We at the Trillium Network for Advanced Manufacturing are very excited to announce the launch of our updated version of TrilliumGIS. TrilliumGIS is an open-access asset- and capability-mapping platform that provides information about more than 6,000 manufacturing establishments across Ontario. Taken together, these establishments represent over 95% of Ontario’s manufacturing capacity.

TrilliumGIS allows users to locate and learn more about manufacturing establishments throughout the province. The platform includes search features that allow users to locate manufacturers by name, what they make, their NAICS sub-sector code, and their geographic location. TrilliumGIS also allows users to identify manufacturers that are involved in particular industries, production networks, or supply chains, and to customize those searches. More information about how to use TrilliumGIS is available here

There are five things we think that you should know about TrilliumGIS.

  1. TrilliumGIS provides evidence that there are a lot of manufacturers in Ontario (evidence that flies in the face of false narratives that suggest the importance of manufacturing is steadily waning). While we endeavour to capture every establishment, we realize that this is probably unrealistic. Some manufacturers don’t have websites. Some establishments are located within another manufacturer’s facility. Others operate out of a workshop or garage on a residential property. But with your help, we will do our best to make sure that even the smallest and hard-to-find manufacturers are included in TrilliumGIS.
  2. TrilliumGIS is, and always will be, a work in progress. We think TrilliumGIS is quite good. But it could be better. We will be adding several thousand more manufacturing establishments over the next two months. We will be adding functionality and features, performing quality control, and incorporating your feedback on an ongoing basis.
  3. TrilliumGIS illustrates the extent to which Ontario’s manufacturing industry is diverse and dynamic. We at the Trillium Network for Advanced Manufacturing also recognize that change and innovation are a constant for manufacturers. Manufacturers are quietly opening new establishments on a daily basis, or relocating to new, more appropriately sized, facilities. Mergers and acquisitions are common. For example, United Technologies and Raytheon merged recently to create a new company: Raytheon Technologies. This company employs thousands of Ontarians at its facilities in Burlington, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, and Waterloo. In another recent example, over 1,000 people living near Thunder Bay and Kingston will soon work for the French transportation equipment manufacturer Alstom after that company acquired Bombardier’s rail division. While keeping track of these higher-profile mergers and acquisitions is important, we will also do our best to keep track of lesser-publicized developments as they relate to Ontario manufacturing.
  4. TrilliumGIS is a public good. The Trillium Network for Advanced Manufacturing is a provincially-funded non-profit organization. As such, we feel that our work should benefit the public. TrilliumGIS is open-access and there is no paywall. All of the data in TrilliumGIS are compiled from publicly-available sources of information. We have no concerns about these sources of information and neither should you. We have also built in several feedback mechanisms to improve the user experience and the accuracy of the data (more information is available in the fourth chapter of the aforementioned guide to using TrilliumGIS that is available here).
  5. TrilliumGIS is a lot of work. This might be the primary reason why something like it doesn’t already exist. We suspect that others have attempted to build something like TrilliumGIS, but abandoned the project in the early stages because they saw how much work it would be. Ask any municipal economic development officer – it is hard enough to locate all of the manufacturers in any one of the hundreds of municipalities throughout Ontario. We did it for the whole province. Some of the work we did on our own, but much of it we did in collaboration with our network partners.

We built TrilliumGIS with some specific audiences in mind (and often with their support). TrilliumGIS is relevant to economic development and trade promotion officials from all levels of government. The same goes for industry and trade associations that count manufacturers as their members. Educational institutions may want to use TrilliumGIS to identify potential work-integrated learning or co-operative education partners. TrilliumGIS also serves as an important tool for manufacturers themselves, allowing them to identify potential customers, suppliers, and partners. Finally, we believe that TrilliumGIS is a valuable resource for foreign companies looking for promising new locations for manufacturing investments, as well as for the site selection firms advising them. 

But we don’t want to put any limitations on our audiences. We encourage you to tell us who you are, how TrilliumGIS can help you, and how we can improve the platform. You can do this through the feedback mechanisms included in TrilliumGIS or by contacting us directly at info@trilliummfg.ca.