Report recommends redevelopment of aerospace hub in southern Ontario

Suggests a Toronto location could work in tandem with existing operation in Montreal.

Comments Off December 3, 2012 at 12:17 pm by

A recent review of the country’s aerospace sector has called for drastic improvements to the industry and suggested the redevelopment of an aerospace hub in the Toronto region.

The government-mandated report, which was led by David Emerson, the former Minister for International Trade, covered a broad range of topics and noted the importance that updated infrastructure has on the industry.

A proposal included in the report suggested that Toronto’s Downsview Park be a good location for an “aerospace campus”.

The proposed campus would involve Centennial College, the University of Toronto’s Institute for Aerospace Studies, and Bombardier who already have facilities at Downsview Airport.

“This would leverage Ontario’s very best educational institutions in a unique partnership designed to develop innovative new technologies, aid in workforce training and skills development, and participate in supply chain development activities,” the report states.

It continues, “This campus would provide an anchor point to a proposed aerospace technology corridor between Toronto and Montréal and enhance the capabilities of both centres.”

However, one major question is where the funding for the hub would come from. The report suggested the government co-fund the project along with the province, academic institutions and additional industry companies like Pratt & Whitney or Messier-Dowty.

The new research hub would be a boon for the industry, which is currently struggling with an aging workforce and a skilled labour shortage.

The Canadian Auto Workers Union – who represent approximately 10,000 aerospace workers across Canada – responded to news of the report by lamenting the fact that Canada had not been performing as strongly in the sector as it had in the past.

Union President Ken Lewenza blamed a “lack of concerted effort by government” for Canada’s diminished presence in the industry.

“Our aerospace sector cannot and should not be taken for granted,” he said.

According to the government, Canada ranks fifth in the world in overall aerospace production and third in civil aircraft production. Montreal is also ranked as the third-largest aerospace hub in the world.

Since 2006, the government has committed $827 million to research and development projects through the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative.

“Our government is taking steps to ensure that Canada remains at the forefront of the global aerospace industry,” stated Christian Paradis, the Minister of Industry.

Enhancing R&D, more training for workers in aerospace environments, and stabilizing funding to the Canadian Space Agency were some of the other recommendations mentioned in the report.


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Nick Healey

Nick Healey

Nick Healey is the Assistant/Web Editor for Canadian Metalworking magazine. He has experience in fabrication shops in Ontario and Western Australia. He has a degree in Political Science and English from Bishop's University in Quebec. He can be reached at: nhealey@canadianmetalworking.com

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