Aerospace Review calls for policy and program renewal to foster the global competitiveness of Canada's aerospace and space sectors

Ottawa, Ontario – November 29, 2012


In Budget 2011, the Government of Canada announced its intention to initiate a review of policies and programs related to the aerospace and space industries, with the aim of developing a federal policy framework that would help maximize the competitiveness of these sectors.

The Aerospace Review was announced on February 27, 2012 by the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry. David Emerson was appointed Review Head, and was joined by a three-person Advisory Council comprising Sandra Pupatello, Jacques Roy, and Jim Quick.

Review Process

From the outset, a commitment was made to a Review that would be independent, evidence-based, grounded in a long-term perspective on global and industry trends, open to innovative but practical solutions, and aimed at producing concrete, fiscally neutral recommendations.

In conducting its research and analysis, the Review relied on four streams of information and advice.

First, working in close consultation with the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada, it established industry-led working groups in the following areas:

  • technology development, demonstration, and commercialization;
  • market access and market development;
  • aerospace-related public procurement;
  • small business and supply chain development;
  • people and skills; and
  • space.

Second, the Review Head and Advisory Council members conducted a series of roundtables, meetings, and site visits in Canada and major aerospace nations.

Third, the Review commissioned 16 research studies from independent experts.

Finally, the Review invited written submissions from interested parties through its website, ultimately receiving some 25 documents from a variety of organizations, companies, academics, and private citizens.


The Aerospace Review report contains two volumes: Volume 1: Beyond the Horizon: Canada's Interests and Future in Aerospace and Volume 2: Reaching Higher: Canada's Interests and Future in Space.

The Aerospace volume notes that Canada has built an aerospace industry that is the second largest in the world, relative to GDP, and that this achievement has made significant contributions to the country's prosperity and security. But it also stresses that global conditions are changing, new aerospace players are on the rise, and Canada must redouble its efforts if it wants to maintain and strengthen its position in the global aerospace business.

The volume states that success will depend on effective collaboration between industry, researchers, and governments. With respect to federal policies and programs, it recommends that:

  1. The list of strategic sectors under the government's Science and Technology Strategy be expanded to include aerospace and space.
  2. The government establish a list of priority technologies to guide aerospace-related policies and programs.
  3. The government create a program to support large-scale aerospace technology demonstration.
  4. The government maintain Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative (SADI) funding at current levels – less reallocations recommended in this volume – and modify SADI's terms and conditions to make it a more effective program for stimulating the development of the aerospace and space technologies of the future.
  5. The government co-fund a Canada-wide initiative to facilitate communication and collaboration among aerospace companies, researchers, and academics.
  6. Application and reporting procedures for programs used by the aerospace industry be simplified and streamlined, especially for smaller companies seeking modest levels of support, and a "one-stop" internet portal be used to provide information on, and links to, those programs.
  7. The government endeavour to bring emerging aerospace players into multilateral agreements that create fair, competitive conditions for Canadian aerospace firms, and to clarify rules related to government support for domestic aerospace industries.
  8. The government negotiate bilateral agreements with countries where potential market and partnership opportunities are likely to benefit Canada, and the Canadian aerospace and space sectors.
  9. Senior-level economic diplomacy be used in a considered and explicit way to encourage foreign governments and companies to give favourable consideration to Canadian aerospace products.
  10. The government review export and domestic control regimes to ensure that they are not unnecessarily restrictive and that export permits be issued expeditiously.
  11. The government implement a full cost-recovery model for aircraft safety certification.
  12. The government co-fund initiatives aimed at strengthening the Canadian aerospace supply chain.
  13. When the government seeks to purchase aircraft and aerospace-related equipment, each bidder be required to provide a detailed industrial and technological benefits plan as an integral part of its proposal, and these plans be given weight in the selection of the successful bid.
  14. When the government seeks to buy aircraft and aerospace-related equipment, each bidder be required to partner with a Canadian firm for in-service support and to provide that firm with work and data that allow it to strengthen internal capacity and access global markets.
  15. Federal programs be used – in collaboration with industry, academia, unions, and provinces – to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics studies generally, and aerospace and space careers specifically, among youth; to help college and university students acquire relevant expertise; to bridge new graduates into the aerospace and space workforces; and to bring skilled aerospace and space workers from abroad when efforts to develop labour supply in Canada do not keep up with demand.
  16. Mechanisms be developed to support the efforts of aerospace companies to keep their workforces technologically adept and adaptable through continual up-skilling.
  17. The government co-fund – with industry, provinces, and academic and research institutions – the purchase and maintenance of up-to-date infrastructure required for aerospace training and research purposes.

The Space volume notes that Canada was a pioneer in space, and that Canada's national interest demands that the country make effective use of space to unlock wealth, protect the environment and the population, and deliver services. This will be truer more than ever as the North opens and space technologies advance.

The volume proposes that the Canadian Space Program be reinvigorated through greater clarity of purpose and disciplined administration. With respect to federal policies and programs, it recommends that:

  1. The government explicitly recognize the importance of space technologies and capacity to national security, economic prosperity, and sustainable growth, and that the Minister of Industry bring 10-year, 5-year, and annual government-wide priorities for the Canadian Space Program to the Cabinet Committee on Priorities and Planning, which is chaired by the Prime Minister, for discussion and approval each spring.
  2. The government establish a Canadian Space Advisory Council, reporting to the Minister of Industry, with membership from industry, the research and academic communities, provinces and territories, and federal departments and agencies.
  3. A deputy minister-level Space Program Management Board be created to coordinate federal space activities, project-specific arrangements be put in place to ensure disciplined project management, and all agencies and departments with a role in the Canadian Space Program be required to report on how they are implementing priorities set out by Cabinet.
  4. The Canadian Space Agency's core funding be stabilized, in real dollar terms, for a 10-year period; major space projects and initiatives be funded from multiple sources, both within and beyond the federal government; and increased international cooperation be pursued as a way of sharing the costs and rewards of major space projects and initiatives.
  5. The scope of space projects, project timelines, and performance requirements be finalized as early as possible in the project definition phase.
  6. Space asset and service procurement processes be competitive in nature and proposals be assessed on the basis of their price, responsiveness to scoped requirements, and industrial and technological value for the Canadian space sector.
  7. Total funding for the Canadian Space Agency's technology development programs be raised by $10 million per year for each of the next three years, and that it be maintained at that level.
  8. Where costs are modest and there is no risk to public safety, the government create conditions conducive to the expansion of space-related commercial activity.

The Review concludes that implementation of its 25 recommendations – combined with private sector entrepreneurship and cutting-edge research – will position the aerospace and space sectors to succeed over the coming decades, yielding tangible benefits for all Canadians.