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Quebec to spend $250 million in aerospace sector to diversify industry


June 6, 2016
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Jun. 6, 2016 – Quebec has announced it will give $250 million in direct aid toward expanding and diversifying the province’s aerospace industry, while another $260 million will be offered in the form of loans and other financing.

Premier Philippe Couillard say he expects the provincial cash to generate up to $2.8 billion in investment. According to Couillard, the strategy proposes concrete ways that meet the concerns raised by the aerospace industry and offers “effective tools” for industry players so that they can continue to “stand on the world stage.”

The strategy is fourfold: strengthen and diversify the structure of the industry; foster industry growth by supporting projects and investing in the workforce; support small- and-medium-sized businesses in their development; and invest on innovation.

“We are making a true leap forward today for the benefit of the entire Quebec aerospace chain,” said Suzanne M. Benoît, president of Aéro Montreal, the province’s aerospace cluster. “The aerospace strategy is a very important initiative by our government and its development was made possible by the collaboration of many players in the aerospace ecosystem.”

Quebec is looking for the federal government to play a role, and according to The Canadian Press, Couillard didn’t hesitate to note the province is still waiting for Ottawa’s decision on a request to help a big player in the industry, Bombardier Inc. The aerospace company has asked the federal Liberals for financial help on par with the $1 billion Quebec has pledged to the firm.

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“Supporting companies in transitioning to industry 4.0 and backing initiatives such as MACH FAB 4.0 or the greener aircraft catalyst project, training the workforce to meet future challenges and automation, attracting large companies, and consolidating our SMEs to make them Tier 1 and Tier 2 companies, are challenges that are at the heart of the new strategy,” said Benoît.

Part of the government’s strategy is to try to entice another major player to invest in the province, Couillard added.

The aerospace industry in Quebec consists of about 190 companies and more than 40,000 workers. In 2015, annual sales in the sector amounted to $15.5 billion. Furthermore, more than 80 per cent of Quebec’s production is exported, and about 70 per cent of Canadian research and development activities in this area are carried out in the province.

— With files from Pierre Saint-Arnaud, The Canadian Press