With the contribution of the Government of Quebec as well, the total investment amounts to $ 693 million. Trudeau said the funding will allow Bell Textron Canada, CAE and Pratt & Whitney Canada “to continue to innovate and enter new markets.”
He added that the investment “will also secure the long-term future of the industry in Canada by developing green aviation projects and cleaner technologies.”
The investment is expected to create or support 12,000 jobs and 6,200 student internships.
Trudeau underlined the importance of the industry in Quebec, affirming that the province “is one of the few places able to design an airplane from A to Z, in addition to making it fly and to certify it”.
At the same time, Trudeau announced the Regional Aerospace Recovery Initiative, aimed at supporting the economic recovery of small and medium-sized businesses in the sector across Canada.
This initiative, which is ready to receive applications now, represents an additional expenditure of $ 250 million over three years, of which $ 92.5 million is reserved for Quebec.
Federal Minister of Economic Development Mélanie Joly stressed that the aerospace industry was hit hard during the pandemic and that small and medium-sized businesses need help getting back on their feet.
“The objective of this fund is to encourage them to become more competitive… by innovating, by becoming more digital and greener, and by ensuring that they will be able to take risks in the future. “
Speaking at the press conference, Quebec Premier François Legault said this news will not only lead to new jobs, but well-paying jobs.
Legault pointed out that he sees no reason why Quebec should not be as rich as its neighbor, Ontario, and that the increase in the number of job opportunities where people can earn $ 70,000 or 80 $ 000 a year will help close the gap.
He said that among the jobs that will be created, 1,000 of them will be based in Quebec and will have an average salary in this range.
The Prime Minister said part of the money will go to help Pratt & Whitney continue development of its turboprop hybrid engine. Other projects that will see some of this money include the development of top-notch flight simulators and hybrid electric helicopters.
François-Philippe Champagne, Federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, said the announcement marks the government’s support for “the green transformation of the aerospace industry”.
“I believe this is a historic moment for the industry in Canada,” said Champagne, adding that the jobs promised are guaranteed for the next decade.
“The heat is on” to stay competitive
John Gradek, a former Air Canada executive and a lecturer and coordinator of the aviation management program at McGill University, told CBC the investment comes at a time when Quebec must show it can to be competitive.
As one of the top three aerospace centers in the world, Montreal “must take its marks and determine what the industry is going to be looking for over the next 20 years,” Gradek said.
“Unless Montreal gets on this bandwagon very quickly, it could be bypassed by other centers that invest a lot in green technologies,” he said.
Gradek noted that as the aerospace industry moves towards more environmentally friendly development, it is important that key players in Canada are able to keep pace.
“Montreal has no choice, but if it is to maintain its global position as a center of excellence in aerospace, it needs to have this technology there.
Gradek also says that the money allocated to help small and medium-sized businesses is “absolutely necessary”.
“Unless Montreal gets on this bandwagon very quickly, it could be bypassed by other centers that invest a lot in green technologies.– John Gradek
“These are the major component and parts suppliers. So when it comes to Bell Textron or Pratt & Whitney, or even Airbus, they look to local suppliers to be able to provide them with the parts and components they need. for their final product. “
“And it’s no surprise that organizations like Airbus are very concerned about the level of competitiveness, prices and quality of suppliers in Canada, Quebec City and Montreal. “
Gradek said if prices and quality couldn’t stay competitive, it wouldn’t be difficult for a company like Airbus to look elsewhere.
“The heat is on for the small and medium-sized businesses in Quebec that supply these components,” he said. “The incentive for Airbus to stay in Quebec and Mirabel is to ensure that small and medium-sized businesses remain very competitive and this investment can help it along the way. “
Gradek noted, however, that aside from internships, the government’s plan does not include any support for education or training programs that produce the engineers and technicians who will be part of this innovation.
“We’re not there yet in terms of getting the right skills in schools and colleges and universities of higher education to be able to meet this need for engineers who know how to deal with hybrids, hydrogen. and electricity. So there is still work to be done. “
Not a campaign stop, says Trudeau
As the announcement comes amid speculation about a federal election call, Trudeau insisted his appearance in Montreal was not part of an attempt to build support for Quebec.
“During an election campaign, you make promises about what you could do once elected. Right now, we are continuing the work we were elected to do in 2015 and 2019, which is to provide Canadians with good jobs and fight climate change, ”he said.
Trudeau also responded to criticism that support for the sector did not come sooner, when jobs were cut at the height of the pandemic.
He stressed that his government had chosen to invest in larger programs like CERB instead of offering support to specific industries.
“The choice we have made as a federal and provincial government is to support workers, to support businesses, so that we can get through this pandemic in the best possible way,” he said. “We made the decision and it was the right choice. “