The Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) will fondly remember this years Paris Air Show as they released their Vision 2025 report and received $49 million from the federal government for a new aerospace innovation ecosystem.
The high profile Chair of the report, the Honourable Jean Charest, unveiled the report at around 3:35 p.m. CET (Paris). In his remarks he said one of the reasons the AIAC undertook this effort was in part motivated by the aerospace community not being selected for a government of Canada Supercluster.
Charest also cited an aging aerospace workforce that needs to be renewed as an important issue. To that end, he’s encouraging the federal government to accelerate the immigration process for skilled workers who want to work in Canada’s aerospace industry.
He also said this report should be a “part of a dialogue” for the upcoming federal election.
It seems that ISED Minister Bains had been listening all along, as the day before the reports release he announced, on a Sunday just ahead of the Paris Air Show where he’s at, that Canada was investing $49 million in the AIAC for a new aerospace innovation ecosystem. The funding is from the government’s Strategic Innovation Fund.
According to the government press release “this initiative will bring together the best companies, resources and researchers in the aerospace sector to establish a national aerospace innovation ecosystem that will take on the technological challenges of the industry, accelerate the commercialization of new and improved products, and create more highly skilled jobs for Canadians.”
Ministers Bains said in the release “our government is collaborating with our world-class aerospace industries, including small and medium-sized companies, to strengthen Canada’s enviable position as a world leader in aerospace and space innovation. With our best researchers and most innovative companies from across the country working together on the next breakthroughs in the field of aerospace, more Canadians will find good work developing and building the aerospace technologies of the future.”
He also participated in a fireside chat with AIAC president and CEO Jim Quick earlier today ahead of the Vision 2025 report release. You can watch a replay of that event.
.@AIAC_News hosts a fireside chat at #ParisAirshow to discuss ??’s advantages in #aerospace. #InvestinCanada https://t.co/U3NyWZ2SxI
— Invest in Canada (@invest_canada) June 17, 2019
What’s in the report
The report outlines six priorities;
- Increase our support for the world’s most skilled workforce;
- Ensure small and medium- sized aerospace businesses thrive and grow;
- Use innovation to capture new opportunities, including carbon- neutral flight and unmanned vehicles;
- Invest to maintain Transport Canada’s internationally recognized status for aircraft certification and regulation;
- Maximize Canada’s leadership at the forefront of space;
- Maximize defence procurement and government partnerships to drive new industrial growth.
With respect to space and collaboration with the government, the report states;
Complete a National Strategy for Space – Continue the collaboration among AIAC; the Canadian Space Agency; Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada; and other stakeholders to establish a fully costed, balanced space strategy that will ensure Canada’s place at the forefront of global space innovation, science and exploration.
Communicate the benefits of space – Support any initiatives that highlight the economic, social, technological, defence and industrial benefits of space for Canada.
Take advantage of international programs to build the industry – Use our leverage to open the door for Canadian companies in the next wave of space exploration.
Consider space from multiple perspectives: Innovation, economics and sovereignty – Use space to meet Canadians’ needs for science and technology, economic development and national security to drive a thriving technology ecosystem in Canada.
The report is available below and you can also watch a replay of its unveiling.
LIVE: Jean Charest, Chair of @AIAC_News’ Vision 2025 initiative, announces release of report. #ParisAirShow #PAS19 https://t.co/qd8vYqrUN5
— Invest in Canada (@invest_canada) June 17, 2019
A surprising dismissal
Curiously, the report and the new funding was announced just three weeks after Iain Christie, Executive Vice President at the AIAC, and their space lead, was let go. SpaceQ contacted the AIAC for a comment on the dismissal of Christie and was told by Kristen VanderHoek, Senior Director, Communications and Marketing in a email that “we don’t comment on HR matters.”
SpaceQ also contacted Christie, who would not comment on the matter.
Christie was still listed on the AIAC website as of last Friday, June 14, as the AIAC Staff Lead for their Space committee. There has been no announcement yet on who might replace him.
It seems odd that Christie was dismissed just before the release of the Vision 2025 report and the significant funding announced by the government. Christie is well regarded in the industry.