Nova Scotia’s aerospace and defence companies reach new heights

News release

Government of Canada funding helps Nova Scotia A&D companies expand, innovate and automate

December 18, 2023 · Halifax, Nova Scotia · Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

Aerospace and defence (A&D) companies play a pivotal role in safeguarding nations and ensuring global security. For Atlantic Canadians, they also present opportunities to gain skilled employment, and contribute to economic growth. The Government of Canada is investing to support innovation, expansion, automation and digitization in Nova Scotia’s aerospace and defence sector.

Today, the Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister Responsible for ACOA, announced total repayable investments of $4,144,807. This funding supports five A&D companies.

ESL Technology Inc. (ESL Labs) is receiving $2,581,750 for two projects to acquire new equipment and expand its testing capabilities. These investments will help ESL Labs broaden their product and material testing to local, national and international organizations. These investments will result in ten new jobs by the end of 2024 and an anticipated 8 new jobs by the end of 2025.

Aerotec Engines Limited (Aerotec Engines) has received $500,000 to re-design and expand its facility, and to acquire advanced manufacturing equipment. These improvements will allow the company to increase efficiency, helping it become a leader in overhauling and repairing engines for the general aviation market. This project is also expected to create 10-15 new jobs.

I.M.P Group Limited (IMP Group) has received $478,557 to purchase equipment and software that will help automate and digitize its manufacturing and repair processes.

Modest Tree Media Inc. (Modest Tree) received $334,500 to engage business development, marketing and human resource expertise to help grow the company efficiently. This will also help the company meet client demand for its 3D training simulations, and for its digital solutions for maintenance and operations of complex equipment.

Spiri Holdings Inc. (Spiri Robotics) has received $250,000 to acquire additional engineering, research and computer science expertise. This will help the company meet growing demand for its unmanned drones and mobile drone bases, which are designed primarily for security, data collection and analysis.

For more information about the funding recipients, see the backgrounder.

Today’s announcement further demonstrates the Government of Canada’s commitment to supporting innovation and job creation in Atlantic Canada.


“The sky is the limit thanks to Nova Scotia’s pioneering aerospace and defence businesses. Thanks to the large supply chains, they create a huge ripple effect in the manufacturing and service sectors of our region’s economy and help to attract and develop a skilled workforce. They’re no small part of why the wind is in Atlantic Canada’s sails right now.”

- The Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA

“As a proven partner for those working in the aerospace, defence, ocean tech and engineering industries, ESL Labs continues to drive innovation by ensuring tested products and materials meet the strict regulatory and performance requirements for those operating in the harshest environments. These projects will enable ESL Labs to significantly expand its ability to deliver testing critical to manufacturers. We are proud to support our partners so they have the confidence of physical testing behind their products wherever they may be deployed.”

- Thomas Kelley, President of ESL Technology Inc.

“Strategic government funding empowers small and medium-sized businesses to grow and innovate. Nova Scotia has a strong network of successful Aerospace and Defense organizations, thanks in part to the forward-thinking efforts of ACOA. We look forward to the next chapter at Aerotec Engines, another step toward becoming a world leader in the industry.”

- Jason Crowell, President and Founder of Aerotec Engines

“Today, operators and maintainers of complex equipment are trying to efficiently train staff on complex procedures, as well as how digital solutions - such as instructional guidance, digital service reporting and remote assist - play an integral part in their current and future operations. We are excited to be able to work with leading global companies to help them on their digital journey, using 3D training and digitalization of their maintenance and repair using our Tech Companion software.”

- Emily Smits, CFO and COO of Modest Tree

“The investment being made will help the business compete in a very challenging market by providing cost saving tools and product improvements that the customers demand.”

 - Dave Pearson, Vice President and General Manager, IMP Aerostructures

“We appreciate ACOA's support in bringing some very talented people on board. This enables us to fulfil more orders for our products while keeping ahead of the state of the art. The competition, both for customers and for talent, is fierce and global. ACOA is helping us to bring talent or retain it here, and compete around the world."

- Patrick Edwards-Daugherty, Founder and CEO of Spiri Robotics

Quick facts

  • Atlantic Canada’s aerospace and defence industry accounts for almost 23,600 jobs, according to the 2022 Atlantic Canada Aerospace and Defence Association (ACADA) Economic Impact report. The industry was responsible for over $900 million in direct household income in Atlantic Canada in 2020.

  • The 2022 ACADA report also states that employment in Atlantic Canada’s A&D industry grew by 19 percent between 2015 and 2019. 

  • The funding announced today is provided through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s (ACOA) Regional Economic Growth through Innovation Program (REGI).

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Kevin Lemkay
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Rural Economic Development and of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Lauren Sinclair
Communications Director
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Thomas Kelly
ESL Technology Inc.

Philip Burchinshaw
Director of Sales and Marketing
Aerotec Engines Limited

Emily Smits
Modest Tree Media Inc.

Dave Pearson
Vice President and General Manager
IMP Aerostructures, an Operating Unit of IMP Aerospace and Defence

Lauryn Collins
Director of Corporate Communications
Spiri Robotics

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