November 14, 2018 2:59 pm

Hi-tech Kingston company hoping for funding to stay alive

Pending closure of CMC Microsystems will cost jobs and millions of dollars to the Kingston economy.

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A high-tech institution in Kingston continues to twist in the wind awaiting the word on federal funding. As of Tuesday, CMC Microsystems in Innovation Park has lost its federal funding and is preparing to close its doors after over three decades in business.

A closure would throw at least 45 people out of work at the non-profit company, and according to officials at CMC, cost the city of Kingston millions of dollars.

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Gord Harling, the president and CEO of CMC, says termination notices were handed out on Oct. 30.

CMC Microsystems has been funded by the federal government for the last 30-odd years until it was recently passed over to the National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), which ultimately decided to cease funding for the microelectronics company.

“They felt that they did not want to fund a third party that provides tools to researchers, they want to fund researchers directly. And so today we are without a funder,” said Harling.

The company supports the research and development of integrated circuits for technology like cellphones by providing a nationwide network to over 60 universities and colleges with access to industry-grade tools and manufacturers. CMC employs mainly PhD researchers and engineers. But without funding, that all stops.

When contacted by Global News, Kingston and the Islands MP Mark Gerretsen said his office is aware of the funding shortfall and has been in touch with relevant departments to try to find a solution. He says Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada officials are working with CMC to find funding through existing programs.

CMC client technology adviser Andrew Fung says there no lack of success stories — even a Nobel Laureate is standing behind the company.

“Art McDonald himself has spoken up in support for CMC services. In the past, in our earlier days, CMC supported the delivery of technology that went into the Sudbury neutrino lab, that’s the angle he’s coming from.”

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CMC says at least 150 startup companies across Canada credit their beginnings to the Innovation Park business. Established during the government of Pierre Elliott Trudeau in 1984, the non-profit organization will lock its doors in June of next year if funding doesn’t come through.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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