Aerospace and Defence in Canada

A High-Performing Industry

Canada is home to many aerospace companies employing nearly 200,000 skilled professionals. The Canadian aerospace industry contributed over $24 billion to Canadian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2021, and over 90% of aerospace manufacturing revenues were export-orientated.

With product and service quality, leading-edge technology and cost competitiveness, Canadian aerospace companies hold strong positions as Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and within the supply chains of global OEMs and Tier 1 partners. In 2021, over 50% of Canadian aerospace manufacturing exports were supply chain related.

Canadian Excellence

Canada's aerospace companies possess strong world-class capabilities in:

  • Design and production of regional and business aircraft, helicopters, small gas turbine engines, flight simulator systems, and landing gear
  • Structural assemblies and components incorporating advanced materials, including composites, special coatings, and alloys
  • Avionics, communications, power conversion, environmental controls, in-flight entertainment, and business solutions
  • Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) of aircraft and major systems, in-service support (ISS), and aftermarket logistics support
  • Telecommunication satellites and components

In addition, Canada is the only country that ranked in the top 5 across the civil flight simulator, engine, and aircraft sub-segments in 2021.

Sustained commitment to research and development (R&D) keeps Canada at the forefront of aircraft technology development and applications. The aerospace industry is the top R&D stakeholder among all Canadian manufacturing industries, with investments totalling $710 million in 2021, three times higher than the national manufacturing average. The Canadian aerospace industry’s share of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) employment was also over two times higher than the national manufacturing average.

Many innovative small and medium-sized businesses have unique capabilities in composites, precision machining, coatings, and component system design. Their reputation bolsters Canada's recognized expertise in aerospace.

Canada’s Key Industrial Capabilities (KICs) ensure that defence procurement can better drive innovation, exports and the growth of firms through the Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITB) Policy. In consultation with stakeholders, the Government of Canada has identified 16 KICs that represent areas of emerging technology with the potential for rapid growth and significant opportunities, established capabilities where Canada is globally competitive, and areas where domestic capacity is essential to national security.

Transport Canada's world-recognized aviation certification system ensures that Canadian aerospace products meet or exceed the highest standards in safety and reliability and are recognized by other regulatory bodies worldwide.

For more information on innovation, including programs, please consult the Innovation page.

A Significant Global Player

Canadian aerospace companies have a well-deserved reputation for quality, value, performance and reliability. Canada's aerospace industry is recognized by customers around the world for delivering leading-edge and advanced technology solutions on time and at a competitive cost. The following list is a sample of Canadian companies that are suppliers of choice across a broad spectrum of civil aviation, defence and space programs.

Airbus is a global pioneer in the aerospace industry, operating in the commercial aircraft, rotorcraft, and defence and space sectors. The company’s A220 programme is based in Mirabel, QC, under the management of the Airbus Canada Limited Partnership (ACLP). The company also operates Airbus Helicopters in Fort Erie, ON, and Airbus Defence and Space Canada in Ottawa, ON.

Avcorp Industries is a producer of high-strength aerostructures for commercial and defence platforms.

Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limited has produced more than 5,600 helicopters in Canada for delivery worldwide. The company specializes in airframe design, product development manufacturing, flight testing, certification, composites, customization and customer support.

Bombardier is a global leader in aviation, focused on designing, manufacturing and servicing business jets. Bombardier's business aircraft product family includes the Challenger and Global series jets. The company also has a global network of service centers to provide MRO for its business jets, including the recently discontinued Learjet.

CAE is a global leader in the provision of training products and services for the civil aviation, defence and security, and healthcare markets. The company has the largest installed base of civil and military full-flight simulators and training devices. Through its global network of over 50 civil aviation training centres, CAE trains more than 220,000 aviation personnel annually.

CMC Electronics provides innovative cockpit systems integration and avionics solutions to customers worldwide.

De Havilland Canada is the operating brand for the companies that previously operated as Longview Aviation, Viking Air, De Havilland Canada, and Pacific Sky Training. De Havilland Canada is the manufacturer of the Dash 8-400 (the former Q400 turboprop bought from Bombardier in 2019), the Twin Otter series (a 19-passenger STOL utility aircraft) and aerial firefighters (CL-215, CL-415, CL-515).

Héroux-Devtek engages in the design, development, manufacture, repair, and overhaul of aircraft landing gears, hydraulic flight control actuators and fracture-critical components. Héroux-Devtek is the third largest landing gear company in the world, supplying both the commercial and defence sectors.

IMP Aerospace & Defence has locations from coast to coast, providing engineering, MRO, electronic systems and aircraft components. IMP provides ISS to the Canadian Armed Forces, and commercial clients.

Magellan Aerospace Corporation designs, manufactures and repairs aeroengine and aerostructure components and assemblies, in addition to advanced products for defence customers. Magellan also provides solutions for space and satellite missions that span payloads for sounding rockets, space shuttles and the International Space Station.

MDA develops and delivers advanced surveillance and intelligence solutions, defence and maritime systems, radar geospatial imagery, space robotics, satellite antennas, and communication subsystems.

Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) is a global aerospace leader committed to shaping the future of business, general aviation, and regional aircraft and helicopters with high-performing, dependable engines. P&WC serves approximately 13,400 customers all around the world, providing innovative, efficient, and reliable engines.

StandardAero maintains helicopter engines, turboprop engines, small engines and helicopter airframes and components at locations from coast to coast.

Thales is a world leader in critical information systems solutions for the aerospace, space, defence, security, and transportation markets. Thales Canada designs and integrates various avionics systems for regional and business aircraft and operates a Centre of Excellence for avionics and another for uncooled optronics technologies.

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Take Advantage of Canadian Opportunities Today

Canada provides businesses with the world's most comprehensive range of proven investment advantages that encourage growth and performance. Canada has a strong, stable and dynamic economy with a talented, hard-working and innovative workforce, world-class infrastructure, and leading-edge R&D capabilities. For more information, please contact the closest Canadian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate, or visit The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, or Invest in Canada.