The Honourable Denis Lebel, PC, MP
Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and
February 27, 2014
Check Against Delivery
Good day, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you, Nathalie, for that warm introduction. And also a big thank you to CAE for being such gracious hosts this morning.
It is a pleasure to be here today in Saint-Laurent to make this important aerospace announcement. Quebec is truly the heart of Canada's world-class aerospace industry, and perhaps no company better represents this global leadership than CAE.
In the nearly 70 years since it was established, CAE has worked hard to set the global standard for innovation in flight simulation. Today, your ongoing dedication to excellence has helped to firmly establish Canada as a world leader in cutting-edge simulation technology.
CAE is one of the many firms we rely on to ensure that Canada's aerospace leadership is second to none. Indeed, the dominance of our aerospace sector is an international success story.
Canada's aerospace industry is the fifth-largest in the world and plays a key role in the Canadian economy, employing 170,000 Canadians and generating more than $27 billion per year. It is one of the most export-intensive industries in Canada with nearly 80 percent of its products exported to highly diversified markets. And Canada is ranked third worldwide in civil aircraft production.
However, in the aftermath of the worldwide economic recession, we are seeing a shifting competitive landscape in the global aerospace industry.
Countries that have traditionally been major players are dealing with changing priorities and budgetary constraints. At the same time, we are seeing emerging economies steadily building up their national aerospace industries.
And supply chains are increasingly becoming global.
That is why our government is doing all that it can to help Canadian aerospace firms adapt to and succeed in these rapidly changing market conditions. We are committed to ensuring that this dynamic sector remains strong in today's competitive global marketplace.
With this goal in mind, our government launched the Review of Aerospace and Space Programs and Policies, led by the Honourable David Emerson. This comprehensive review examined how the government can leverage and maximize the impact of its investments to sustain Canada's leadership position.
The review also explored how government, industry and other key stakeholders can address the challenges facing our aerospace and space sectors, such as innovation, market access, skills development, supplier development and procurement.
Since the release of the report on the aerospace and space review, our government has taken concrete steps to implement many of its recommendations to strengthen and improve the long-term competitiveness and prosperity of the aerospace and space sectors.
One of the important actions we took was to entrench stable funding of close to $1 billion over five years to our highly successful Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative, the SADI program. SADI encourages research and development leading to innovation and new products and services. It helps enhance the competitiveness of Canadian companies in the aerospace and defence sectors, and it encourages collaboration between research institutes and the private sector.
SADI has also been very successful in helping to develop a highly skilled workforce right here in Quebec as well as across the country.
That's why I'm pleased to announce today that we are partnering with CAE on its latest flight simulation project. Our government is providing a $250-million repayable contribution to CAE to support the development of its latest flight simulation software and systems.
This new technology will have a wide-ranging impact—from advancing military training capabilities to prolonging the lifespan of aircrafts, all while reducing carbon and noise emissions in the process.
This next-generation technology will give CAE a distinct advantage in an increasingly competitive industry. And that's not the only benefit. This investment will also benefit CAE's large network of Canadian suppliers and will create opportunities for students at several Canadian post-secondary institutions to gain experience in developing state-of-the-art simulation technologies.
This project is exactly what the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative is designed to support. Through SADI, our government is helping Canadian companies accelerate innovation and encouraging investment in Canadian firms across the country.
Our government believes in creating the right conditions for Canadian companies to succeed. Through partnerships like the one announced here today, Canadian companies will be able to continue pushing new boundaries, developing new technologies and competing in the global marketplace.
Canada is fortunate to be able to support the development of companies like CAE, which are leading the way with ambition and talent. I have no doubt that working together, we will keep Quebec's—and Canada's—aerospace industry strong and thriving.
And that's something that makes us all very proud.