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Canadian Support For Aerospace Paying Dividends

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

01 November 2010

Addressing the Aerospace Industries Association’s Annual General Meeting and Conference, Tony Clement, the Canadian Minister for Industry, and Denis Lebel, Minister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec), noted success in developing the country’s aerospace sector, under the government-backed Joint Strike Fighter program and other supportive initiatives.

"Our government is highly committed to Canada's aerospace industry — a key driver of growth and employment in our country and a sector that generated more than CAD22bn (USD21.6bn) in sales last year," said Clement. "Through federal participation in the Joint Strike Fighter program, we are opening doors for our firms while ensuring that our men and women in the Canadian Forces have the right equipment to do their jobs."

Canada's aerospace industry is the fifth largest in the world, boasting 80,000 highly skilled, well-paying jobs at more than 400 firms across the country.

As part of Canada's participation in the JSF program, Canadian firms are pursuing an estimated CAD12bn in potential production work for the partner aircraft over the duration of the program. To date, the government has invested approximately CAD168m in the JSF initiative, resulting in the awarding of more than CAD350m in contracts to Canadian companies, research laboratories and universities.

At the AIAC event, Clement and Lebel recognized many of these companies, including Avcorp Industries Inc., which is building wing-tip structures in Delta, British Columbia; Bristol Aerospace Limited, which is developing horizontal tail structures in Winnipeg, Manitoba; GasTOPS Ltd., which is working on debris monitoring sensors in Ottawa, Ontario; and Héroux-Devtek, which is manufacturing door uplock mechanisms near Montréal, Quebec.

"With nearly half of Canada's aerospace sector proudly situated in the province of Quebec, the industry has long been one of Quebec's primary economic drivers," said Lebel. "The industry's confidence in our skilled workforce is driving investments, including the new Mirabel Aerospace Centre, which will open next year."

Clement also provided an update on the recent steps the government has taken to ensure that the Canadian aerospace industry remains competitive in the face of an increasingly global marketplace.

In addition to government participation in the JSF program, its Industrial and Regional Benefits Policy is creating significant opportunities for Canadian industry as part of the Canada First Defence Strategy. Other aerospace and defence support includes a CAD200m top-up to the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative's budget, and another CAD200m for National Research Council Canada's Industrial Research Assistance Program — both announced as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan.

TAGS: aviation | Canada

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