Led by former Cabinet Minister David Emerson, the comprehensive, arm's length Aerospace Review - released on November 29 - proposes bold steps, including a number of fiscally neutral solutions and improvements to Canadian aerospace policies and programs, to protect Canadian economic interests amid the sector's increasingly competitive and complex global realities.
Addressing an audience that included a blue-chip roster of Canadian aerospace leaders, the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry, said the federal government is committed to building on its partnership with AIAC to create "the industry of tomorrow."
"That is why I launched the Review in the first place. And it is why I am working with my Cabinet colleagues to give the findings the consideration they deserve," said Mr. Paradis, who added, "I will continue to champion this industry across this country and around the world."
David Schellenberg, Chairman of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada and CEO of Conair Group, Inc. and Cascade Aerospace, Inc. said, "In an industry that deals with complex, long-term risk and production cycles, a productive relationship with government is essential. The Minister's support and belief in the strategic importance that aerospace has for Canada and his commitment to build on our partnership with AIAC is invaluable."
Underscoring the need to work decisively, Mr. Schellenberg said AIAC and its member companies are unified in their approach.
"Our AIAC Board is already working on a post-Report strategy, part of which will include aligning our committee structure to advance work on skills issues, research and technology development and other priority areas identified in the report."
For example, Mr. Schellenberg says several of Mr. Emerson's recommendations rely heavily on partnership and collaboration. "Our industry's commitment to developing strong domestic and global partnerships that take advantage of opportunities and maximise our strengths will be essential to our ability to remain competitive."
He said the record turn-out at the 2012 Canadian Aerospace Summit is an example of the kind of collaborative and forward-thinking approach industry needs.
Drawing on his broader background in policy development, Mr. Emerson commented on the important implications a strong aerospace sector has for the national interest, saying, "Canada's position as a global leader in aerospace and a natural resource and energy powerhouse are not in conflict. The development of the north, and the resource bounty in remote areas, depends on our space and aerospace capacity. It provides a natural reinforcing linkage between aerospace technologies and products and the development of this vast northern land. Advanced manufacturing in a leading space and aerospace sector provides long term balance and stability for the benefit of generations to come."
At the Summit Mr. Schellenberg saluted Mr. Emerson as well as the twelve AIAC Working Group Chairs and Vice Chairs and the Aerospace Review Secretariat for their dedication and in completing the review in a thorough and expeditious manner. "This Report is an immensely significant milestone for Canada's aerospace industry. By proceeding with resolve, vision, and strength of purpose, we can indeed take bold steps towards an exceptional future."
AIAC is the national association representing Canada's aerospace manufacturing and services sector. As the world's fifth-largest aerospace industry, Canada's aerospace sector generates more than $22 billion, exports 80% of its output, and dedicates over 20% of its manufacturing activity to research and development (R&D). Aerospace is responsible for the employment of 160,000 Canadians. AIAC represents the interests of over 700 aerospace companies across Canada.