery markets and infrastructure.

The mapping of the Québec aluminium processing industry commissioned by AluQuébec inventoried

+1400 businesses

923 manufacturers

684 suppliers

13 industries that all make use of aluminium

75 equipment manufacturers

Source :

Excellence in artificial intelligence (Mila – Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute)

A few words from the cluster secretariat Mila – Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute

The Mila – Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute was set up in July 2017. This NPO is the result of collaboration between the Université de Montreal and McGill University and has close links with Polytechnique Montréal and HEC Montréal. Mila has a seasoned board of directors and has appointed Valérie Pisano as President and CEO and Yoshua Bengio as Scientific Director. Its new mission covers the following four components:

  • Training
  • Academic research
  • Technology transfer
  • Social dialogue

Greater Montréal, world leader in Artificial intelligence

For more information, see the section on artificial intelligence

Sources : Gestion des données sur l’effectif universitaire (GDEU), Analyse KPMG; TechnoMontréal, 2016; Ministère de l'Éducation et de l'Enseignement supérieur, 2016, compilation Montréal International.

Excellence in audiovisual (Action Montréal)

A few words from the cluster secretariat ActionMTL

Québec is recognized around the world for its talented and creative workforce. Reporting to the Québec film and Television Council, ACTIONMTL, the secretariat of Montréal’s audiovisual cluster, was set up in 2012 to promote the inventive potential of Montréal’s leaders in the sector and consolidate the region’s position as a major international production centre.

Combining European charm with North American modernity, Montréal can stand in for any large western city and Old Montréal offers myriad of possibilities for period shoots — two remarkable attributes.

“In addition to an incredible variety of backdrops and decors, we provide competitive tax credits on creation and production labour costs. When you add our infrastructures, technological resources and wide pool of specialized talent in every visual effects field, we can offer foreign producers the ability to make any type of production that they need. Already a leading production centre, we are now the fourth-largest visual effects centre in the world and we will continue our ascension.”

Hans Fraikin, General Manager of ACTIONMTL and Commissioner of the Québec Film and Television Council

35,000 jobs in more than 500 companies 

More than $250 million in direct economic spin-offs annually 

Tax incentives of up to 44% for production services

One of canada’s biggest film studios just 5 minutes from downtown 

Numerous international visual effects leaders:

  • Digital Dimension 
  • Framestore
  • Hybride 
  • Modus Rodéo FX 
  • Mokko 
  • and many others

For more information, see the section on audiovisual

Source: Bureau du cinéma et de la télévision du Québec, 2013

Excellence in fashion (mmode)

A few words from the cluster secretariat mmode

The fashion industry has a rich history in Montréal’s metropolitan region and throughout Québec, and it generates significant economic activity and employment.

Though the industry has been deeply affected by globalization, it has been able to reinvent itself through new business models and the inclusion of more and more world-class players. It sets itself apart via innovation, inventiveness, design and the know-how of its workforce.

In short, this is an industry whose success, renewal and future rely on innovation, creativity, collaboration and the ability to quickly embrace progress and change.

“The metropolitan fashion cluster mmode’s mandate is to stimulate the growth of Montréal’s fashion industry and improve its competitiveness, by acting as the main platform for exchanges and collaboration in Québec. “

Debbie Zakaib, Executive Director, mmode

82,540 jobs* in Québec’s fashion sector , of which 58% are in the Greater Montréal area**

$8 billion total sales for manufactured goods, and wholesale distribution in Québec, excluding retail sales***

1,846 establishments in the fashion sector across Québec***

48% Canadian production
Nearly half of Canada’s manufacturing jobs in the fashion industry are in Québec. Montréal ranks 3rd in clothing manufacturing in North America after New York and Los Angeles.***

Source :
* Including retail
** “Diagnostic des besoins en main-d’œuvre et adéquation formation emploi – Secteur de la mode ”, CEM document, 2017
*** “Rapport du groupe de travail mode et vêtement”, 2013

Excellence in finance (Finance Montréal)

A few words from the cluster secretariat Finance Montréal

Montréal is the home base of the Canadian Derivatives Exchange and an up-and-coming financial centre. The sector’s business volume has made finance Montréal a premier industrial cluster in Québec. Along with Toronto, Montréal is the only Canadian city offering a full range of financial services.

Active since 2011, Finance Montréal promotes the region’s various assets to organizations in the financial sector. these assets include the region’s competitive costs, tax credits, pool of students and proximity to North America’s largest financial centres.

Within the next few years, this ecosystem’s four major development hubs are expected to consist of pension plans, derivatives, financial technology and financing for major infrastructure projects.

“This awareness of our strengths is recent, and we still have work to do in terms of perceptions. Our achievements so far include creating the Montréal Institute of Structured Finance and Derivatives and the first FINTECH Financial technology forum in 2013. We’re only just getting started!”

Éric Lemieux, Chief Executive Officer of Finance Montréal and International Financial Centre of Montréal.

100,000 jobs in 3,000 organizations

6.2% of the metropolitan region’s GDP

The 16tlargest international financial centre according to Global Financial Centres Index 2013

Attractive refundable tax credit for international financial centres 

Top organizations:

  • National Bank
  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • TD Bank
  • Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec
  • BMO Financial Group
  • Desjardins Group
  • Standard Life
  • and many others

For more information, see the section on finance

Source: Statistics Canada, 2012

 Excellence in logistics and transportation (CargoM)

A few words from the cluster secretariat CargoM

Montréal’s logistics and transportation cluster, CargoM, was set up in December 2012 to promote the metropolitan region’s role as a recognized and attractive multi-modal platform.

As a freight transportation hub strategically located in Eastern North America, Montréal boasts a high concentration of air, maritime, road and rail transportation companies and transit operations firms.

The region is also home to top-notch expertise, experienced workers and specialized institutions such as the Interuniversity Research Centre on Enterprise Networks, Logistics and Transportation (CIRRELT), the Montréal International Logistics Institute and HEC Montréal’s Carrefour logistique.

“Montréal offers numerous benefits that assure the region’s continued prosperity in this field: rapid intermodality, extensive seaway access providing economic and environmental advantages, proximity to the continent’s major markets, ease of access to other major markets, and know-how. We now need to strengthen ties And establish performance indicators for the sectors as a whole to promote out competitive advantages globally”

Mathieu Charbonneau, Executive Director, CargoM

62,000 jobs at 4,000 establishments

A natural access point to Europe

Efficient infrastructure networks providing access to 460 million NAFTA consumers


  • Air Canada
  • Canadian National
  • Canadian Pacific
  • Groupe Robert
  • Logistec
  • Oceanex
  • Purolator
  • Transforce
  • UPS
  • and many others

For more information, see the section on logistics and transportation

Source: Statistics Canada, 2013

Excellence in Life Sciences and Health Technologies (LSHT) (Montréal InVivo)

A few words from the cluster secretariat Montréal InVivo

Montréal has one of the highest concentrations of jobs in the Life sciences and Health Technologies sector in North America. It is also the only place in Canada—and one of the few in the world—where a company can complete the entire drug creation process, from basic research to marketing.

The completion of two mega-hospitals—currently the largest hospital infrastructure investment in the world—will further extend the profile of this cluster, which is already active in every sub-sector of its industry.

“Our cluster is also distinguished by the spirit of open communication and the multidisciplinarity among the various stakeholders in our ecosystem, exemplified by the creation of the Québec Consortium for Drug Discovery, the NEOMED Institute and the Personalized Medicine Partnership for Cancer. Several major projects have become hugely successful in recent decades, and Montréal InVivo will do its part to encourage more of them, notably in its priority areas of excellence.”

Nathalie Ouimet, Acting General Manager, Montréal Invivo

45,000 jobs in 600 facilities

More than 12,000 researchers and professionals in 300 public and para-public organizations

A cost advantage of more than 14% for businesses in the sector, compared to competing cities

A tax burden for R&D companies that is 2 to 5 times lower than in competing cities

Internationally-renowned companies:

  • Covidien
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Halo
  • Charles River Laboratories
  • Preclinical Services Montréal
  • Medtronic of Canada
  • Merck
  • Pfizer Canada
  • Pharmascience
  • Quintiles
  • Sandoz Canada
  • and many others

For more information, see the section on Life Sciences and Health Technologies (LSHT)

Sources: Statistics Canada, 2012 and Expertise recherche Québec, 2012

Excellence in information and communications technologies (ICT) (TechnoMontréal)

A few words from the cluster secretariat TechnoMontréal 

Greater Montréal’s highly diversified Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) cluster continues to experience strong growth and is expected to attract a substantial amount of foreign investment in the coming years.

The software and services sectors account for around 50% of its activities, which make it an important horizontal cluster with ramifications in a multitude of activity sectors.

While often cited as a multimedia capital, Montréal is also one of the three largest centres of excellence in the immersion sector.

“We are fortunate that we can count on the rapid mobilization of our partners when the time comes to take a position or participate in major projects such as Montréal Métropole Numérique, which aims to usher Montréal into the ranks of the world’s Smart Cities. As far as our strengths go, I would add our critical mass of major companies working in tandem with our vast pool of small-and medium sized businesses, our bilingualism and, of course, our capacity for innovation. We recently created a strategic and tactical support program for promising SMBs.”

Lidia Divry, General Manager, technoMontréal

More than 92,000 qualified employees in almost 5,000 organizations

25% ICT GDP growth between 2OO2 and 2O12—twice that of the overall economy

A leader among North America’s 20 biggest metropolitan areas

Ranked 1st for lowest ICT business operating costs

Targeted and highly competitive financial incentives 

 A concentration of leaders:

  • Bell
  • Cgi
  • Google
  • IBM
  • SAP
  • Telus
  • Ubisoft
  • Videotron
  • and many others

For more information, see the section on Information and Communications Technologies

Sources: Statistics Canada, 2012 and Institut de la statistique du Québec, 2011

Excellence in Cleantech (Écotech Québec)

A few words from the cluster secretariat Écotech Québec

The first organization of its kind in Canada, Écotech Québec has been Québec’s cleantech cluster since 2009. Its members—of whom some 60% are located in Greater Montréal—work in every sector of the industry, and contribute to reducing energy consumption, optimizing use of resources or beneficially reusing waste streams.

Écotech Québec, which is highly focused on partnership and marketing, includes innovative SMbs, user organizations, institutional and private investors, and specialized research centres. the transition to a greener economy has already begun and the social and political desire to accelerate it provides a good growth opportunity to the entire sector.

“In our world, the key to success is innovation which allows more efficient use of energy and resources. We form a horizontal cluster that is well structured and recognized for its entrepreneurial dynamism. We have been invited to join the select International Cleantech Network group—a network aimed at multiplying business opportunities among the top-performing cleantech clusters.”

Denis Leclerc, President and Chief Executive Officer, Écotech Québec

More than 450 innovative companies active in one or more of these sectors:

energy (21%), energy efficiency (19%), water (18%), waste (17%), green chemistry (16%), soil (15%), air (13%), eco mobility (3%)

  • • 70% of businesses in this cluster conduct business internationally

• Around 200 research groups and chairs

• Favourable business climate:

Canada is the 7th most attractive country for cleantech companies according to the World Wildlife Fund and international research firm Cleantech Group

Leaders in the sector:

  • Biothermica
  • Magnus
  • Newalta
  • Northex Environnement
  • Odotech
  • SCL Element
  • Sonitec-Vortisand
  • Volts
  • and many others

For more information, see the section on Clean technologies

Source: Écotech Québec, 2013

Find out more :

The commercial power : Direct access to the North American market
The power of human capital : A pool of highly qualified workers
The economic power : The most competitive operating costs in North America
The financial power : attractive tax treatment and tailor-made incentives
The power to attract the best : One of the world’s top 10 hip cities
The power to help you