When people began working from home and businesses went virtual at the start of the pandemic, telecommunications networks approached full capacity. The Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre (CPFC) played an important role in ensuring the demand for connectivity could continue to be met.
The CPFC provides specialized inputs, such as fibre-optic modules, to telecommunications equipment manufacturers that supply network vendors such as Nokia and service providers such as Bell and Rogers. It is also the only "pure-play" foundry in North America, providing services to any technology company needing help with product development or prototyping. When COVID-19 lockdowns began, companies urged the federal government to re-open the CPFC, citing its vital role in the telecoms supply chain.
A re-opening in April 2020 could happen only with the highest levels of safety, so the CPFC became the first NRC facility to develop special COVID-19 operating protocols. Those included actively managing the number of staff on site and in facilities, implementing new on-site sanitization protocols, and strengthening the requirements around personal protective equipment. These protocols were then replicated throughout the NRC as more facilities re-opened.
"Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a tremendous strain on the telecommunication and data supply chain, especially in the semiconductor and compound semiconductor space. Ranovus suffered a big blow during this supply crunch in 2020, but with the help of the CPFC, we were able to bring back our laser supply chain to Canada. This has become the silver lining of the pandemic and it could not have been made possible if it weren't for the 'beyond-the-call-of-duty' commitment of the CPFC team to our Canadian cause."