Wings Magazine

Leading Edge: New beginnings

Canada’s aviation and aerospace industry is easily one of the most dynamic in the world – and we’ve certainly got the goods to prove it.

January 9, 2012  By Matt Nicholls

Canada’s aviation and aerospace industry is easily one of the most dynamic in the world – and we’ve certainly got the goods to prove it.

From the development of the iconic MDA Canadarm in 1981 to Bombardier’s potentially game-changing CSeries aircraft to Boeing Canada’s advancements in reducing manufacturing waste, a diverse talent pool of skilled workers continues to push the boundaries in such critical fields as engineering, product development and training.

Canadian aerospace firms produce a vast array of cutting-edge products  with new technologies and innovative products developed every year.

According to the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada, there are more than 400 aerospace firms nationwide, with new aerospace “pockets” established every year. Collectively, these companies employ more than 80,000 Canadians. Since 1990, aerospace industry sales have more than doubled, reaching $23.6 billion in 2008.


Canadians are equally prolific on the aviation side of the equation. Canadian pilots, maintenance engineers and management staff have long been recognized leaders in their respected fields.

Maintaining Canada’s impressive standing on a global scale is not without its challenges – and these will be amplified in the months and years ahead for a multitude of reasons. Most significantly, a looming shortage of skilled workers both in the cockpit and on the ground will tax Canadian aviation operations, as new workers are needed to replace retiring employees. Staying ahead of the curve on the aerospace side is also paramount, as new blood is needed to develop innovative solutions with a renewed commitment to the environment.

The good news is that with significant challenge comes opportunity, especially for up-and-coming members of the aviation community. Igniting the passion of young Canadians to embrace the benefits of a lifelong career in aviation is precisely why Wings developed our exclusive Careers in Aviation educational supplement (see pg. 27).

Written by correspondent David Carr, CIA provides detailed writeups on a cross-section of key aviation professions. And it’s not just limited to the “glamour” roles in the cockpit. CIA offers insight into several professions, from aviation maintenance engineer to aircraft maintenance crew. New this year is consideration of the men and women who ensure aircraft arrive safely – air navigation.

Highlighting various career options is just one aspect of the CIA guide. We also profile some of the top flight schools and academic options in Canada to get your career headed on the right flight path. What's right for you? Industry experts share their advice on where the industry is headed and offer tips on how to make the most of your academic progress.

In addition to running in Wings, this guide is also mailed to more than 3,300 Canadian high school guidance counsellors across the country. Schools are invited to contact us to receive additional copies of the guide for career fairs or to stock their career resource centres. Last year, we received calls from more than 25 schools requesting additional copies.

CIA content is also available year-round at , an interactive website developed as an additional resource for young people looking for information on the different career paths within the aviation category. The website helps match prospective students with flight schools, and college and university programs, through a searchable directory.

With a looming skilled worker shortage and increasing demands to lead and innovate, locating “generation next” remains a top priority. We’re confident CIA can play a significant role in igniting the passion of those seeking a career in this rewarding and dynamic industry. If you have suggestions for future content, please write me at


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