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On Final: Highlighting the growth prospects

Today, more than ever before, Canadian aerospace and defence firms, like other businesses across all sectors, are faced with unprecedented global competition.


May 6, 2014
By Gary Goodyear

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Today, more than ever before, Canadian aerospace and defence firms, like other businesses across all sectors, are faced with unprecedented global competition. This changing landscape has increased the importance of innovation, commercialization and partnerships.

A strong Canada  
A strong Canada depends on a prosperous southern Ontario that is home to communities that attract investments Photo: UTC Aerospace Systems


 

Situated in the heart of Canada’s strongest and most diverse technology-based industrial and commercial business region, southern Ontario is home to a dynamic and innovative aerospace industry. With more than 200 aerospace firms, employing 17,000 highly skilled workers and selling approximately $6.6 billion annually, this industry is a major contributor to the region’s economy.

The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) promotes and connects southern Ontario’s aerospace and defence firms to large defence contractors with Industrial Technological Benefits (ITB) policy obligations to source products in Canada. ITB is part of the whole-of-government Defence Procurement Strategy and requires companies that win defence and security contracts with the Government of Canada to conduct business activities in Canada at the same value of the contract.

Through our ITB work, as well as through our Investing in Commercialization Partnerships initiative, we are bringing together companies and organizations who may have never met before, fostering partnerships that are now benefiting all those involved. The benefits of this collaborative business model are obvious – jobs for our people and greater prosperity for our aerospace-related firms.

The Agency also supports the growth of this sector through direct investments. For example, FedDev Ontario invested $1.65 million towards the expansion of Oakville’s VAC Developments, with total project costs of $4.95 milllion. Vac Developments, is a major supplier of precision fabrication aerospace and defence products. Through this project, VAC is accelerating its expansion and upgrading technology to provide additional training to their highly-skilled employees. This investment has allowed the company to attract larger contracts in the increasingly competitive global aerospace market.

FedDev Ontario also supports the commercialization of technologies through its investments. For example, the agency invested $6.85 million to support Mississauga’s Gedex Inc., with total project costs of close to $20.55 million. Gedex has been a leader in deep high-definition airborne sub-surface geological imaging since 1996. This project is supporting Gedex Inc.’s ability to develop and build a next generation airborne earth imaging system. This system is capable of capturing high-resolution images of the earth’s subsurface for application in mineral exploration, water detection, security and sovereignty. The government’s support has helped Gedex Inc. compete globally.

To further support the growth of southern Ontario’s economy, in December 2013, the Agency launched the Southern Ontario Prosperity Initiatives which provide more than $530 million over five years to attract, retain and grow Ontario companies and encourage more product development.

FedDev Ontario also launched the $200-million Advanced Manufacturing Fund (AMF) aimed at promoting the continued growth of Ontario’s advanced manufacturing sector by supporting large-scale, transformative manufacturing activities.

Through this new phase of programming, we will continue to identify the needs of the region and make strategic investments in those companies and organizations that will provide the greatest return on taxpayers’ dollars.

A strong Canada depends on a prosperous southern Ontario that is home to communities that attract investments, has highly productive and innovative businesses, and provides opportunities to expand and diversify markets domestically and globally.

I look forward to seeing all of the possibilities that will come to light as a result of our work to maximize economic growth in the aerospace sector and across the region.


Gary Goodyear  
   

The Honourable Gary Goodyear is the Minister of State, Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. First elected to the House of Commons in 2004 and re-elected in 2006, 2008 and 2011. He was appointed Minister of State (Science and Technology) in October 2008, and to the additional position of Minister of State (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario) in August 2009.