touch-screen680x220It is well documented that the medical technology (MedTech) industry has been one of the fastest growing sectors in North America over the past several years. In Ontario alone, there are currently 24,000 employees and over 1,300 companies working in this space. While it is quite healthy (Ontario’s MedTech exports amounted to roughly CAD $1.7 billion), there remains plenty of opportunity to participate in the growth and unlock value.

As KMPG reports, the upward trajectory of this sector shows no signs of wilting, fueled largely by increasing healthcare costs worldwide. With this landscape in mind, Ontario presents itself as a particularly compelling jurisdiction for investment for a variety of reasons.

  • First, many of the largest global multi-national enterprises operating in the MedTech sector (i.e., Siemens, GE Healthcare, etc.) have already established a presence and a market in Ontario.
  • Second, Ontario is home to a thriving entrepreneurial tech community, a substantial portion of which is focused on digital health, diagnostics and wellness. At present, there are no fewer than 24 start-up clients at the MaRS Discovery District whose primary focus is in these fields. This is in addition to the dozens in operation at other Ontario-based innovation hubs as well as those ventures focused on health-adjacent fields such as artificial intelligence.
  • Third, the combination of a weak Canadian dollar and the fact that the North American Free Trade Agreement appears to be safe for the time being will likely attract investment into Canada.
  • Lastly, it has been frequently commented on that Ontario has lagged behind other jurisdictions in terms of commercializing its technology in spite of the world class quality of the research coming out of the province. This has put a chill on inward investment dollars. Having taken stock of this problem, professionals and research institutions have been coming together to establish standardized commercialization terms with the goal of making Ontario a more competitive destination for investment.

In a nutshell, leading indicators suggest that MedTech is not yet a growth industry in Ontario, but that deal-making can become particularly attractive given the changing commercialization landscape.

The author would like to thank Peter Georgas, Articling Student, for his assistance in preparing this legal update.

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