An Overview of Canada’s Aerospace and Defence Industries

Canada's aerospace and defence (A&D) industries, made up of firms specializing in aerospace, defence, space and security technologies, are recognized around the world for producing leading edge products and services.

Domestically, the industries are important economic drivers in regions across the country and collectively, are a significant player in the development of Canada's knowledge-based economy.

Among the world leaders, Canada's A&D industries offer competitive and innovative solutions and are backed by a highly skilled workforce of about 73 000 Canadians.

Challenges Encountered by A&D Industries

To maintain productivity and competitiveness, A&D firms have to invest in the research and development (R&D) of advanced products and services. High development costs, long development lead times and long payback periods, combined with the cyclical nature of the industry and the fact that projects are high risk and international in scope, make it difficult for the private sector to entirely fund an R&D project.

A&D industries play a role in supporting national security and sovereignty. For this reason, national governments around the globe support their industries through various funding mechanisms (e.g. technology development support, military contracts).

Opportunities for Canada's A&D Industries

R&D helps the Canadian A&D industries to remain competitive. R&D forms the basis for the development of new products designed to serve the needs of A&D markets, and also enables firms to establish new processes that lower costs and increase productivity.

In addition, R&D investment in A&D promotes technology development within the Canadian economy, not only in the A&D industries and their supplier base, but also in other sectors such as electronics, nanotechnology and information technology. Previous spill-over benefits from A&D technologies have been used in medical equipment and automotive applications.

Supporting R&D in the industry also enables Canada to attract global A&D firms and first class scientific and engineering talent. Among the leading industrial investors in R&D in Canada, A&D has the capability and the opportunity to build on Canadian strengths to remain one of the foremost players in the global market.

Specialties of Canada's A&D industries

Products and services of the Canadian aerospace, defence, space and security industries include:

  • Regional and business aircraft
  • Small gas turbine engines
  • Flight simulators
  • Aerostructures
  • Landing gear systems
  • Helicopters
  • Armoured vehicles
  • Military ships
  • Space-based robotics and telecommunications
  • Remote sensing systems and satellites
  • Command and control systems (including secured communications equipment)
  • Aircraft and defence electronics
  • Environmental systems for aircraft and military vehicles
  • Avionic and mission systems
  • Maintenance, repair and overhaul services