Jim Quick, president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association of CanadaClick image to enlargeWe are at a critical point in the history of our sector and country

– decisions taken today and in the weeks ahead will have profound implications for Canada and our aerospace industry’s ability to recover from this crisis. We have been communicating this message to our political leaders in government, at all levels, on a daily basis.

AIAC, working with our members, has been engaged in continuous efforts to ensure Canada’s aerospace industry will not only weather this extremely challenging and uncertain time – but also be positioned to continue to play a major role in our country’s economic recovery efforts.

Since the outset of the current challenges, we have been aggressively lobbying both the political and public servant sides of the federal and provincial governments for a clear, consistent, pan-Canadian approach to the designation of the aerospace, defence and space sectors as essential services in all of Canada’s provinces and territories. On April 2, we were happy when such guidance was issued from the Federal Government. Aerospace is specifically mentioned for both manufacturing and MRO, and defence. Just as we worked non-stop to secure this guidance, AIAC will work non-stop with our provincial partners to lobby all provinces to adopt this pan-Canadian approach.

Similarly, our concerted efforts with Transport Canada resulted in the inclusion of aerospace maintenance, repair and overhaul workers in its essential aviation workers designation. 

Originally, the essential aviation list only included parts distributors and suppliers. Following our efforts, the list includes parts manufacturers, distributors, suppliers and repair and overhaul organizations.

Our industry is a true ecosystem in which we all depend on each other. We have been stressing the need to maintain production in order to protect our position in the global supply chain and our collective efforts at this point are paying off.

However, we also recognize the challenging economic realities our members are facing in keeping their doors open and their employees safe in the midst of this crisis. We continue to call on government for fiscal relief earmarked for our industry. In the interim, we have been providing regular updates and information on the relief measures introduced to date. On April 2, our members had direct access to the Hon. Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, to pose their questions and provide feedback about the Government’s proposed financial support measures, such as the business wage subsidy. Previous to that, we facilitated briefings from officials for the Hon. Navdeep Bains, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry and the Hon. Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement.

Bringing members’ concerns and ideas to government is critical for the near term and as Canada comes out of this crisis. When the country starts to recover from COVID-19, a strong Canadian aerospace sector will be more important than ever, given the substantial industry contributions to our nation’s economic health on an annual basis - $31 billion in revenues, over $25 billion to GDP and nearly 215,000 jobs.

Further, a substantial amount of aerospace GDP is related to the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) which keeps planes in the sky and essential cargo moving. The Canadian aerospace industry is a critical component of the global supply chain. Just as critical is the aerospace manufacturing sector which ensures the continuity of the global supply chains, both civil and military. No one part can function without the other. 

In 2018, 93 per cent of aerospace manufacturing firms were exporters, 44 per cent higher than the manufacturing average. Aerospace manufacturing firms were 38 per cent more trade diverse than the manufacturing average and aerospace manufacturing firms were 29 per cent more export intensive than the manufacturing average.

In anticipation of longer-term financial recovery measures that will be required moving forward, AIAC has struck a COVID-19 sub-committee to interface with and advise government in the formulation of policies and fiscal measures to facilitate the recovery and growth of Canada’s economy, from our industry perspective. We have requested a meeting with Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Navdeep Bains and the Hon. Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance to begin the post-crisis financial recovery dialogue between our COVID-19 sub-committee and government. 

Our primary goal is ensuring that Canada’s aerospace industry can continue to serve Canadians, and indeed the world, and that we are positioned to play a vital part in the rebuilding of Canada’s economy. We must remain competitive on the world stage. As we move past this crisis, a robust Canadian aerospace industry will be essential to ensuring jobs and economic prosperity for all Canadians. SMT

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