Ontario is Leading the Global Aerospace Sector

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As the world enters a new decade, the aerospace and defense industry looks to a future of rapid and continual change. In the highly competitive race to develop new technologies, Ontario-based companies enjoy advantages that accelerate innovation and growth. Ontario is home to over half of the world’s top 25 aerospace companies and there are made-in-Ontario parts or designs on virtually every passenger aircraft in the world today. From private-sector companies to researchers, innovators, and governments, everyone in the Ontario aerospace sector is igniting industry growth with razor-sharp focus on technological innovation, supply chain services, and workforce skills development.

New players are entering the aerospace industry every day. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are opening the industry to new smaller firms, and worldwide demand for safer and cleaner commercial air travel is bringing new innovations in cleantech. As well, private-sector companies are funding space exploration alongside governments. It is no surprise that the aerospace industry has experienced significant growth in recent years and is projected to grow another 5.1% over the next decade.

Innovative startups, global giants, and everything in between call Ontario home and play an active role in more than 150 aircraft and engine programs, defense systems, space systems and UAV innovations around the globe. Now is the perfect time for aerospace companies to take advantage of the ecosystem of laboratories, research centres, and testing facilities that make Ontario a global leader in many areas of the aerospace sector, including aircraft assembly and aerostructures, avionics and electronic systems, business jets, turbine engines, landing gear systems, environmental technology, unmanned aircraft, satellites, and space robotics.


Opportunities in the Ontario aerospace industry are skyrocketing. Canada’s aerospace industry is the fifth largest in the world and third largest for civil aircraft and engine production. With 30% of Canada’s aerospace research and development activity done in Ontario, the sector employs 22,000 people, including highly qualified engineers, technicians, and scientists, and generates more than $6 billion in annual sales. Ontario’s space sector accounts for nearly 70% of Canada’s space revenues and 60% of employment, while Ontario’s defense sector represents $5.3 billion per year in sales and over half of Canada’s defense industry.

A sound and stable business environment combined with manufacturing expertise and a sophisticated supply chain make Ontario highly attractive for investment. Aerospace manufacturing costs in Canada are lower than in any G7 nation. Add a strong and efficient financial system supported by low taxes and business costs, strategic proximity to major North American cities, transportation infrastructures, and a highly committed government, and you have a list of advantages in Ontario that is impossible to replicate.

Aerospace technology forges an exciting path in Ontario

With world-renowned technology clusters in the Greater Toronto Area, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Ottawa that specialize in advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics, combined with a large manufacturing base and world-class R&D, the opportunity has never been greater for aerospace companies to excel in Ontario. More than 350 automation and robotics-related companies, like Autodesk, Siemens, FANUC, Rockwell Automation, Omron, Lapp Group, Denso Robotics, Schneider Electric, Toshiba, Universal Robotics, and ABB, call Ontario home.

With a multitude of R&D, prototyping and testing centres that bring together private sector vision, post-secondary expertise, and government commitment, Ontario is the place to be.

The path to future aerospace success starts with education

Already home to 22,000 of the best-educated and most skilled workers in the global aerospace industry, Ontario’s focus on educating a next generation of innovators is a perfect fit for the dynamic nature of the aerospace industry and its accelerated pace of change.

Across the province, 22 colleges and universities offer more than 40 degrees and diploma programs in engineering, aviation and space education that produce nearly 40,000 graduates every year. In addition, companies such as Bombardier, Diamond Aircraft, Longview Aviation, and CAE offer paid apprenticeships to hundreds of students annually in Ontario. In an effort to target high-school age students, a Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) is a specialized program that allows grade 11 and 12 students to focus their learning on a specific sector like aerospace and aviation. It also assists in their transition after graduation to apprenticeship training, college, university or the workplace.

Government Incentives

Ontario’s government is committed to growth and development initiatives in aerospace, including grants for export expansion, small business supports, hiring and training and R&D projects that demonstrate innovation, including enhanced energy efficiency.

The government’s Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative (SADI) was designed to encourage innovation in products, services and processes in the aerospace, defense and security sectors. It is available to firms of all sizes and seeks to bolster strategic R&D, enhance competitiveness of Canadian companies, and encourage collaboration.

The Green Aviation Research and Development Network (GARDN) is a non-profit government organization funded by the Business-Led Network of Centres of Excellence (BL-NCE) and the Canadian aerospace industry aimed at increasing Canada’s aerospace competitiveness. It funds collaborative projects for the next generation of aircraft, engines and avionics systems developed in Canada.

Global aerospace companies make Ontario their home

Bombardier, Boeing, Airbus, L3 Technologies, Siemens, Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney, United Technologies, Magellan Aerospace, MDA, Messier-Bugatti- Dowty, MHI Canada, and Northstar Aerospace are just some of the global aerospace powerhouses that take advantage of the many compelling reasons to have a presence in Ontario.

  • From OEMs to components suppliers to systems integrators, Ontario aerospace companies are world-renowned as leaders, including:
  • Blackberry, which is developing leading-edge software and security technology for industries like aerospace and aviation;
  • Thales Canada, which is responsible for the technology of Air Canada’s inflight entertainment, the Canadian Army’s command-and-control, and the Canadian Coast Guard’s on-board electronics;
  • Airbus Helicopters Canada, a subsidiary of the world’s largest helicopter manufacturer and the only subsidiary to produce composites;
  • Fleet Canada, an aerospace manufacturer that specializes in detailed part fabrication, advanced composites, metal-to-metal bonding and airframe assembly for commercial, military and civil programs.

All these growing companies, and many others, know huge opportunities lie ahead in Ontario, a province ready and uniquely qualified to guide the aerospace industry into an exciting and challenging future.