State of the Canada's Aerospace Industry 2017 Report
State of the Canada's Aerospace Industry 2017 Report. Credit: AIAC/ISED.

Lost in Aerospace – The Space Sector is Lost in the Latest State of Canada’s Aerospace Industry Report

I read the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada press release and then I read the report (which is a converted powerpoint presentation). In reading both I couldn’t help but think this report is all about the ‘aero’ portion of the aerospace industry and that the space sector was lost in aerospace.

Where’s the space from the aerospace sector?

Slide 4 states “The Canadian aerospace industry ecosystem is interlinked with the space and the defence industries” and that “beyond space systems manufacturing, the space industry includes satellite operations, value-added applications and space based broadcasting.”

What it doesn’t do is inform the reader, or the reporter (who may not know better) that the space sector accounts for approximately 20%* of the $27.2B in revenues cited in the report.

Other than Slide 4, the rest of the report is focused on manufacturing and maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) with the space sector revenues lumped in with the overall manufacturing data.

Now if you break down the space sector revenue you’ll find only 15% is manufacturing. And yet in this Aerospace Industry Report 100% of the space sector revenue is lumped into the manufacturing box of the report. The other 85% of the space sector certainly doesn’t fit into the two boxes of this report, yet they are included in the overall $27.2B in revenue figure.

Which brings into question, how useful is this report if the data is skewed towards showcasing the ‘aero’ portion of the aerospace industry? After all, it doesn’t paint a true reflection of the Canada’s aerospace industry. Take out the space sector data and the picture changes quite a bit. Including it without breaking it down further to paint a true picture, is disingenuous.

However, the way the data is presented shouldn’t surprise anyone. The AIAC membership is overwhelmingly made up of ‘aero’ companies and it’s in the interest of the department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) to showcase a strong ‘aero’ sector.

This report is not an aerospace report, it’s an aero report that includes space sector data conveniently used to make the overall picture look better.

Here are the key findings in the ‘aero’ report:

  • Canada’s aerospace industry contributed nearly $28B to GDP and 208,000 jobs to the Canadian economy in 2016.
  • Canadian aerospace manufacturing was the number one R&D investor across manufacturing industries, was six times more R&D intensive than the manufacturing sector average, and generated nearly 30% of all Canadian manufacturing R&D investments in 2016.
  • Canada ranks in the top three globally for the production of civil aircraft, helicopters, engines and flight simulators.
  • Canadian aerospace manufacturing supply chain exports are an important part of the industry’s activity, growing 20% over the last 15 years and representing more than 60% of all aerospace product exports.
  • Canadian aerospace manufacturers develop new technologies at twice the rate of the Canadian manufacturing average, and they recruit significantly more employees for innovation-related roles.
  • Canadian aerospace outpaces the national manufacturing average in the use of all four major types of innovation practices: product, process, organizational and marketing innovation.
  • Canadian aerospace companies collaborate significantly more with industry, academia and government than the Canadian manufacturing industry average.

Download the report (PDF).


* Based on $5.38B in revenue per the Canadian Space Agency State of the Canadian Space Sector 2014 report.


About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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