Quebec premier Philippe Couillard, along with Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation and Minister responsible for Digital Strategy, Dominique Anglade, were at the École nationale d’aérotechnique in Saint-Hubert on Monday morning, to unveil Quebec’s aerospace strategy, which will see the province invest $510 million over the first five years of the strategy’s implementation.
One of the strategy’s goals is to attract new top-tier contractors to the area, of which Quebec currently has four, including Bombardier, Bell Helicopter, Pratt & Whitney and CAE.
Most people tend to equate Quebec’s aerospace industry simply with Bombardier and the Quebec government’s $1.3 billion investment in that company’s C-Series jet program.
But Quebec is the third largest aerospace cluster in the world, with a base of 177 SMEs and regional operations for international manufacturers, such as Airbus subsidiary Stelia Aerospace and Belgian wing panel maker Sonaca.
“The aerospace industry is an economic force for Quebec,” said Premier Couillard at the event in Saint-Hubert. “Composed of integrators, OEMs, suppliers and contractors, over 200 Quebec companies are noted worldwide and employ over 40,000 people in Quebec. Our strategy proposes concrete ways that meet the concerns raised and offers effective tools for industry players so that they continue to stand on the world stage. Our priority will continue to encourage and support the implementation of innovative initiatives.”
Quebec’s aerospace industry generated $15.5 billion in sales in 2015.
About 70% of Canadian research and development aerospace activities are carried out in Quebec, and over 80% of Quebec’s production is exported internationally.
The government estimates that their investment will generate a further $2.8 billion in investment for the industry.
The Quebec government’s aerospace strategy spells out a long-term plan for 2016-2026 focusing on four priorities: strengthening and diversifying the structure of the industry, fostering industry growth by supporting projects and investing in the workforce, supporting SMEs in their development, and investing in innovation.
Aéro Montréal, a strategic think tank bringing together the private sector, research institutions and government, will be taking a contribution of $9.5 million from the Quebec government over five years, with a matching contribution from the private sector, to support its MACH FAB 4.0 initiative, which supports the transition of 50 SMEs in the aerospace sector to more digitally savvy operations.
“Supporting companies in transitioning to industry 4.0 and backing initiatives such as MACH FAB 4.0 or the greener aircraft catalyst project, training the workforce to meet future challenges and automation, attracting large companies, and consolidating our SMEs to make them Tier 1 and Tier 2 companies, are challenges that are at the heart of the new strategy,” said Aéro Montreal president Suzanne M. Benoît.